There’s nothing like hanging out on the deck with friends and family with a tasty, fancy drink. For various reasons you or someone you know may be avoiding alcoholic beverages. The reason doesn’t really matter, but accommodating all your guests does. Plus sometimes you just need a special treat at a time that you simply don’t want to imbibe.
It’s easy to put a non-alcoholic twist to existing cocktails. Make a mimosa by adding lime sparkling water to fresh squeezed orange juice. A Virgin Mary is just a Bloody Mary with no vodka, but don’t skimp on the garnishes. The pickled beans or okra with a fresh celery stalk creates the drama of this drink. Many drinks can just be made without the alcohol, but if it’s a big part of the recipe you may want to add sparkling water, lemon or lime juice, or some fresh herbs to cut the mix and add a special touch.
Making a Cosmo can be as simple as cranberry juice with lime juice and a splash of club soda or you can try The Intoxicologist‘s recipe that includes orange and lime juice as well as grenadine. Make a hurricane by blending orange, cranberry, grapefruit and apple juice. And a Bellini is just peach nectar (or puree) mixed with sparkling cider and a few drops of lemon juice. I love a tasty Mai Tai and make a non-alcoholic version with pineapple juice, lime juice and a splash of almond syrup – yum!
It’s always a great time to use fresh herbs, but right now is the easiest and least expensive time to find (or grow) them. Plant a pot of mint and you’ll have some for mojitos all summer long. Just add lime juice, simple syrup and sparkling water to a glass of ice and muddled mint leaves. It’s the perfect drink for working in the yard. I love using basil in sweet drinks to give an unexpected twist. Try muddling basil in a pitcher of lemonade and mixing in a strawberry puree. Make your own simple syrup by melting sugar in water in a one to one ratio. You can also add rosemary, thyme, or lemon balm to give it an herbal taste that will go great in many different drinks. A lemon balm raspberry mocktini is made with lemon balm simple syrup, raspberry puree and sparkling water. It’s always a big hit at my parties, even when it’s served next to the original one with alcohol.
Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Never forget about smoothies. Everyone loves a frosty drink on a hot day and a Pina Colada is no exception. You can do it the old fashioned way with cream of coconut and pineapple juice, but try blending fresh pineapple and the So Delicious brand coconut milk for a lower calorie treat. Any combination of fresh and frozen fruit with some juice or milk makes a healthy concoction. In fact you can sneak in some kale or Swiss chard if you really want to add a nutritional punch.
A Few Exotic Recipes From Around the Web
Rhubarb Cocktail with Cinnamon, Strawberries and Mint
Homemade Ginger Ale
Pomegranate-Ginger-Chile Nojito Cocktail