Mocktails: Not Just for Mommies-to-Be

You may recall my “50 Shades of Green” post in which I sang the praises of The Blender Girl and her incredible green smoothie recipes. Well, I’m not done yet. This weekend I tried two of the mocktail recipes on her site, and now I will commence talking her up again.

I know that some of you are thinking, “Mocktail? What the heck is the point of a mocktail? I didn’t make it to age 21 just to drink virgin margaritas. And I hate using portmanteaux. ‘Mocktail’ is just like ‘ginormous’: It sounds clever at first and by the time you realize it’s actually irritating, you’re using it so much you can’t stop saying it.”

Semantics aside, there are several reasons why you might choose a mocktail over the “real thing.” Maybe you want a fancy, fun drink for a baby shower. Maybe you’re hosting a party and want to offer designated drivers something a little niftier than club soda or ginger ale. Maybe you’re out of tequila and have already had too much to go out for more. Maybe you just have a yen for drinking colorful beverages from fancy glasses without getting bleary-eyed and nauseated.

If the mocktail is also raw, vegan, and low-sugar, then it’s practically health food, and there you have three more reasons for going “virgin.”

The two ginormous mocktails I tried this weekend:

The Nojito

I’ll admit, I’ve never had a mojito, so I’m not really sure how valuable my endorsement is. The Blender Girl’s recipe has you make a puree of lime, ginger, agave, and mint, then pour that over muddled lime wedges and more mint, add ice, and top up with sparkling water. I kind of didn’t like the crushed mint leaves always getting in my mouth while I was trying to drink it, but other than that, this was a really pleasant beverage. I drank it while crocheting on a Saturday afternoon, and even though I drank the whole batch, I didn’t need to worry about ripping out drunken stitches on Sunday.

The Raw Vegan “Better-than-Tequila” Margarita Mocktail

I got this recipe from Health Blender Recipes, and she got it from Uncooking 101, which is a really neat site with all kinds of recipes and information about a raw diet. I’m not interested in going all raw, but I do enjoy incorporating raw recipes into my meal rotation; I have a feeling I’ll be “cooking” from that blog a bit, too.

This mocktail was at a bit of a disadvantage with me. Not only do I know what a margarita tastes like, I like my margaritas on the rocks, and this one is necessarily blended. The solution: I just chose not to think of this as a margarita. As a tangy, fancy, fruit smoothie with a little cayenne kick, this is tops. And really, I like any excuse to put salt on the rim of a glass. (Note: I couldn’t find nectarines, so I used peaches instead. Turned out fine. My husband liked it, too, and didn’t even add any vodka to his. Yes, I know margaritas aren’t made with vodka, but we don’t have any tequila, just one kind of vodka and four kinds of gin. Don’t even ask why we have four kinds of gin because I just don’t know.)

Now if only The Blender Girl could come up with a virgin martini. The closest I’ve gotten is a glass of iced water poured over a couple of olives, and that’s not really close at all, even if I put it in a martini glass.

Nonalcoholic Yumminess

I recently discovered my new favorite refreshing beverage, and I thought I’d share it with you all.

I accidentally made a still life!

Here’s my disclaimer up front: I do not like sweet drinks. Sodas? Yuck. Cocktails that call for simple syrup? Eww. So this drink really hit the spot. If you are someone who loves sugary drinks, bless your soul, but this isn’t the drink for you. It’s not bitter or sour or anything, but it’s definitely not sweet.

If you’re not familiar with Angostura bitters, while it technically contains alcohol, it’s available in grocery stores (even in Utah). Like vanilla extract, you use it in quantities so small that the effect is essentially non-alcoholic.

An interesting tidbit: My maternal grandmother was once featured in her local small-town Ohio newspaper for her award-winning recipe for marinated short ribs, the marinade for which features Angostura bitters. Those marinated short ribs remain in my memory as a major comfort food from my youth, along with twice-baked potatoes and hamburger stroganoff (which my family also called “hamburg stroganoff.”)

Okay, you’re probably thirsty after reading all of that, so here’s the recipe for my yummy, nonalcoholic beverage:

Ingredients:

Ice cubes

2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

A squeeze of lime juice (2/8 fresh lime, or a splash of bottled lime juice, unsweetened)

Carbonated water/seltzer to top up

Fill a tall-ish glass with ice (5-6 cubes). Add 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters. Squeeze 2- 1/8 sections of lime into the glass, rub the rim with a lime wedge, and drop the sections into the glass. Top up with carbonated water/seltzer. Enjoy and repeat as many times as you’d like!