Sometimes you want a festive cocktail but don’t want the alcohol. These fun “mocktails” have no booze but lots of flavor. They will liven up any party or evening with friends and family.
A good Mojito has mint and lime muddled together. A muddler is a wooden or metal stick with a round end used to press against the fruit and herbs to release their juice and oils. In a pinch, you can use the handle of an unvarnished rolling pin or press the ingredients against a sturdy glass or shaker with a spoon.
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
¾ cup sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
12 mint leaves, plus 2 small sprigs for garnish
1 cup club soda
Add the pomegranate juice and three-quarter cup of the sugar to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir to completely dissolve the sugar. Cut the half lime into two pieces, and add it to a pitcher with the mint leaves and pomegranate juice. Muddle the lime and mint. Place the remaining one tablespoon of sugar on a plate. Remove two tablespoons of the pomegranate mixture to a bowl. Dip the rims of two 12-ounce glasses into the liquid in the bowl, and then dip them into the tablespoon of sugar to coat the rim. Half-fill the glasses with ice, and divide the pomegranate mixture between them. Divide the club soda between the two glasses. Place a sprig of mint on the side of each glass as a garnish. Two servings.
Bitters and Tonic
Fred Tasker, wine columnist for the Tribune News Service, says he serves this drink to guests who don’t want to drink alcohol but who want something that looks like a “real” drink.
1 cup cold tonic water
5 dashes nonalcoholic bitters*
¼ fresh lime
Half-fill a lowball (about six-to-eight-ounce) glass with ice cubes. Add the tonic water and bitters, and squeeze in the lime juice. Stir. Drop a lime peel into the glass. One serving.
This is a colorful drink to add to a fall or winter menu.
½ cup cranberry juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup lemonade
Slice of lime, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full of ice. Add the cranberry juice, lime juice, sugar and lemonade. Shake well, about 20 to 30 seconds. (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, fill a 12-ounce glass with ice and stir well.) Strain into a cocktail glass. Place a slice of lime on the rim of the glass as a garnish. One serving.
Sweet pear flavor marries well with mint for this special drink.
12 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
1 cup pear nectar
¼ cup club soda
Add the mint leaves to a sturdy glass or bowl. Add the pear nectar, and stir well. Mash the mint with a muddler or against the sides of the glass with a spoon to release their oil. Half-fill an eight-ounce glass with ice. Strain the pear mixture into the glass. Pour in the club soda. Garnish the rim of the glass with a sprig of mint. One serving.
*Regular bitters can have more than 40% alcohol, so opt for nonalcoholic.