If, like me, you are giving dry January a go you may have already tasted one or two of the non-alcoholic beers available. My tasting notes for the ones that I have tried have included “fizzy cardboard” and “bubblegum”, and they were the good ones!
If that doesn’t sound very appealing, fear not, I have some great non-alcoholic cocktail recipes which are sure to make dry January a bit more exciting.
The days are finally getting longer, summer will be here…eventually. Until then, this first, simple drink will give you the little bit of summer sun we all crave. Personally, I love this drink first thing in the morning for a refreshing vitamin C boost.
As Thyme Goes By
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
25ml sugar syrup *
*To make the sugar syrup, gently heat 1 cup of water with 2 cups of sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved and let cool.
In a cocktail shaker, add 1 sprig of thyme, the lemon juice and sugar syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake hard. This will bruise and break up the thyme, releasing its aromatic oils into the liquid.
Pour the mixture through a tea strainer into an ice filled glass and top with sparkling water.
Add the 2nd sprig of thyme as a garnish, then sit back, take a sip, and dream of sunnier days.
Agua de Jamaica
For my second recipe, I introduce you to “Agua de Jamaica”, literally “Water of Jamaica”, an exotic and refreshing beverage, popular across Central America and the Caribbean. In Jamaica it is a tradition to drink this at Christmas with a cheeky splash of rum.
It is made using dried Hibiscus flowers. “Where on earth do I buy dried Hibiscus flowers?” I hear you say. A quick search on Amazon will bring up many suppliers who sell it in a variety of weights and deliver to your door. It’s worth the effort, this flower has a gorgeous tart-cranberry flavour and is also believed to lower blood-pressure!
½ cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 litre water
¼ cup sugar
Bring the water to the boil, once boiled, remove from the heat. Add the flowers and sugar and stir, making sure all the flowers have been submerged in the water and the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes and then pour through a tea strainer into a container. Let it cool in the fridge for 15-20minutes and then pour into an ice filled glass. Simple!
Jasmine & Ginger Iced Tea
I have used jasmine and ginger together in cocktails of the alcoholic variety before and was impressed how well these two flavours work together. What is even more impressive is the list of supposed benefits of Jasmine tea; it fights bacteria, aids weight loss, simply inhaling the stuff can reduce heart rate, It lowers the risk of cancer, has anti-ageing properties, it regulates circulation and reduces cholesterol! Incredible stuff!
100ml Brewed Jasmine green tea * (Twinings do a nice one)
100ml ginger beer (I like Old Jamaica)
10ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
*For the tea, steep 2 teabags or 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea in 2 cups of hot, but not boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove the tea and let it cool.
Add all ingredients to an ice filled glass, stir and garnish with a lime wedge.
Who said mocktails had to be boring?