This post comes to us courtesy of writer and mixologist Warren Bobrow.
Mocktails are similar to cocktails, but without the intoxicating liquors — and they can be incredibly refreshing on a spring day. The beverages are typically delicious combinations of herbs, sugar syrups and seltzer water or juices.
In addition to writing for The Blender, I also work on the culinary team at the Williams-Sonoma store in Short Hills, NJ. The enthusiastic, Short Hills store manager Angelo Manfredi encourages the use of his destination cook-top area to demonstrate many of the store’s prepared food selections. Every day something delicious is being cooked, filling the store with delicious aromas and, in the process, making this space the most popular area of this most inviting shop.
For a recent demonstration, I added cool, freshly filtered water into the glass bottles that come with our SodaStream Sparkling Water Maker, and charged it to create festive bubbles — perfect for mocktails. Or even cocktails!
The mint at home has been just amazing, even early in the growing season. It’s not even summer yet, and the mint is almost a foot high, bursting with the distinctively fresh aroma and memorable flavor. I gathered a nice bunch from the garden and added some of the fresh sprigs to a glass pitcher filled with perfectly fizzy seltzer water. I then added slices of lemon, squeezing in another couple of lemons for their aromatic juice. Finally, I added some ice to the pitcher and was ready to go.
I created several easy-to-make mocktails for our guests, a very thirsty and most appreciative clientele. Try them yourself!
The Old Short Hills
This mocktail is also delicious with a couple of shots of botanical gin.
3 lemon slices
A few mint leaves, plus extra sprig for garnish
4 oz. seltzer water
Grill a few lemon rounds until lightly browned. Muddle them with fresh mint leaves in a cocktail shaker until the lemons release their juice (about ¼ cup juice). Add ice and Royal Rose syrup. Add the seltzer water and stir, then strain into a tall glass with a couple more cubes of fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig. Serves 1 to 2.
The Millburn Mocktail
The Millburn Mocktail is built on the base of the Short Hills Cocktail. In this case I used the raspberry syrup from Royal Rose, bursting with the flavor of freshly picked raspberries. The fresh mint counteracts the sweet flavor with a spicy finish. You’d never know that there wasn’t any liquor in there! If you do want a kick, I suggest adding a couple of shots of chilled vodka — although if you prefer white rum or gin, they both work marvelously.
4 oz. seltzer water
2 tsp. Royal Rose Raspberry Syrup
Fresh mint leaves, lightly crushed with your fingers, plus an extra sprig for garnish
2 lemon slices
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Stir well, strain into a glass and serve with a sprig of mint as garnish. Serves 1 to 2.
The Springfield Slushy
If desired, add two shots of dark rum.
10 fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup each freshly squeezed lime, orange and lemon juice
3 Tbs. sweetened coconut milk
Coconut water ice (directions below)
8 oz. seltzer water
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker about 1/3 full with ice. Add mint, citrus juices, syrup, coconut milk and shake well, until a frost forms on the outside of the shaker. Crush the coconut water ice cubes to a pebble consistency and distribute among 4 tall glasses. Strain the liquid from the cocktail shaker into the glasses and add seltzer water to finish (a couple of ounces per glass). Garnish with Maraschino cherry. Serves 4.
*For the coconut water ice: Mix coconut water and regular water in a 50/50 proportion and freeze several hours in an ice tray until set. You can crush this ice for your mocktail or serve rum-based cocktails over the ice for a surprisingly flavorful finish.
About the author: Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. Warren was an Iron Mixology Judge at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2012. He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011. Warren has published over three hundred articles in fewer than three years since his reinvention from executive assistant in private banking to author. Warren writes with a unique free-form style. He is a writer/mixologist on everything from cocktail flavoring and Biodynamic/organic wines to restaurant reviews. He writes for Edible Jersey, Voda Magazine, Foodista, Tasting Panel, Beverage News and Total Food Service Magazine. Warren is the “On Whiskey” columnist for OKRA Magazine in New Orleans part of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ on a Biodynamic farm.