Booze selection is typically given careful thought when planning most weddings and other celebrations.
In many ways, though, catering for the drinkers at your party can be more straightforward than providing for those avoiding alcohol. You’re never short of ideas when it comes to mixing spirits into fascinating and exotic combinations, after all…but what about when it comes to making the non-drinkers feel equally pampered?
It’s always important to provide an interesting and diverse list of drinks options for the abstainers, designated drivers, supervisors, mums-to-be, dieters, and anybody else who’ll be opting to keep a clear head on the day/night.
One handy way to do this is with a bright and varied ‘mocktails’ menu – and, to that end, we’ve picked out three superb recipes that have always proved easy winners in our experience. Ingredient lists, techniques and serving ideas for each are outlined below.
A play on the classic mojito, but without the rum – this is a superbly flexible drink, ideal for summer, that always looks alluring and is easy to doll up with various combinations of fruits, juices and leaves. It should always include mint and lime for that characteristic flavour profile, though. Note that the muddling stage can be done in advance, meaning your glasses are prepped and ready to go when it’s time to add the fresh fizz.
8-10 mint leaves per glass
Fresh lime juice – about 30ml per glass
Rum extract – one teaspoon per glass (use a dash or two of vanilla extract if you’re struggling to find the rum version, although it’s relatively easy to get online)
Brown sugar – around a tablespoon per glass
Soda water to top up – you can use clear lemonade or even limeade if you prefer, in which case omit most of the brown sugar (just leave enough in there to help with the muddling)
Ice – cubed or crushed, depending on whether or not you want to serve it with straws
A dash of fresh orange juice – non-traditional and entirely optional, but goes very well with cranberries (see below)
Place the mint leaves, lime juice and sugar into a highball or tumbler – you can sugar the rim of the glasses beforehand if you like – and muddle together to bruise the mint, releasing flavours and aromas as the sugar begins to break up and dissolve. Fill the glass with ice cubes, then pour over the rum extract and finally top up with soda water. Garnish with an extra mint leaf of two. For twists on this recipe, try adding a handful of raspberries or cranberries to the muddling mixture, partially crushing them up as you bruise the mint, lime and sugar together.
MIXED FRUIT SANGRIA
Classic Spanish sangria is based around red wine mixed with chopped fruit, a splash of orange juice and a few spices. By switching out the wine for either a non-alcoholic version or a grape-based fruit juice, it’s really easy to adapt into a wonderfully tasty (and healthy) party punch bowl, which is the serving suggestion we’ve based the measures below on. A brilliant choice for daytime or outdoor events, it can easily be made a few hours in advance (or even kept overnight, depending on what fruits you add).
Red or white grape juice – the main ingredient, so enough to fill whatever size of bowl you’ll be serving (white grape juice is generally easier to find than red, although this can be substituted for non-alcoholic wine if you’re looking to make it taste super-authentic)
Blueberries – one punnet per bowl
A few generous handfuls of small or chopped fruits – our favourites are more blueberries, raspberries, oranges, peaches, and sliced bananas for a slightly Caribbean twist
Fresh orange juice – around 2-3 full glasses per bowl
Fresh lime juice – around 2-3 limes, fully squeezed
A cinnamon stick – optional, gives a sweetly spiced note that can be great for an evening or winter version
Ice cubes – around 2 standard-sized trays per bowl
Blend two generous handfuls of blueberries with your base liquid, whether it’s grape juice or alcohol-free wine. Pour this into a serving bowl, along with the orange and lime juices. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine well. Add your ice, chopped and sliced fruits, and cinnamon stick if using, then cover and let the sangria sit in the fridge for a couple of hours until nicely chilled. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
FRENCH 75 MOCKTAIL
A fantastic idea we found at the online recipe hub Always Order Dessert, this alcohol-free twist on the sharp, sophisticated character of the classic champagne, lemon and gin-based French 75 makes for a very ‘grown-up’-feeling tipple. It’s perfect for toasting and other special occasions where you want to enjoy a slightly more complex flavour profile without resorting to adding booze into the mix.
You’ll need a cocktail shaker to make it properly – and be sure to serve it in fluted or coupe glasses for that optimal air of refinement!
Fresh lemon juice – roughly half a squeezed lemon for each drink you’re going to serve
Good quality tonic water – the main liquid ingredient, so around half a glass per drink
Lemon or orange bitters – two dashes for each drink being made
Sugar – one teaspoon per drink; very fine white caster sugar works best here, as you don’t want the drink to have a granular texture (alternatively you can use a simple sugar syrup, made and cooled in advance)
Ice – cubed, enough to fill the cocktail shaker about 2/3 of the way up
Tip your ice cubes into the cocktail shaker and allow to sit for a few seconds. Add your freshly squeezed lemon juice and fine white sugar (or sugar syrup), along with a couple of dashes of bitters for each drink you’re pouring – a full standard cocktail shaker will typically make two drinks. Shake well until the mixture is nicely chilled, then strain into two flutes or coupe glasses; the mixture should come about a third of the way up a standard flute. Top up in the glass with good quality fresh tonic water, and garnish with a slice of lemon (you can add a stirrer if using flutes).
Article provided by Plato Catering Hire