At Gatherhaus, we organize our foodie blogs differently than the rest…recipes are listed FIRST for convenience! But don’t forget to keep scrolling on down for tips, tricks and the story that gives the background to the article. We have included a long list of how to’s and ideas to elevate your mocktail game. A HUGE thanks to Joseph Timms for creating the homemade syrups and tinctures and lending his mixology genius to our blog!
As with all our recipes, the ratios can all be adjusted to your liking. Again, this is for you to enjoy, so don’t be afraid to explore more or less or different than what we used.
Chai Root Beer – beautifully complex and perfect for sipping
3oz of your favorite Root Beer
1oz Chai Tea concentrate
Splash of Canada Dry to cut it
Couple splashes of Chocolate and Orange Bitters
Drizzle of Cherry Juice
Sqeeze of lime (toss the wedge in)
Pour over ice
Want to get fancy?
Wet the rim and dip in a mix of Salt, Sugar, Red Pepper Flakes and lime zest. This combo enhances the drink to a whole other level.
Don’t have the time or ingredients?
Squeeze a wedge of lime in a Root Beer and enjoy!
Batch Holiday Fizz – easy yet fancy
1 bottle Blackberry Izzy (or any flavor you love)
2 bottles of Ginger Beer
1 small can seltzer water
1 squeeze of Lime
Cranberries/Raspberries/Pomegrantes for garnish
Holiday Hot Cocoa – take decadence to a whole new level
1 mug of your favorite hot cocoa
2 dashes of Chocolate bitters
Cool whip on top
Sprinkle with Cinnamon
Feel extra festive?
Stir with a cinnamon stick, or Candy Cane. Add a splash of peppermint extract
Have caramel on hand? Drizzle that in or on top.
Like it spicy? Dash in some pepper flakes and mix
Lavendar Spritzer – unexpected and delightful
4 oz of Lavendar Izzy
In a shaker mix: 2 tsp honey, ice, lime juice, and lemon juice
2 shakes of Orange bitters
Pour over ice
Grapefruit Mocktail – refreshing and bright
Grapefruit Peel and squeeze a wedge in glass
1 bottle Grapfruit Izzy
Half a can of Bubbly water
1 oz Tonic Syrup or Simple Syrup
A few splashes of Cranberry and Orange Bitters
Use the Sugar/Salt rim that was used for the Rootbeer Mocktail
Holiday Ginger – hits the spot
1 Ginger Beer
2oz of Cranberry Juice
Squeeze a wedge of lime
In June I began my journey to a dry summer. My relationship with alcohol had been messy for the last few years. More and more I was turning to a bottle of wine or a cocktail at the end of a day. Then it was every day. Then the day began earlier and earlier. At some point, the only way to untangle my mind was with a drink. I didn’t want it anymore, I began to need it.
There is something in our culture that allows for this addiction to be normalized. It’s wrapped up in humor and expectation, memes and invitations. It is confirmed with overflowing recycling bins and empty liquor store shelves.
I filled a journal with my healing. My words find their way to the pages and my revelations found their way into my heart. My mind was clear and my spirit was free.
The thing about drinking is how dominant it is in our culture. It’s everywhere. Often it’s not the need for the drink, but it’s the experience it brings with it right? It’s a glass of wine while cooking, beer by the bonfire, friends come over and it’s a reason to celebrate. Now with eight months of stress and solitude due to COVID, it often feels the only way to make a day memorable or special or doable is to have a drink.
Let’s take a moment to hold space for the vast amount of people who have stepped away from drinking because their life depended on it. There are folks all around us in varying stages of sobriety. That person may even be you. How brave they were to make hard choices that value their future. If you are hosting a small dinner, socially distanced event, family sorree, what a gift to those who are often an afterthought in the drink department to have a hand crafted option? Or at least all the ingredients to make their own. It is far past time that we put a focus and priority on offering non alcoholic choices.
So even after untangling the need and social pressure/expectation around drinking, I still want a special something in the evening or while I am cooking or to mark a special moment. I want the experience, not the substance.
There is almost a sacred ritual in the preparation of a cocktail. It is an art and a gift. A craft that can often feel like composing music. It can be as simple as a twist of citrus in a bubbly water, or as involved as making your own simple syrups and blending multiple flavors. In the end, it should be about the joy of the experience for you and your guests. The burst of flavors you discover by taking risks and trying new things.
There are lots of reasons to have good mocktail recipes:
- It’s cheaper
- Better for you
- There are people in your life who need this option.
- It’s fun
With the Holidays coming, I knew that I would be leaning towards my traditions of special cocktails and finding lots of easy reasons to drink again. I knew I needed some “Umphfta” to elevate my basic “grab a ginger beer” when I wanted an experience.
I called up my friend JT, Joseph Timms of Timms Woodworking who is an absolute doll and dynamite mixologist. (Bonus, he lives just down the street.) We spent the afternoon together, me just soaking in his wisdom as he helped me discover my joy of tasting different flavor profiles.
Now he doesn’t mix drinks for a living (that’s the just bonus of being his friend and neighbor) BUT he does smoke meat and build custom furniture, and his attention to detail transcends all aspects of his passions.
So… if you are looking for some non alcoholic beverages not just this season, but maybe as a permanent staple in your life, I hope you will find the following tips and suggestions helpful. And we LOVE hearing from you, so please comment with your favorite pairings so we can all enjoy trying new combos! I mean, it’s all about adventuring and exploring and inventing what we like for our health, wellbeing and for those around us.
We really hope that as you explore this journey you find options that work for you and your guests.
TIPS and SUGGESTIONS
No matter what we say here, this truly is based on what you like, and what you have around the house. We do suggest having some citrus around because even just a squeeze of lime or lemon or orange in a bubbly water or Izzy or Ginger Beer deepens the flavor and adds a little pizzaz. It elevates the drink and your experience.
If you are looking for how or what to pair together, I found this great chart to get your imagination started at the Bakers Almanac super helpful.
I had a friend tell me once that the best way to discover your next favorite pie is to think about what kind of cocktail you like. I think the reverse can also be true. It’s helpful to think of terms of Herbs, Spices, Extracts and Zests, even floral can be included to enhance your drink. When thinking of pies and cocktails, pair citrus zest with fruit pies, warm spices with custard pies, and vanilla with just about anything.
Stock your bar with the tools that will allow for making Mocktails easy. The following are super helpful and you can find them pretty cheap at Target or online, but also, add them to your Christmas, Birthday, or gift list!
- Large ice cube tray for cocktails is great even when making Mocktails. It takes up room and melts slower reducing watering down your drink.
- A good zester makes all the difference!
- Shaker to help mix those flavors.
- Bitters: Angostura, Chocolate, Orange, Plum, Grapefruit – We really recommend the first couple, and then add on as you discover your favorites. Bitters are a key tool to elevating any drink and making even a simple Ginger beer and sparkling water transform in a special occasion beverage.
- Glassware: It may sound silly, but having a mug or glass that you absolutely adore already transforms any beverage you are going to enjoy. Again, find a glass or a mug that you love and if you can’t afford, put it on that gift list or explore those thrift stores. (Tip: I have a note section on my phone that I keep my wish list on. I pull it out when I hit up the thrift store or family want to know what to get me if a gift is coming. Then I never lose those little inspired ideas.)
- Simple Syrup: Make your own and keep stored in the fridge. (If you are able, put a splash of vodka in it to make it shelf stable. Not enough to affect you.)
- Try to have your favorite and explore new flavors of Bubbly water, Izzy’s, Juice, Kombucha always on hand. This will allow for spontaneous creativity in mixing and finding what you love.
FORMULA’S AND FLAVORS
Italian Soda = Sparkling water + Flavored Syrup + bit of cream
Fizzy Fruit = Juice + Sparkling water
Bitters + Seltzer water
Mixer + Flavor + Herb + garnish
You can start with your traditional Holiday flavors:
Expand those flavors with a unique pairing that could really surprise you:
Striving for health and delicious non alcoholic alternatives is a way to care for yourself and those around you who don’t drink for a variety of reasons. Providing fancy drinks without alcohol in them helps everyone feel included and makes it easier to resist temptation. It also takes away the stigma that being tipsy is necessary for a good time.
We wish you peace and joy this holiday season.
WANT MORE? Keep Reading…
Here at Gatherhaus we believe and foster community inspiration. So we went to Facebook to ask our friends what some of their favorite drinks and pairings are. Here are their tips and suggestions:
Iced coffee serves as a great mixer
Earl Grey, Dark chocolate, orange
CranApple juice with Ginger Ale
Martinelli’s sparkling blush
Henry Winehard soda’s – orange cream
Stewart key lime soda
Wassail – Stick gloves in orange, in a slow cooker put – orange juice, apple cider, holiday spices, the orange and let it cook.
Drive friendly champagne – Half apple cider half ginger ale
Faux-ito (Mojito) – lime and mint are traditional but try blackberry for an unexpected flavor
Rosemary + Cream syrup
Blueberries + Mint
Grapefruit + cardamom (esp with a grapefruit sparkling water base)
Lemon + Cucumber + Mint
Blueberry + Lime
Pineapple + Apple + Mint
Orange + Cranberry + Cinnamon
Peach + Lavender
Strawberry + Basil
Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary
Vanilla + Orange + Cinnamon
Cardamom + Vanilla
Orange + Olive
Raspberry + Peanut
Apricot + Basil
Grapefruit + rosemary
Tumeric + Ginger
Salted Chocolate + Hazelnut
Pear + Ginger + Jam
Blackberries + Ginger + Peach
Blackberries + Honey + Vanilla + Yogurt
Blackberries + Mint + Lime juice (add some lime zest)
Cherries + Almond + Cream (cashew or coconut) + Vanilla
Cherries + Chocolate + Hazelnuts or Walnuts
Cherries + Coffee + Cream (cashew or coconut)
Cherries + Mint + Vanilla
Grapefruit + Ginger + Pomegranate
Grapefruit + Caramel + Meringue + Vanilla (optional add ins: banana, coconut, macadamia nuts, poppy seeds)
Plums + Cinnamon + Cloves + Vanilla + Honey
Plums + Ginger (optional add ins: yogurt, raspberries, orange, citrus zest)