Dry January began in 2013 with 400 participating in the event which saw no alcohol pass participants’ lips for the entire 31 days of the month. Today, millions of people pledge not to take a drink during the first month of the New Year. That doesn’t mean cocktails are off the menu though. You can still enjoy a non-alcoholic mocktail that tastes just as good as an alcoholic one. Fruity and refreshing, these mocktails are perfect to enjoy throughout the year.
WELCOME NEW YEAR WITH A MOJITO MOCKTAIL
With the New Year all shiny and fresh, this Mojito Mocktail is ideal for gatherings, small and large. In a mortar, ‘muddle’ together 1 tablespoon of sugar with a small bunch of mint (this means, you lightly mash it together). In two long glasses, heap a generous of ice and divide the juice of three limes between them. Share the minty sugar mix between the glasses and top up with soda water. Mix lightly and enjoy!
REMINISCE WITH THE SUMMER VIBES OF A NEW YORK SOUR MOCKTAIL
This mocktail brings a taste of summer, much-needed during the grey, chilly days and evenings of January. Who knew that tea could taste so good…?
Pour 150ml of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of Assam tea leaves (don’t use everyday ‘black’ teas as it’ll be too bitter and strong). Strain it straight away so that you have a strong but not stewed tea. Mix in a few drops of vanilla extra and stir, leaving to cool.
In a cocktail shake, pour in 25ml of lemon juice along with 3 teaspoons of good quality maple syrup and stir in one tablespoon of egg white (separate an egg and loosen by mixing with a fork). Put the lid on and shake until frothy. At this point, add a generous handful of ice and shake again.
Double strain the mixture, and then add to an ice-filled glass leaving room for a generous dash of pomegranate juice. Let it settle for a moment or two – the egg foam will drop and settle below the juice. Enjoy the sour yet hint of sugariness in this classic cocktail.
ENJOY THE CLASSIC ELEGANCE OF A NEGRONI MOCKTAIL
History has it that the classic Negroni cocktail was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919. Count Camillo Negroni is said to have asked the bartender to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano, by replacing the soda water with gin. Thus, the Negroni was born.
Start by chopping half a grapefruit and put them into a saucepan with one slice of orange, 125g of caster sugar and 125ml of water. Add three perfumed, lightly crushed cardamom pods to the mix along with a small pinch of coriander seeds.
Heat this mixture until simmering, allow it to gently bubble for around five minutes. As the fruit starts to soften, use a wooden spoon to break down the pulp of the fruit.
After five minutes, take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool. At this point, you can add a few dashes of red food colouring.
Once the mixture has cooled, strain it, and get rid of the spices and fruit pieces. Fill a tumbler glass with ice and pour over 25ml of the luscious syrup, along with an equal quantity of white grape juice and the same among of chilled water. Stir the mocktail gently just enough so that the three mixtures are introduced to each other. Garnish with a slice of orange and sit back and relax to enjoy the sugary, syrupy cocktail.
Gin is distilled from juniper berries, a berry that packs a serious flavoursome punch considering its size. If you hanker after the spice and sweetness of a G&T, this mocktail is ideal. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients because the end result of worth it.
Bruise five cardamom pods and thinly slice half a cucumber. Put them in a large glass jug and add a chamomile teabag – it is worth investing in a better quality chamomile tea for this – mint leaves (keep some aside for garnishing), lemon zest or strips of lemon skin, five cloves and a decent bunch of rosemary.
When you are ready to serve, strain the chilled water mixture and then add 500ml of cold water to the jug, give it a gentle stir and place in the fridge. You’ll need to be patient though, by leaving it to marinate and fuse for at least four hours (a bit longer will allow the flavours to develop more).
Top up with soda water when you are ready to serve and a generous handful of ice. Garnish individual servings of G&T mocktail with mint leaves and a few pomegranate seeds for colour.
NON-ALCOHOLIC MULLED WINE
Christmas is the season of mulled wine and if you are not ready to let the warmth and spices of it go just yet, there is a non-alcoholic version that you can enjoy to keep you warm throughout January.
To 500ml of pomegranate juice, add 25g of caster sugar, a handful of frozen blackberries and 250ml of apple juice. Mix it all together and then place in a pan and heat gently with a stick of cinnamon, star anise, four cloves, three black peppercorns and one orange, quartered.
Heat until simmering. Check the sweetness – add a little more sugar if you want to – and then, carefully strain the non-alcoholic mulled wine into heatproof glasses. Garnish with a slice of orange.
WILL YOU TAKE PART IN DRY JANUARY?
Dry January is a chance to step back from a period of excess and indulgence. Our liver is known to recover quickly when we stop drinking, along with the digestive system and the rest of our body. Waving goodbye to alcohol, even for a few weeks, can see us enjoy improved sleep patterns, and the texture of our skin and hair can improve too as well as our mood.
Ditching alcohol for a month can also help us decide if our drinking habits are getting out of hand. If nothing else, however, these mocktails are delicious, and give us a chance to enjoy a range of flavours we may not have experienced before!