Are you planning a festive New Year’s Eve celebration and looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to the usual cocktails and champagne?
Do you like the idea of “Happy Hour” but don’t like the unhappy after-effects?
Are you the designated driver?
Or maybe you and your guests prefer to maintain a high level of awareness and don’t want to reduce it by drinking alcoholic beverages.
My latest fave beverage is a mocktail! It is very simple and so far, everyone I’ve served has liked it a lot–even if they are used to alcoholic beverages. I call it
- Sparkling water of choice (I like San Pellegrino sparkling water), chilled
- Flavored white balsamic vinegar, chilled
- Liquid Stevia
The part you’ll be experimenting with is the flavored white balsamic. Actually you can use a red balsamic as well. Fruit flavors work best. Here at home right now I have a Cranberry Pear White Balsamic and a Wild Blueberry Red Balsamic. The more aged the balsamic is, the better and sweeter this will taste.
If you can’t find a flavored balsamic, you can use a fruit concentrate added to plain balsamic. I’ve seen pomegranate and dark red cherry in stores. These are usually not sweetened at all, so you can add a few more stevia drops.
You can make your own fruit concentrate by cooking down dried apricots or peaches in apple juice and adding the thickened cooking liquid to plain balsamic vinegar in your drink. I recommend you strain the cooking liquid very well using cheesecloth or a piece of linen so there are no solids in your drink. In this case, you probably won’t need the stevia at all.
For an 8-ounce mocktail, pour about 2 tablespoons of flavored vinegar into the glass. Add 1-3 drops of stevia to sweeten according to your taste. Pour in the sparkling water and you’ve got a sophisticated but simple mocktail.
I like to dress these up with garnishes. For the Cranberry Pear Sparkles I’m adding a sprig of mint. For the Wild Blueberry I’m garnishing with fresh blueberries and a sprig of rosemary.
There are many other great recipes for mocktails (not all of them are sugar-free though) and I have listed a few places for you to see those:
- five holiday mocktails to try (amymayd.com) I liked her recipes and garnish ideas
- If you’re going to do…A ” Dry ” Reception (beyondtheessentialsevents.wordpress.com) There is a link to a delicious-sounding Virgin Grapefruit Mojito
- 5 Non-Alcoholic Mocktails to Ring in the New Year (greenster.com) Sugary but he’s got a nice recipe for Wassail!