It'd be a mistake to overlook the mocktail. Teetotalers and imbibers alike can appreciate a great cocktail sans alcohol - especially in the middle of, say, a workday lunch or a blazing hot afternoon sunning by the pool. After all, it takes just as much skill and creativity to craft these virgin tipples as any other cocktail on the menu. - and there is nothing more refreshing on a warm spring day.
THAT'S MY JAM
Kristine Bocchino, tasting room supervisor at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village (fourseasons.com/westlakevillage) prefers to use her homemade apricot jam for this mocktail, but says a good organic store-bought variety will do just fine here.
2 tsp organic apricot jam
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz thyme syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 oz pitaya (dragonfruit) purée
1 dried apricot with a small slit cut into one side , for garnish
1 sprig fresh thyme
16 oz filtered water
2 cups organic cane sugar
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.
2Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
3When cooled, pull out the sprigs of thyme and chill the syrup in an airtight container until ready to use.
1Add jam, lime juice, thyme syrup, and one ounce of soda water to a shaker with ice. Shake hard until very cold.
2Double-strain into a Collins glass filled with oversized ice cubes or spheres.
3Top with soda water, then gently spoon the pitaya purée on the top of the cocktail.
4Garnish with a whole dried apricot on the rim of the glass and a sprig of thyme.
PINEAPPLE GINGER BEER
Eric Alperin, co-owner of The Varnish (213hospitality.com) Downtown, shares this wildly refreshing recipe for a flavorful springtime sipper.
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz ginger syrup (recipe follows)
crystallized ginger, for garnish
lemon wedge, for garnish
1 liter (roughly 34 oz)
675 g (roughly 24 oz by weight) superfine sugar
Stir vigorously to combine.
1Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake very quickly.
2Strain into a frozen Collins glass filled with fresh ice
3Garnish with crystallized ginger and a lemon wedge
I've been very into chamomile recently - its earthy, floral sweetness lends itself to cocktails of all kinds and is especially refreshing as a simple glass of iced tea on a warm day.
4 oz brewed chamomile tea, chilled
3/4 oz honey syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
3 sprigs fresh mint
1Add mint, honey syrup, and lime juice to a shaker tin and muddle.
2Fill shaker with ice and chamomile tea, then shake well until very cold.
3Strain over ice and top with sparkling water.
8 oz filtered water, warm or at room temperature
1 cup honey
1Whisk honey and water until honey is completely dissolved. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
This is sort of like a mojito, but the tonic water adds a ton of flavor to something that might otherwise be a bit boring. If using traditional, sweeter tonic water, you may want to first prepare the mocktail without honey syrup, then taste - it may be sweet enough without adding anymore sugar.
4 oz low sugar tonic water, such as Q tonic water
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz honey syrup (see above recipe)
12 leaves fresh mint
lime wheel, for garnish
sprig of fresh mint, for garnish
1In a heavy-bottomed rocks glass, muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup.
2Add ice to glass, then fill with tonic water, and stir.
3Garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of fresh mint.