4 non-alcoholic cocktail recipes you'll actually want to drink

3rd Jan 18 | Lifestyle

These 'Virgin' options will stir the senses and perk up the palate during Dry January and beyond.

Barman is making cocktail at night club.

If your New Year’s resolution is to forgo alcohol for January, but you’re worried your drinks options will dry up in the process, then good news.

Thanks to the low-to-no alcohol trend – and drinking less but better when we do – more and more bars are adding imaginative and complex variations to their non-alcoholic cocktail lists, and replicating the ritual of a well-made classic (so no more sipping those overly sweet, without a trace of sour, concoctions…).

And if you fancy putting your own spin on a mocktail, then Dry: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails, Cordials And Clever Concoctions, filled with dozens of inspiring recipes to help you experiment with some grown-up alternatives while you take a break from booze, is the book for you.

“A few of the recipes need a little forethought and some do include the odd unfamiliar ingredient, but most can be knocked up with what you’re likely to have to hand in the kitchen or garden,” says author Clare Liardet.

Just remember, you’ll need a shaker, buckets of ice, and an eclectic set of glassware; mocktails should look as good as the real deal. Here are 4 recipes for inspiration…

1. Blood Orange and Sage Margarita

Blood Orange and Sage Margarita
(Bantam Press/PA)

There is never a wrong time for a margarita in my book. The wonderful tart, salty tang of the drink is captured here and given depth with the hibiscus syrup. The sage provides an aromatic back note.

Ingredients: 125ml blood orange juice, 2tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1tbsp hibiscus syrup (see below), 3 sage leaves (reserve one to garnish), wedge of lime, Himalayan salt.

Hibiscus syrup: 500ml water, 90g white sugar, 35g light brown sugar, 12g dried hibiscus flowers, zest of 1 lemon. Add all the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the sugars dissolve and flowers soften. Remove from heat and steep the syrup for around five minutes until the flavours combine. Strain the syrup into a sterilised bottle through a fine-mesh sieve. Press any solid ingredients with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible before discarding.

Method: Put the blood orange juice, lime juice, hibiscus syrup and two sage leaves in a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. If you like a salt rim, run a wedge of lime around the rim of the chilled glass and dip it on to a saucer spread with salt. Strain the mixture into the glass and garnish with the third sage leaf.

2. Pomegranate Negroni

Pomegranate Negroni
(Bantam Press/PA)

The cherry concentrate gives an extra layer but isn’t essential. However, I recommend keeping the cherry concentrate in the fridge as a sugar-free cordial. It’s also delicious with hot water.

Ingredients: 200ml pomegranate juice, 2tsp Montmorency cherry concentrate, 3 good dashes of Angostura Bitters, a twist of orange peel.

Method: Pour the pomegranate juice and cherry concentrate into a glass of ice, then stir well before shaking in the Angostura Bitters. The drink should have a bittersweet tang, so add more Angostura if needed. Twist the orange peel on top of the drink to release the oils.

3. Pear and Rosemary on the Rocks

Pear and Rosemary on the Rocks
(Bantam Press/PA)

This is an elegant drink and a ripe pear is a luscious and fragrant treat, particularly when paired with a hint of warm, woody rosemary.

Ingredients: 60ml pear juice from 2 small pears, or good quality shop-bought pear juice (not from concentrate), 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 25ml simple herb syrup made with rosemary (see below), sparkling water, a sprig of rosemary and slice of pear to garnish.

Simple Herb Syrup: 200g sugar, 200ml water, 2 sprigs of rosemary. The intensity of a herb’s flavour varies throughout the year, so you might need to experiment – just use a teaspoon to test the strength as it simmers, and adjust as necessary. Put the sugar and water in a pan on a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Bring the syrup to a simmer, add the rosemary and continue to simmer for a further five–10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the syrup into a sterilised bottle.

Method: Combine the pear juice, lemon juice and rosemary syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well. Strain into a rocks glass and top with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of pear. For a longer drink, add more water and a dash of lemonade.

4. After Eight Martini

After Eight Martini
(Bantam Press/PA)

This is a real after-dinner treat, rich and chocolatey with a hint of mint – it doesn’t take long to make and is also delicious whisked into a cup of hot milk on a cold, grey afternoon.

Ingredients: 1tbsp chocolate ganache (see below), 50ml double cream, 30ml simple herb syrup made with mint (see recipe above and replace rosemary with mint), mint leaf or sprig to garnish.

Chocolate ganache: 235ml double cream, 250g good-quality dark chocolate, grated. Put the cream in a pan and heat gently. Bring just to the point of boiling and stop it from boiling over. Add the grated chocolate and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a sterilised container and store in the fridge. It will keep happily for up to a month, but keep it well covered so it doesn’t absorb any fridge flavours.

Method: Put a tablespoon of ganache into a pan with the cream and mint syrup, and heat very gently until the ingredients are blended. Allow the mixture to cool, then pour into a shaker with some cubes of ice, and shake. Pour the drink into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a sprig or leaf of mint.

Book cover of Dry: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails
(Bantam Press/PA)

Recipes extracted from Dry: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails, Cordials And Clever Concoctions by Clare Liardet, published by Bantam Press, priced £9.99. Available now.

© Press Association 2018