Photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

There is nothing quite like a warm evening out in the yard with good friends and a cool drink in hand. What often happens though is that our drinks are filled with refined sugars, artificial flavours & colours. Did you know that one pina colada can cost you up to 10 teaspoons of sugar and 600 calories?

Take your bevvies up a notch with these simple and tasty recipes. You won’t find any artificial flavours or copious amounts of refined sugar here!

Step 1: Choose Your Base

Kombucha – fermented tea with probiotic activity, supports digestion, even though it tastes sweet, it contains far less sugar than pop

Sparkling Water – carbonated water, no sodium or sugar

Ginger Beer – alternative to ginger ale, often more natural ingredients and less sugar; since it has a stronger flavour, you will also use less

100% Fruit Juice – avoid fruit ‘beverages & cocktails,’ that often contain additional sugars

Tea – herbal, green, black – look for natural options without added artificial flavours

Step 2: Consider Your Sweetener

Not all mocktail recipes require any additional sweetener. Much will depend on your taste buds and also how much natural sweetener is already present from fruit & fruit juice ingredients.

Stevia – Can be up to 400x sweeter than refined sugar; doesn’t adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used by diabetics. Stevia has a unique flavour. Along with its sweetness there is also a bitter component. The poorer the quality of the leaf the more bitterness is evident in the taste.

Honey – if you are using tea as your base, you can naturally sweeten with a little bit of honey during the steeping process while the tea is still hot. Adding honey to cold tea won’t dissolve as well.

Simple Syrup – 1 cup raw organic sugar to 1 cup water – gently heat mixture to dissolve. Store in a glass mason jar in the fridge. Use sparingly.

Tips

Make ice cubes out of fruit juice to avoid diluting your drink. Add frozen fruit or citrus slices to fancy them up a bit.

Make ahead and serve in a large glass jar. Use a ladle to serve fruit to each glass.

Left over mocktail? Turn it into a healthier frozen treat option.

Recipes are by the cup unless otherwise noted. Mocktails will become more flavourful with infusing time. Make your drink ahead of time and let sit for a few hours in the fridge. Add sparkling water or ginger beer just before serving.

Cucumber, Lime & Mint Mojito

1″ cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 lime, thinly sliced

1/2 lime, juiced

1 mint sprig or 5 leaves

1 c sparkling water

Ginger Beer Mojito

1/2 c ginger beer

1/2 c sparkling water

3 – 4 lime slices

1 mint sprig or 5 leaves

Kombucha Mocktail

1 c kombucha, unflavoured

1/4 c frozen fruit of your choice – blueberries, strawberry slices

Blueberry Infusion Herbal Iced Tea

1 c blueberry herbal tea, steeped & cooled

1/4 c frozen berries

1/4 c sparkling water

1 tsp simple sugar syrup

Watermelon-Lime Mocktail

serves 4 – 6

8 c seedless watermelon, cubed

1 lime, freshly squeezed

1 lime, sliced for garnish

mint sprigs

1 can sparkling water

Sangria

serves 10 – 12

1 litre white grape juice

1 c orange juice

1 litre sparkling water

1 bag frozen mixed berries

2 limes – 1 squeezed & 1 sliced

1 orange, sliced

Raise a glass with me to starry nights & good friends!