Daisy’s Dock – A Seriously Green Mocktail

a green drink in a clear glass with juicy condensation running down. All on a silver platter just for you, dahling.
Never enough green, never!

I don’t know if there are any books in the English language with more symbolism than The Great Gatsby, or maybe its just that I studied it one too many times. But when wracking my brain for a green-related name for this mocktail I remembered the green light “on all night” at the end of Daisy’s dock. The one that Gatsby stretches his trembling arms toward if I recall correctly.

At any rate this is a super delish and refreshing mocktail for hot summer days, and having had one, you will no doubt stretch your trembling arms toward more (more! always more!). OK, I’ll stop now. But seriously, good drink.

Daisy’s Dock – the Recipe

  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5- 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 oz Some Serious Green (fennel – celery) Shrub (recipe)
  • 6 oz fresh cucumber juice
  • soda or sparkling water
  • juice of half a lime

Muddle the mint and sugar in the bottom of a small pitcher or shaker.

Add the Shrub and the cucumber and lime juices.

Pour over ice into 2 glasses, top with soda.

(Ooh remember the glasses in the Great Gatsby?)

Some Serious Green – a Fennel and Celery Shrub

a moody take on a fennel bulb and a celery bunch? what do you call a celery?
They look like they should be related, but they’re not.

Spring has sprung and so has the price of celery as health nuts everywhere (California) believe in its curative powers . One article I read said it owes its magic abilities to “unidentified polar substances” among other things. Nothing against health nuts, in fact I might be one, but for me the jury’s out til they identify those aforementioned polar substances.

Celery does taste great though, and adds a certain fresh peppery flavour if juiced. When mixed with the slightly exotic taste of fennel ( is it exotic? sort of, right? ) it makes for a lovely refreshing shrub soda. Check out Daisy’s Dock for its use in a mocktail with cucumber, lime and mint.

Some Serious Green – the Recipe

  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped fairly small (otherwise known as diced)
  • 1/2 cup fennel, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mixed celery and fennel juice
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar

In a medium bow, mix the diced celery, fennel and sugar. Pound the vegetables into the sugar to release the unidentified polar thingies. Cover and let sit on your counter for 24 hours.

In a large jar mix the fennel/celery juice and the lime/sugar mixture. Shake for as long as you can or until the sugar dissolves. Strain through a sieve to remove the veg.

Add the vinegar to the mixture and pour into a sterilised jar. Keep the closed jar in the fridge, letting it mellow for a few days before drinking ( I, gasp, don’t sterilise the jar, nor do I wait to drink it, but I don’t want to kill you ….so sterilise, be patient).

To drink, mix 1 oz of shrub to 8-10 oz of soda or cold water. Can add the sweetener of your choice if desired. Will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. Makes about 8 oz of shrub, recipe can be multiplied for a crowd.

Diced celery and fennel mixed with sugar in a blue-patterned Chinese bowl
Release the polar thingies!

A Peeler by Definition – a Cucumber and Lime Shrub

A jar of cucumber lime shrub, taken from a low angle, to rather heroic effect.
I woke up in the middle of the night in horror, thinking “cucumbers… vinegar…..pickles! – shit!” but in fact it doesn’t taste like pickles so go back to sleep. It’s actually very refreshing.

A peeler in North America is a stripper. A peeler in England is a police officer. Oh the confusion! The potential jokes! (none of which I can come up with at the moment, but feel free to add in the comments below).

Either way, you’ll need a regular old kitchen peeler for this shrub recipe. I did try making it without peeling (the cucumbers) but this version renders a shrub with more clarity and freshness. I also tried to throw in some mint – both with the limes in the sugar and in the juice – meh. So peel on for a better tasting shrub, and add mint later if you like.

The Peeler by Definition Recipe

  • 3 limes, peeled with as little of the white stuff as possible
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cucumber juice (made from peeled and seeded cucumbers)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar

In a medium bow, mix the lime peels and sugar. Pound the peels in the sugar to release the oil from the peel. Cover and let sit on your counter for 24 hours.

In a large jar mix the cucumber juice and the lime/sugar mixture. Shake for as long as you can or until the sugar dissolves. Strain through a sieve to remove the peels.

Add the vinegar to the mixture and pour into a sterilised jar. Keep the closed jar in the fridge, letting it mellow for a few days before drinking ( I, gasp, don’t sterilise the jar, nor do I wait to drink it, but I don’t want to kill you ….so sterilise, be patient).

To drink, mix 1 oz of shrub to 8-10 oz of soda or cold water. Can add the sweetener of your choice if desired. Will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. Makes about 8 oz of shrub, recipe can be multiplied for a crowd.

4 photos showing peeled limes, sugar pounding, peeled and seeded cucumbers and cucumber juice.

God is Watching – a Smokey Pear Anise Mocktail

a creamy golden mocktail in a stemless martini glass, backed by the pitcher from whence it came.

OK, so I was having a hard time naming this mocktail. I google “pear jokes”, and find jokes4us.com, which has a whole page of them. Last on the page was this one:

“At lunch time in the cafeteria there was a pile of pears on a tray, and the teacher put a note: take only one, remember, god is watching. A little bit further down the line there was a pile of cookies, and a child had put a note on it: take as many as you want, god is watching the pears.”

If I was God, I would drink this mocktail for sure. I would weirdly use bottled pear juice as opposed to fresh, because fresh pear juice turns brown really really fast, but it’s up to you. I would also suggest you not steep the tea longer than I say. I am a God of free will, but really I do know best.

The God is Watching Recipe

  • 8 oz anise-infused Lapsang Souchong tea (see below)
  • Star Anise for the tea (2/cup of tea brewed)
  • 8 oz pear juice
  • dusting of cinnamon sugar

To brew the tea: for every 1 cups of boiling water use 1 tsp of tea, ideally in a tea ball, in a warmed teapot. Let it steep for 4 minutes. Remove the tea ball, or strain the tea if you’ve just thrown it all together. Add 2 star anise for every cup of water you used. Let cool.

To make the drinks: Mix pear juice and anise-infused Lapsang in a pitcher of ice. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Makes 2 drinks, but scale away.

What to do with any left over anise-infused tea? It tastes great on its own over ice. The anise seems to sweeten it somehow, but add agave if you like.

Lapsang Souchong tea with 2 star anise floating in jam jar on a silver platter, surrounded by loose tea and star anise.

Original Sin – a Lapsang Rose Mocktail

a small bronze coloured teapot with 2 tea glasses, each containing an Original Sin mocktail over ice.
Some would argue it is sinful to serve an iced drink in a tea cup…………whatevah dahling, serve it however you like.

Lapsang Souchong is thought by many to be the original black tea. It is smoked over a pinewood fire giving it its distinctive love-it-or-hate-it flavour. It was the smokiest tea I could find, and I was convinced it would go well with tonic – so much so I was in fact quite peeved that it did not. (Mind you, I think everything’s going to go well with tonic.)

But I got over it and learned the following: a) the way you make this tea is super important – do not steep it longer than 4 minutes or it starts to taste like rubber and b) the smokiness goes really well with sweet rose

The Original Sin Recipe

  • 1 oz Rose Water
  • 4 tsp. Agave syrup
  • 10 oz of cooled Lapsang Souchong tea (as brewed below)

Put all in shaker over ice. Shake with extra vigour to ensure the agave mixes well, and serve over ice. Serves 2.

To brew the tea: for every 3 cups of boiling water use 3 tsp of tea, ideally in a tea ball, in a warmed teapot. Let it steep for 4 minutes. Remove the tea ball, or strain the tea if you’ve just thrown it all together. Let cool.

If you are Satan and prefer stronger tea – do not steep longer! add more tea instead. Well, unless you’re Satan and you want a drink called Rubber Hose, which might be fun…….if you’re Satan. (Turns out the longer you steep it, the more it tastes like rubber)

a yellow Chinese tea pot on a silver platter.

Dark Shadows – a Lavender and Pepper Mocktail

Pepper based mocktails are obviously some of my favourites, especially if you like a stronger, darker tasting sipping drink. I only put it in the flutes above because I just bought them – you could serve Dark Shadows in highball glasses over ice just as well. The pepper isn’t spicy per se, but there is definitely a shadowy warmth as it slides down. Now I’m someone who eats a lot of spicy food so my palate may be different than yours. Experiment with the amount of soda if you find it too strong ( I actually will drink this straight, without soda, but that’s up to you!) I do add agave to this drink – the lavender seems to need some sweetness to fully bring out the flavour. As always, feel free to add more if you like a sweeter mocktail.

The Dark Shadows Recipe

  • 4 oz black peppercorn infusion (see below)
  • 2 oz lavender infusion (see below)
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar/syrup
  • dash of orange bitters (or a thick orange twist )
  • 4-6 oz of soda water (2-3 oz per mocktail)

In shaker, combine pepper and lavender infusions and agave nectar/syrup over ice. Shake. Pour in serving glass (over ice is fine too), top with 2-3 oz of soda and dash of orange bitters. I tried it with tonic water, but that tastes weird.

This recipe serves 2 but you can scale up or down as you like.

Lavender Infusion

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp food grade lavender

Combine lavender and water in small pot, bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes – the infusion should reduce to about 1.5 cups Remove from heat, let cool. Strain through a fine sieve Refrigerate. Makes about 12 oz of lavender infusion.

You can multiply the recipe. I like things fresh, but you can keep the infusion in the fridge for a couple of days,.

Pepper Infusion

Pepper infusion for Dark Shadows can be made exactly as per the Lavender infusion above, just substitute whole black peppercorns for the lavender.

Bitter? Moi? A Lime Shrub

2 glasses of lime shrub - refreshing, not bitter!
To the people who told me limes are too bitter for a shrub: what did limes ever do to you?

So I had read and been told that limes were not a good fruit to make shrubs out of because the oil in the peel is bitter. “What’s a little bitter?” I asked myself and forged on. Well glad I did – this shrub is not bitter at all, and in fact is the best shrub I’ve made so far (I think, anyway). I had a hard time saving enough for the photo shoot. I did use organic apple cider vinegar, which is more mellow than some of the others I’ve tried.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup lime juice – I used 5 limes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from the fruit you used for the juice (5 limes in this case)
  • 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  1. Juice the limes, refrigerate until required.
  2. Remove the zest from the limes, being careful to include as little pith (the white stuff) as possible.
  3. In a bowl, mix the sugar and zest and give it a thorough pounding to mix. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. Mix the sugar and the vinegar, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a sterilised glass jar or bottle (close with a sterilised lid). Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Give it a stir at least once a day.

Wait at least 4 days for it to mellow a bit, then drink by mixing the shrub with lots of soda or water over ice. A little goes a long way. You can add agave or honey to taste – start with 1 tsp and go from there. They say that the organic apple cider vinegar is good for you. (Not the same “they” that said limes don`t make good shrubs, thankfully)

Wednesday in Beirut – A Pink Peppercorn and Rose Mocktail

a pink pepper mocktail with a rosemary sprig garnish. On a tray with seashells and random pink peppercorns.
Pinkedy pink pink pink

Continuing my obsession with pepper! Its just so easy and complex a flavour, and works so well with so many other wonderful flavours… though do avoid anything you’d cook a chicken in (ie lemon pepper mocktail might taste you’re drinking a marinade – um, don’t do that).

I have recently come to love rose water, which is inexpensive and not sweetened. The brand I get comes from Lebanon, and is available in a lot of grocery stores. Combined with the pink peppercorns, you’ll instantly be transported to a beautiful marble balcony, the breeze bringing you the lovely aroma of the roses that surround you…..lol, or something like that – it’s Wednesday, you need all the help you can get.

The Wednesday in Beirut Recipe

  • 6 oz pink peppercorn infusion (see below)
  • 1 oz rosewater
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters (or garnish with a grapefruit twist)
  • Tonic water
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish (if not using grapefruit!)

In shaker, pour peppercorn infusion, rosewater and bitters over ice. Shake. Pour in serving glass, top with tonic. Garnish with grapefruit or rosemary sprig.

This recipe serves 2 but you can scale up or down as your little heart desires.

Pink Peppercorn Infusion

  • 2.5 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp whole pink peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp crushed pink peppercorns

Put water and peppercorns in small pot, bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes – the infusion should reduce by up to half (to about 1.25 cups). Remove from heat, let cool. Strain through a fine sieve Refrigerate. Makes 10 oz of pink peppercorn infusion.

You can multiply or divide the recipe, make vats of it if you want. I like things fresh, but you can keep the infusion in the fridge for a couple of days, so you could definitely make ahead of your big party. I can’t resist eating at least some of the soft little pink peppercorns left over from the infusion, and they could also be used as a garnish.

4 photos showing the process of making a Wednesday in Beirut rose and pink peppercorn mocktail.

The Jaw Breaker – an Anise Mocktail

A mocktail, a hammer and a bowl of star anise on dark slate tiles
Hard day smashing the patriarchy? You deserve a mocktail!

Does anyone besides me remember the big black jaw breakers that had an anise seed in the middle? It would take forever to suck that thing down, through all the different coloured layers, to get to the seed (if you did’t choke on the jaw breaker trying).

Star anise and seed anise are apparently two different things, but they both have that fresh liquorice -y taste. One of my grandmothers used to put star anise in her chicken soup, and I still like it that way.

For this simple mocktail I do a light syrup with sugar, because it brings out the flavour, but as always you can skip the sugar in the first step and add agave or honey to the infusion before pouring (just make sure to stir very well).

The Jaw Breaker Recipe

  • 4 oz anise syrup (see below)
  • 6 oz or so tonic water
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Recipe makes 2 mocktails, but you can scale up or down. In a mixing pitcher, pour the cold anise syrup over ice, add the tonic slowly, and 2 dashes grapefruit bitters, stir gently (unless you want a foamy drink). Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a star anise or grapefruit twist. If you’re substituting I wouldn’t use an orange bitters (bitter?), as it overpowers the anise here…

Anise Syrup Recipe:

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp of anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Put the water and anise seeds in a small pot, bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes – the infusion should reduce to by half (to about a 1 cup) Remove from heat, let cool. Strain through sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Refrigerate. Makes 8 oz of anise syrup. Keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, so go ahead and double the batch.

picture of anise seeds and star anise, as well as a cute dog because I didn't take enough pictures.
This is what happens when you don’t take enough pictures. You have to use cute dogs instead. Luckily I have a couple of those..

O Dominatrix! A Citrus Shrub

two jars of citrus shrubs - one made with champagne vinegar (bright orange) and one made using red wine vinegar (a rusty red).

A shrub is a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and fruit or vegetables. Nothing stopping you from throwing in herbs. You can use any sort of vinegar, though most recipes call for organic if available. This stuff is intense. It’s a process. Be patient. DO NOT, as I did, laugh while drinking it straight – it will go down the wrong way, go up your nose, and generally slap you silly from the inside. MIX it, people, with soda water. Like 10 to 1, soda to shrub. You can also use it in a mixed mocktail, should you so desire.
There are about 50 ways to make a shrub, more or less divided into “hot process” or “cold process”. I went for cold with this one. It can be kept for about 3 weeks in the fridge, and takes a few days to 1 week to mellow. Mellow is used as a relative term here. Mixed with soda, it is extremely refreshing and tingly. Add agave to taste, it removes any remaining sharpness.

I tried 2 versions – using the same fruit and sugar quantities, I used Red Wine Vinegar for one batch and Champagne Vinegar for the other. Both are lovely, but the Champagne version is a lot brighter. I bought the cheap stuff and it seemed fine, although in further adventures I found raw organic apple cider vinegar to be the best. I used the fruit as listed below. The orange definitely dominated (hence the name), so you could switch them out for lemons or grapefruit if you prefer. I have seen warnings that limes are too bitter (because of the zest?) so of course I will try limes next and let you know!

O Dominatrix! Recipe

  • 1 cup citrus juice – I used 1 grapefruit, 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from the fruit you used for the juice
  • 1 cup vinegar
  1. Juice the fruit, refrigerate until required.
  2. Remove the zest from the fruit, being careful to include as little pith (the white stuff) as possible.
  3. In a bowl, mix the sugar and zest and give it a thorough pounding to mix. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours – 24 hours.
  4. Mix the sugar and the vinegar, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a sterilised glass jar or bottle (close with a sterilised lid). Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Give it a stir at least once a day.

You can start drinking this right away if you like that sort of punishment, and of course you should try a little straight, just to say you did. Otherwise wait at least 4 days and mix it with lots of soda or water over ice. A little goes a long way – feel free to add agave or honey if it’s too sharp for you.

4 picture showing some of the steps in making O Dominatrix!, a citrus shrub.