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.
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 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)
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.
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 for Dark Shadows can be made exactly as per the Lavender infusion above, just substitute whole black peppercorns for the lavender.
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)
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.
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.
Need some energy to get over hump day? This pepper based mocktail will put a nice little fire in your belly. It’s not actually spicy, but has an invigorating depth and warmth. It’s simple to make, with stuff you probably have at home or can easily get near by. No grapefruit bitters? You could do a nice sized twist of grapefruit zest instead.
The Slow Burn Recipe:
4 oz black pepper infusion
6 oz tonic water
6 dashes grapefruit bitters
Garnish with freshly ground black pepper or grapefruit twist
Recipe makes 2 mocktails. For each: pour 2 oz cold black pepper infusion over ice, add 3 oz tonic slowly, add 3 dashes grapefruit bitters, stir. Garnish with a grind of black pepper or grapefruit twist.
Black Pepper Infusion:
2 cup water
4 Tbsp whole black dried peppercorns
Slightly crush the peppercorns ( they’re hard little things, no need to go crazy; no one will die if you use mostly whole peppercorns plus a few twists of your pepper grinder on coarse). 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 to by half (to 1 cup) Remove from heat, let cool. Strain through sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Refrigerate. Makes 8 oz of pepper infusion, enough for 4 drinks.