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.

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..