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.

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 Slow Burn – Pepper for the People

Scene with a glass of dark rust coloured pepper cocktail on ice, surrounded by a little bowl of black peppercorns, and an enamal dish.

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.

4 images showing each step of making The Slow Burn, a pepper based cocktail.