The Rumbly Tummy: Sober September (Mocktails!)
“We should get really good at making mocktails,” Mallory said to me.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Oh, because after the pandemic is over I think a lot of our friends are going to be getting sober.”
It makes sense. We’re all going through this painful time of separation together and some of us have spent much of the last year drinking alone, drinking too much or just drinking to avoid feeling the impending doom that is 2020. I know we have. I remember getting our first case of wine from Bonterra Vineyards, an organic winery who was offering 1 cent shipping during the early days of the pandemic, and the UPS driver lifting it out of the truck said “I’ve been delivering more alcohol these days than usual. It’s a good time to be in the wine business.”
While we’re the first to recommend a stiff drink on a bad day, after so many bad days began to want to take a step back and see things from a different point of view. So we decided to do Sober September; a month to reset, a month to refocus. And it’s been going pretty well. We’ve been making Mocktails so that we can still sit down with a tasty beverage at the end of the day and enjoy the ritual of making a drink, the clink of ice in a glass, the toast to our health.
So, whether you regularly drink or not, whether you’re in sobriety or if you’re reading this with a glass of red wine, here are some tasty recipes for the Mocktails we’ve been making this Sober September.
This Berry Shrub or Drinking Vinegar recipe we adapted from Uproot Kitchen has quickly become our go-to before-dinner drink for it’s tastiness and ease of preparation.
1 cup blackberries (any berry will do. We did a raspberry/basil shrub that was delicious.)
1/2 cup honey (or try agave for a vegan alternative)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Club soda or seltzer water to serve over ice
In a sauce pot, mix 1 cup berries of choice with 1/2 cup honey or agave on medium heat, allowing to cook down for about 10 minutes. Mash with a fork and let cool. Drain the liquid into a mason jar and add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Keep the extra berry mash in a separate jar and use a spoonful in your drink or on your toast in the morning.
Fill glass with ice, club soda or seltzer, a spoonful of berry mash if desired, and a shot of berry shrub.
We found a recipe for Tepache in a copy of Bust Magazine and gave it a try. It takes 2-3 days to ferment slightly, so plan ahead. Sweet and spicy and the perfect pairing for vegetarian tacos, we’ll definitely be doing this one again.
Here’s how we made it:
1 Pineapple (really just the skins and the core)
1/2 cup supar
8 cups water
Handful of basil or mint
Heat 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups water until sugar is dissolved and let cool. Skin and core the pineapple, cut the jalepeno and throw a handful of bruised basil (or mint) leaves into a pot or large jar. Add 6 cups water and cover with a cheesecloth. Let sit for 2-3 days, stirring twice daily. If a white film appears on top, just scrape it off. That is a type of yeast that can accumulate during fermentation. It’s harmless and doesn’t affect the taste, but for a more appealing drink it’s best to scrape off.
Rosemary Grapefruit Greyhound
This is a recipe we modified from some other recipes online and it’s pretty tasty and simple to make and modify if you don’t have these specific ingredients. Lemon basil would be delicious or even orange rosemary. The possibilities are endless.
For simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar (honey or agave)
2 cups water
1 TBSP rosemary
For the rest: 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Seltzer or club soda
Heat 1/2 cup sugar (or honey/agave) and 2 cups water until sugar dissolves and submerge 1 TBSP rosemary (I used a tea baller) in simple syrup until cool.
Add 1 tsp rosemary simple syrup, juice from half a grapefruit and 1 tsp to a glass with ice and top with seltzer or club soda.
Now, we actually haven’t tasted this yet, but our friends in Escaping Pavement sent this recipe over and said we had to try it. So, it’s currently sitting on top of the fridge, fermenting for a month. Use a dash in seltzer water or as an alcohol-free version of a Bloody Mary. Ours should be ready just in time for Un-Sober October. We’ll let you know how it goes.
In a pinch? Grab some fruit juice and sparkling water and throw it over ice! Mallory has been especially keen on tart cherry juice with grapefruit Spindrift sparkling water with a wedge of lime to satiate her summertime gin cravings.
Have a good mocktail recipe? Let us know! We have a good part of the month ahead of us, and after Un-Sober October, we will likely be looking for more recipes in November...