Autumn Cheers — Mocktails for the Fall
A time of harvest, outdoor beauty and Halloween, autumn is a celebration of bounty. And while this is a fun time of the year, it can also get us started on the indulgence that arises when the weather gets cold. People go reaching for flavored coffees, pastries and pies, and get excited for the tastes of red wine and whiskey.
And, although having a good time with family and friends over drinks has a time and a place, you do not have to center all of your social interactions over alcohol. Especially if you are watching your caloric intake, drinking can be a distraction from your health goals.
That’s why it can be helpful to have an arsenal of recipes for alcohol-free drinks at your disposal. Whether it is for a brunch, or just to have as an option at your dinner party, non-alcoholic mixed drinks can come in handy, and be fun to make. Also, there is a lot of interest in these drinks right now, which lessens the stigma behind abstaining, or just momentarily passing, on alcohol.
Here are some great flavor profiles to try out. Experimenting is half the joy, so feel free to exchange and rearrange ingredients and quantities as you go. You are sure to stumble upon some tasty combinations. And remember to note down what you love - you can enjoy your creations on your own at home, or on the go with an infusion-type water bottle.
Mulled Hot Cider
You want to get some fresh cider. Then get out your warming spices: cloves, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, chai tea and more.
You can also add some citrus zest, cranberries, pomegranate, pears or any other fruit you want to try.
Warm over a low heat for an hour or more, to combine the flavors; this can also be done in a slow cooker.
Blood Orange Spritzer
Basically, you will muddle the blood orange at the bottom of a pretty glass or pitcher. Add ice and pour in a citrus-flavored seltzer, and then garnish with rosemary.
This is a recipe you can recreate with any citrus fruits, flavored water and herb. What about grapefruit and thyme? Or clementine and sage?
The fresh and savory combination is great for fall.
This is an interesting, tangy drink with a lot of room for customization. In its essence you are combining apple cider vinegar, citrus juice, maple syrup (or molasses, stevia, honey,etc) and water or seltzer over ice.
Beyond that, let your imagination soar. Some ideas for additions are ginger, turmeric or other spices. You simply heat the ingredients, then let them combine and cool in the fridge until serving.
A variation of the switchel, this version contains fruits. For this drink, you want to add fruit slices, purees or juices to the mix. The choice is up to you, but you can’t go wrong with seasonal apples and citrus fruits. Also, try out ginger and lime for a mule-inspired flavor. Or pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg for a real fall delight.