Dry January got you down? No problem because it’s National Mocktail Week and Washington-based founder Marnie Clark has a few recipes up her sleeves to keep you up without the high of booze.
Launching last year, Clark founded National Mocktail Week after looking for content ideas on the National Day Calendar that related to a sober, booze-free lifestyle and did not find much to work with.
“I was shocked at how many booze-related days there were, starting with National Hangover Day on January 1,” she recalls. “It occurred to me that maybe having an entire week to celebrate mocktails and the decision to abstain from booze — for a day, a week or for life — should be celebrated.”
After getting the second week of January recognized as National Mocktail Week, Clark says a great deal of buzz has been created since, including a launch party she held last year that brought in over 100 guests and raised $1,000 for the Recovery Café in Seattle.
“We received some media attention, and I feel like it was another tool to help this alcohol-free movement progress,” she adds. “This year we have restaurants putting mocktails on their menus in support of the week and, in some cases, they are donating part or all of the proceeds to charity. It’s been wonderful to see the interest and the support.”
A mocktail creator herself, we asked Clark to pull together a few of her favorite recipes for our readers.
“They taste fresh, the presentation is lovely and they aren’t overly complicated,” she says. “Anyone can make these at home.”
Clark says she enjoys challenging the perception of what a mocktail can be — so much more than juice and soda. “There are some really unique flavors available to us now in the form of simple syrups, bitters and mixers which really gives us the opportunity to get creative and mix something that is sophisticated not only in flavor but also in presentation,” she says. “A nice glass and some garnish can go a long way towards making even simple drinks feel special.”
Valentines Day’s Pomegranate Sparkler
Makes 2 mocktails
4 tablespoons pomegranate syrup*
8 ounces spicy ginger beer or ginger ale
Garnish: 2 grapefruit slices, 2 sprigs fresh mint
In two Champagne flutes, pour 2 tablespoons of pomegranate syrup into each. Top each with 4 ounces of ginger beer and garnish each flute with a fresh grapefruit slice and sprig of fresh mint.
*To make pomegranate syrup, bring 2 cups of pomegranate juice, ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a simmer in an uncovered saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat just enough to maintain a light simmer for 1 hour, or until the juice has a syrupy consistency and has reduced to about half a cup. Pour pomegranate syrup into a glass jar, allow to cool and store chilled in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
The Pear Tree
Makes 1 mocktail
1 cup ice
1/3 cup pear juice
2 tablespoons lemon-lime juice
2 tablespoons simple syrup
4-5 mint leaves
Place all ingredients except one mint sprig in a cocktail shaker and shake until well combined, about 10 seconds. Pour into a tumbler filled with ice and garnish with the remaining mint sprig.
Happy Figgin’ New Year
Makes 1 mocktail
1 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce honey
1/2 ounce orgeat
1 ounce plum juice
Garnish: fig slice
In a mixing tin, muddle the figs and then add the remaining ingredients and shake together. Double strain and serve in a coupe glass and garnish with a slice of fig.
Mocktails in picture from left to right: Pomegranate Sparkler, The Pear Tree, Happy Figgin’ New Year