If Sober October is for you this year, don't panic - here's our easy to make Noughty cocktail plan to get you through those darker nights with the heating turned on...
We've laid out here the tastiest and prettiest alcohol-free cocktails that you can mix up from your very own home kitchen cupboards.
Cocktail-making hinges on confidence and the key is simplicity. Don't overdo it on the ingredients and feel free to switch out certain ingredients for others because it's all about what's available and the commitment to tackle unnecessary food waste.
The cocktail you see above was created as a simple but delicious Saturday breakfast cocktail. Using Noughty alcohol-free sparkling Rosé, peach, raspberry and lemon thyme it makes a beautiful store cupboard mimosa using "some bargain peaches" and freshly picked raspberries.
STORE CUPBOARD STAPLES
· Tea can add the bitterness and aromatics found in an alcoholic cocktail. Make a sugar syrup (recipe below) or use agave syrup and steep your choice of teabag in the hot (not boiling) liquid for at least an hour. Earl Grey or Lady Grey deliver complex, fragrant flavours and good old English Breakfast a hearty tang
· Herbal teas also pack a punch and plenty of aroma. Try chamomile, mint, berry or anything you enjoy drinking, infused in hot water then chilled, or in a agave syrup
· Your freezer is a cocktail lover’s best friend. Ice is an essential, but get into the habit of freezing fruit juices, purees and edible flowers. Pop the cubes into freezer bags for stunning instant hits of chilled flavour
· You only need a windowsill to have a supply of fresh mint, basil, thyme constantly on the go. If you’re not green-fingered, some herbs are better used in their dry form anyway. Either make a syrup (recipe below) and infuse with cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamon, lavender or pink peppercorns and you can keep the aromatic liquid in the fridge for up to two weeks
· Tinned fruit a no-go? Look again. Clementine segments, peach slices and cherries (buy brands that don’t add processed sugar) blitzed make very elegant bellinis with a good glug of chilled Noughty – and you are genuinely getting one of your five-a-day too!
THE FABULOUS STORE CUPBOARD FIVE
JUST THE TONIC TEA TREAT
5 cardamom pods
½ bunch mint leaves
strip lemon zest
½ bunch rosemary
tonic water, to top up
Using a potato peeler take four large lengths of cucumber skin and put aside.
Bruise the cardamon pods, slice the remaining cucumber into cubes and put in a jug or bowl with the chamomile teabag, roughly torn mint leaves, lemon zest and rosemary leaves.
Top up with 500ml cold water and infuse in the fridge for at least two hours and up to four.
Strain the infused water and pour 50ml into your choice of glass.
Top with tonic and ice, and garnish with a few mint leaves and a cucumber skin strip.
MANGO MULE (SERVES 6)
If you get into the habit of whizzing mango into a puree and freezing into cubes, this cocktail will always be at your fingertips. Substitute sugar syrup or agave for the honey for a vegan cocktail.
Half a cucumber, de-seeded and cut into long, thin strips
½ oz simple syrup (recipe below)
1.5oz mango puree
1.5oz fresh (or bottled) lime juice
2oz ginger beer
Mint to garnish
Reserve 6 strips of cucumber and six thin slices of lime. Muddle the rest of the cucumber with simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker (or large jam jar)
Add the mango puree, lime juice and a handful of ice
Give a good shake, then pour, without straining, into a glass
Top with ginger beer (we love Cawston Press – it’s made with ginger root and apples)
Stir, and garish with a slice of lime
ANY CITRUS MIMOSA (SERVES 6)
Oranges are not the only fruit – any citrus will make a nicely zingy mimosa (though we’d steer clear of lemons).
We love clementines from a tin and tangerines from the fruit bowl – simply blitz, and you’ll have a delicious liquid that’s full of natural healthy fibre. If using oranges, just use the juice unless you’ve got a really good Vitamix-type blender. And it’s a good idea to chill all the ingredients before mixing the cocktail.
Small tin of clementine or mandarin segments
2 fresh tangerines, segments blitzed
300ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Blitz the clementines or mandarins in a blender, and chill for at least 30 minutes
Pour the fresh orange juice into the bottom of a champagne flute and top with Noughty. The ratio should be 1/3 fruit to 2/3 Noughty
BEAUTIFUL BELLINI (SERVES 6)
The traditional Bellini, invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Venice’s famous Harry’s Bar, uses fresh peach puree and Prosecco. If you’ve got fresh peaches, go for it. If not, a jar or tin of peaches will do just as well.
Jar or tin of sliced peaches. (We like Biona Organic, suspended in rice syrup made with lemon juice and no beet or cane sugar)
Blitz 500g fresh, tinned or bottled peach slices in a blender and chill for at least half an hour
Pour into the bottom of a champagne flute then slowly top with Noughty and gently mix – the ratio should be 1/3 peach puree to 2/3 Noughty
ROSEMARY BERRY SMASH (SERVES 1)
ROSEMARY BERRY SMASH
The great thing about this cocktail – apart from how dope rosemary sprigs look as a cocktail stirrer – is that you can use any berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries all give masses of flavour while packing a nice little punch of Vitamin C.
10 fresh berries, plus a few more to garnish
2 rosemary sprigs
1tbs simple or agave syrup
1oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
6oz sparkling water
Thoroughly muddle the agave or sugar syrup in a cocktail syrup with the berries and rosemary leaves stripped from one stem
Add the lemon juice and stir
Strain into a glass of your choice
Add crushed ice to taste, and top with sparkling water
Garnish with the extra berries and the second rosemary sprig
SIMPLE SYRUP, AGAVE AND HONEY
Agave syrup sits lower on the glycaemic index than sugar, making it less likely to raise your blood sugar levels. It’s also perceived as being sweeter on the palate than sugar, meaning a little goes a long way. If you’d rather make your own sugar syrup, the recipe is below. You can also use honey, but need to heat it with a little water to make it liquid enough to mix with other cocktail ingredients.
SIMPLE SYRUP RECIPE
Traditionally made with one part sugar to one part water, heat till the sugar dissolves (boiling should be avoided). Once cooled and decanted into an airtight jar, sugar syrup keeps for up to three weeks. For flavoured syrups simply add your choice of herb, citrus peel or herbal teabag to the cooling syrup and keep it in the liquid in the fridge to enhance the flavours. Remove the flavouring before using in a cocktail.