Yes, that’s right folks, zero proof cocktails are now THE THING, and it’s time to think outside of the Arnold Palmer (RIP) for when you have summer dinner guests or parties. Here are three cocktails that are GUARANTEED to make people smile, or swoon, depending on the mood.
Cherryade (Serves 6-8)
I love cherries. All year round these plump fruits are some of the best to have on hand for snacking or smoothie making. Now you can create something new with ‘em. Grab a bag of Bing or Rainier cherries and make sure they’re pitted. (Those cherry stones can crack a tooth if you’re not careful!) Sugar, thyme, lime juice, ice, and club soda do the rest of the work.
Cherries - 2 1/2 cups pitted cherries
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Fresh Thyme - 1 sprig
Fresh Lime Juice - 1/4 cup (2 fl oz)
Club Soda - splash or heavier pour depending on your taste
Combine cherries, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes or until the cherries have softened. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove thyme sprig, transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher. Stir in lime juice and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Fill Collins glasses with ice and then each glass about 1/3 full with cherry mixture and top with club soda. Garnish with lime wedge if you want to get fancy.
Amalfi Lemonade (Serves 6-8)
When you’re looking for a drink is something that reminds you of the way the sun hits the buildings in Bologna in the afternoons… Well, this is it. Reminiscent of Limoncello but without the headache. Celebratory and very summery.
Lemon Verbena Leaves - 8, plus leaves for garnish
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 1/4 cups
Lemons - 2, thinly sliced
Heatproof measuring cup
Fine mesh sieve
Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Pour the boiling water into a heatproof measuring cup and combine with lemon verbena leaves. Stir in sugar to dissolve. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and chill for 30 min. Then, in a pitcher combine lemon verbena syrup, 4 cups of water, and lemon juice. Serve in glasses over ice. Garnish with lemon slices and more lemon verbena leaves. Put on your largest darkest sunglasses and all your gold jewelry. Imagine you’re on the coast and about to hop into your convertible to see the sights. This is it. Italy.
So Berry Cool (Serves 6-8)
They say that berries are the best antioxidants and can contribute all kinds of healthy things to our system. I’m in! Take the best summer berries you can find in those blue and purple hues to make this mocktail for all your favorite friends.
Blackberries - 1 pint
Blueberries - 1 pint - A Patch of Blue blueberry farm is here in Orlando and a great place for fresh berries.
Fresh mint - 1/4 cup coarsely chopped
Lavender syrup - Monin makes a great one!
Fresh lemon juice - 1/2 cup (4 fl oz.)
Club Soda (Soda water) - 4 cups
In a pitcher, muddle the berries and mint. Add the lavender syrup and lemon juice and stir to combine. Fill pitcher 3/4 full with ice and then top with club soda. Serve immediately.
It’s always a struggle when you’re planning an event or party to remember that there are those who retired early from the booze cruise. Make it just as fun for them to grab a drink as it is for those who imbibe. Take a look at this list of options if you’re hunting for ways to make your dinner party cool for the sober set.