Passing on the booze? We have some suggestions for soft drinks that will more than make up for it.
While some of you choose to decline alcohol all year round, the notion of giving up the sauce for a stint is ever popular. “Dry January” has truly manacled itself to our national psyche, with over 170,000 people participating in the ‘dryathlon’ in 2014, according to the scheme’s website. It seems the lure of saving money, trimming the waist and skipping hangovers is a potent one.
It can be a challenge to inject soft drinks with the same amount of sparkle as their alcoholic equivalents, but we have some tips for ensuring teetotallers don’t miss out.
Blood orange punch
If you’re abstaining at the beginning of the year there is a whole host of seasonal citrus fruit available to turn into juice. Grapefruit, pomelo and clementines are in season during the winter months, but we particularly like blood oranges. They have a very short season towards the end of winter, but make the most of their deep red flesh while you can.
Making a batch of homemade fruit cordial should see you through a few weeks of a dryathlon. Try to use whatever is seasonal and for a basic mix combine with just sugar and water. Elderflowers work well and can often be foraged – just make sure you shake off the bugs – or try seasonal berries. Provided they’re stored in sterilized jars, cordials can last several months in the fridge.
Alcohol is inextricably associated with celebrating and nothing says party like a delicious cocktail. Ditch the rum and try this pomegranate-based mocktail. Make sure to bash the mint under a rolling pin or with your hands to release the oils, thus plenty of flavour.
Up your vitamin take and whizz up a fruit-based smoothie. Follow our guide to achieving the perfect blend using your favourite ingredients, then get creative with flavourings like peanut butter and spices. If you want to be really virtuous try adding vegetables – a green detox smoothie made with coconut water, apple, kiwi and spinach is one seriously heady beverage.
Often the reserve of festive revelry, the process of mulling works with a wide range of base drinks. Try using apple or pear juice and spice to taste – a touch of citrus, cinnamon and a sweetener such honey or agave should do the trick.
Put tinned fruit to good use in this sparkling quencher with kiwi, strawberries and pineapple. Find yourself a good tropical fruit juice as a base – or if you have a juicer to hand, you could try making your own with anything from mango and lychees to fresh passion fruit.
Use up your homemade elderflower cordial in a simple blend with apple juice, fresh mint and a little soda water. Use a different cordial if you like, and if you can’t get hold of mint swap it for fresh rosemary.
Ditch shop-bought lemonade for a cloudy homemade alternative. Lime makes for a tangy drop – blend the limes whole into a pulp and combine with soda water. This recipe works with vodka or rum if you’re catering for those who fancy a tipple.
This refreshing Indian drink is designed to cool the palate following spicy food. It has a yogurt base, which in this recipe can be made savoury by adding cumin and coriander, or sweet with rosewater and sugar. We also have a mango version with added pistachio and mint.
This may seem a bit staid, but staying hydrated by drinking water in its pure form does wonders for every part of the body. Spruce it up with herbs like rosemary, basil and mint, healthy squeezes of lime or lemon juice, fiery ginger or slices of cool, refreshing cucumber.
What’s your preferred non-alcoholic tipple? Share your ideas with us…