"You can tell a good bartender by his/her mocktails."

Photo: The Rookie Barkeep

"You can tell a good bartender by his/her mocktails."

So said a friend of mine, who decided a few years ago to hop on the wagon and has never looked back.

This friend came over a few weeks back, in fact, and she made a special request in advance – that I make her some alcohol-free* concoctions in her honor.

They turned out pretty well, so I wanted to share them – it's never too early to get a head start on Dry January, kids!

Garden Mule

2 oz Seedlip Garden
3 oz Green Shrub (recipe below)
3 oz Ginger Beer
Scrappy's Lavender Bitters
Crushed ice
Fennel frond

Fill a copper mule mug with crushed ice. Dry-shake Seedlip Garden, Green Shrub, and Ginger Beer gently in a cocktail shaker to mix evenly, then pour over ice. Shake lavender bitters generously over top, garnish with a fennel frond, and serve.

Green Shrub

2 fennel bulbs, chopped, fronds reserved for garnish
6 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 c green peas (thaw slightly if frozen by running under cool water from a faucet for a minute or two)
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c simple syrup
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t celery seed

Add fennel, celery, and peas to a blender, top with lemon juice, and blend until smooth. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the juice from the pulp; set juice aside. Pulp can be tossed into a smoothie or soup if you don't want to throw it away, but you don't need it anymore for the purposes of our shrub.

Alternatively, you could probably run the produce through a juicer.

Combine the juice, vinegar, syrup, black pepper, and celery seed in a mason jar, close lid tightly and shake to blend the ingredients.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. There may be some separation – you can either shake again or separate the liquid from the sludge. I prefer to shake it all back up.

Photo: The Rookie Barkeep

Spiced Cherry Collins

2 oz Seedlip Spice
2 oz Spiced Tart Cherry Syrup (recipe below)
frozen tart cherries

Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add Seedlip Spice, Cherry Syrup, and top with soda. Toss in some frozen tart cherries, give it a quick stir with a sustainable straw, and enjoy!

Spiced Tart Cherry Syrup

1 lb pitted tart cherries (fresh, or thawed frozen)
lemon zest
1 c sugar
water to taste
mulling spices in a tea strainer or tied in cheesecloth

I didn't do a good job paying attention to the proportions I used on this one, so use the ingredients above directionally and find your own way (sorry). 

Combine cherries, lemon zest, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until cherries break down, stirring occasionally to coat cherries in the sugar. Once the cherries have broken down as much as you think they're going to, pour the cherry mixture into a fine-mesh strainer and strain juice into a clean bowl. Thin a bit with water if you feel like it – it should be about the consistency of simple syrup. 

Discard your cherry solids or reserve to use another time. Pour cherry syrup back into the saucepan, add mulling spices, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes depending on how strong you want the spice flavors. 

Store 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

*My pal has no qualms with bitters, which typically have alcohol in them as a result of the extraction process, but feel free to omit them if you're a purist.


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