Friday, January 30, 2009

Mindful mocktails

by Chef Magazine staff

This article is the Beverage & Spirits online exclusive for the January 2009 issue.

It is well known that alcohol is the cash cow in the restaurant biz. Even in hard times, diners are still interested in cocktails, wine and beer to accompany their meals. That said, there's a growing number of customers out there who are interested in being included in the drink culture sans the alcohol. Consider customizing a mocktail menu. Your customers who wish to be alcohol-free will thank you for the creative beverages, and your bottom line will benefit from premium-priced nonalcoholic drinks.

Because Chef Magazine's January issue focused on health and nutrition, and many New Year's resolutions involve slimming down, here are some thoughts on more healthful mocktails to offer your diners. Think about low-calorie mixers and energy drinks, sugar substitutes, all-natural juices and teas--and don't forget the fun garnishes.

Antioxie Moxie

Yield: 1 drink

6 fresh blueberries, 6 frozen blueberries or 3/4 oz. blueberry purée
Ice, as needed
2 oz. Ocean Spray BarPac Mixer Cranergy Energy Juice Drink Cranberry Lift
3 oz. fresh-brewed green tea


Method (1) Muddle the blueberries in the base of a rocks glass. (2) Add ice and remaining ingredients. Stir before serving. Garnish with cranberries and blueberries on a cocktail pick.


Limonata Mocktail
Executive chef/owner Jonathan Eismann, Pacific Time, Miami Beach, Fla., www.pacifictime.biz

Yield: 1 drink

1 1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. guarapo (an all-natural sweetener)
Ice, as needed
Sparkling water, as needed
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Method (1) Add lemon juice and guarapo to cocktail shaker full of ice and shake thoroughly. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. (2) Top with a splash of sparkling water; add lemon wedge for garnish.


Citrus Cooler
Equal, www.equal.com

Yield: 16 drinks

5 lemons
5 limes
5 oranges
3 qt. water
Ice, as needed
1 1/2 c. Equal Bulk Pack
Fresh citrus slices, for ganish

Method (1) Squeeze the juice from the lemons, limes and oranges. Pour into a gallon container. (2) Stir water and Equal into juices; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Serve over ice. (3) Garnish each drink with a fruit slice, if desired.


Blueberry Smoothie
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, www.blueberry.org

Yield: 1 drink

1 c. (5 oz.) fresh or frozen blueberries, slightly thawed or
1/2 c. pineapple, orange and strawberry juice blend or pineapple-orange juice
1/2 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 t. sugar

Method (1) In the container of an electric blender, all ingredients; blend until smooth, about 1 minute. (2) Serve immediately in a tall glass garnished. If desired, with blueberry skewers spiraled with a thin strip of orange peel.


Apple Pie à la mode Shake
Rich Products, www.toppingtruth.com
Yield: 1 12-oz. drink

5 oz. french vanilla flavoring
2 oz. applesauce
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
Ice cubes, as needed
2 oz. Rich's On Top Sugar-Free whipped topping, plus more for garnish

Method (1) Blend all ingredients together, and serve with Rich's On Top as garnish.


Australian Soda
Danielle Tatarin, Designer Cocktail Co., www.designercocktail.com
Image courtesy of Wild Hibiscus Flower Co., www.wildhibiscus.com

Yield: 1 drink

1 hibiscus flower, from the new Wild Hibiscus Flowers In Syrup
Soda water, as needed
1/2 oz. hibiscus syrup, from the new Wild Hibiscus Flowers In Syrup

Method (1) Place hibiscus flower standing up at bottom of glass. Pour in chilled soda water. (2) Drizzle some syrup into the cocktail for a layered effect. Stir the cocktail as you drink to distribute the syrup.

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