Shane Carley is the author of The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion, out now from Cider Mill Press a distributing partner of sister company Simon & Schuster and available wherever books are sold.
Slimming down for summer can be a real challenge, especially since the most delicious summer beverages also tend to be the most calorie-packed. This beach season, lose the booze and make yourself some delicious and healthy mocktails instead! If you’re looking for some fun and tasty drinks to enjoy by the pool (or serve at your next backyard BBQ), The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion contains dozens of cocktails featuring all the great flavors of your summer favorites, with just a fraction of the empty calories and sugar.
Peach And Vanilla Infusion
Virgin cocktails are one thing, but why not take things to their logical conclusion? Flavor-infused water is the ultimate healthy mocktail. Store-bought flavored-water tends to taste processed, but it’s easier than you think to make your own with fresh ingredients! Try this sweet and flavorful peach and vanilla infusion to get you started. Serve a pitcher of this at your next gathering and your friends will all be asking how you did it.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 1⁄2 gallon water
- 1 peach (sliced)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 orange slice (per serving, garnish)
- Pour about half a gallon of water into a pitcher. Slice a peach into segments and add to the pitcher. Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Place the pitcher in the fridge and allow to sit for at least an hour.
- Serve in Mason jars, garnished with orange slices. Enjoy!
Plenty of other fruits work, too: strawberry, blueberry and orange are obvious suggestions. Feel free to add more or less vanilla as well, or even swap it out for a flavor you feel might work even better.
This water infusion is the perfect crowd pleaser. All too often, the designated driver falls by the wayside. If you have multiple guests who can’t partake of the evening’s libations, give them something they can enjoy more than just regular water. As it stands, this infusion is a fairly large batch, but whipping up more is as simple as multiplying the recipe.
The Nojito (little more than a Virgin Mojito) is extremely simple to make. Eliminating the rum upon which the original Mojito is based, the Nojito swaps out the club soda for more flavorful ginger ale, giving the drink the kick that it needs. A Nojito should look almost identical to a Mojito. It won’t quite taste the same, but it’s a surprisingly tasty way to trick your palate when you’re feeling a bit boozed out.
Makes 1 serving
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1⁄2 lime (juiced)
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 8 oz ginger ale
- 3 to 6 mint sprigs (garnish)
- 1 lime wheel (garnish)
- Add the sugar and lime juice to the bottom of your Mason jar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Muddle the mint leaves into this mixture.
- Pour in your cup of ice, then add the ginger ale. Garnish with mint sprigs and a lime wheel and enjoy.
Not all variations call for ginger ale. In fact, some stick to the standard club soda, with the only real difference between the Mojito and the Nojito being the elimination of the rum. This lacks flavor though—you’re essentially drinking water with lime.