Whether you’re the designated driver (always an honorable role), taking a break from drinking for a particular reason or no reason at all, or just don’t feel like cocktail-ing it up, it’s never bad to have a few un-alcoholic hits available. The following recipes don’t sacrifice any spirited flavor, even if they are lacking spirits.
Virgin Piña Colada
I’m not usually a fan of blended drinks (not that I haven’t tasted my fair share). But there’s something about a good Piña Colada, and even a good non-alcoholic Piña that I just can’t resist. This recipe’s from Good Spirits: Add 1 cup crushed ice, 6 ounces pineapple juice, 1-1/2 ounces cream of coconut such as Coco Lopez, and 1 ounce heavy cream to a large blender. Blend well. Pour the mix into a 12-ounce poco grande glass. If you don’t have poco grande glass – a 12- to 13-ounce stemmed glass with a wave-and-half bowl – then serve in a large goblet. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry.
Based on a rum cocktail called the Caribbean Bloom, this exotic and tangy favorite features dried Hibiscus flowers. If you’re having trouble tracking them down, then try Dandelion Botanical in Ballard. The recipe’s from Dark Spirits: Add 1/2 teaspoon dried Hibiscus flower, 2 lime wedges, and 1 teaspoon sugar to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or sturdy wooden spoon, muddle well. Fill the cocktail shaker half way with cracked ice. Add 2 ounces pineapple juice. Shake very well, for at least 15 seconds. Strain through a fine strainer into a cordial glass.
Bring a little tropical sunshine to a cloudy Seattle day with this sandy special. The oodles of freshly squeezed juice in here make it a healthy favorite as well. The recipe’s from Good Spirits: Fill a highball glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, and three ounces fresh orange juice. Stir. Fill almost to the top with Sprite or 7-Up. Stir a few more times. Add 1/2 ounce cream, drizzling it on top. Garnish with an orange slice.
Honey Bee (Sans Stinger)
Originally, this after-dinner treat featured dark rum and Benedictine. While the non-boozy variety can’t completely match the latter’s herbal mysticism, it does up the sweetness into a treat for dessert fans. This recipe’s also from Dark Spirits: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce heavy cream and 1 ounce fresh lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Slowly, drizzle 2 ounces slightly-warmed honey over the drink. There will be a little buildup at the bottom of the drink at the end, but it’ll sure taste good.
Berry Mint Smash
Often it may seem, in our burgeoning out-and-about cocktail scene, that you’d never be able to find a crafty cocktail without spirits or liqueurs or wine here in Seattle. But this isn’t the case – many of the top lounges and bars have intriguing non-alcoholic drinks hidden back in their menus. For a great example, try the Berry Mint Smash at Belltown’s cozy and coy Clever Bottle. It mingles berry jam, fresh mint, and soda to delicious ends.
Photo copyright 2009 Melissa Punch and Harvard Common Press.