I have a rocky relationship with alcohol. I really enjoy drinking: with friends, with colleges, with lovers and on my own. I’m always chasing ‘that time’ where I drank just enough to have a blast or enjoy a nice bottle of wine while still finishing off a short story or two…and although I do experience ‘that time’ frequently enough for my to justify having a drink, I can also find it difficult to say ‘no, thanks’ to the next drink, and the one after that, meaning that often (but not always) I’ll lose nights to drinking. I’ll lose concentration on the work I wanted to finish, I’ll fall asleep ten minutes into a movie I’ve been lining up for weeks or I’ll have no recollection of a night on the dance floor and the fun that was had.
I actually gave up drinking for a year back in 2012/2013 and it was amazing the difference it made to my mental and physical health – everything was less of a chore. However, for one reason or another I drink now, but I have started to make a conscious effort to kick the habit of drinking alone, with only my laptop for company!
It can be a really hard thing to do when you’re in the habit of grabbing a nice cold cider a the end of a hot day, pouring a lovely glass of red when you sit down to work in the evening or treating yourself to a cheeky Disaronno on the rocks when you tuck yourself into bed with a good book. The best way I mange to avoid alcohol is by substitution and so my go-to mocktails were born!
I wanted to make a few different drinks which were a little more exciting that just pop or juice but that didn’t take longer to make than it would to open a bottle of wine…
- Fresh Orange Juice
- Ginger Beer
- Tonic Water
- Thyme infused simple syrup
- Fresh limes
- Angostura Bitters (this is alcoholic, but I only add a few dashes)
The crucial step to any great cocktail (mock or not) is ICE, always ice! Whether you pour it over ice, add some crushed ice to finish or shake/mix it over ice and drain into a chilled glass, cocktails and mocktails are always best served cold. So for speed (with out sacrificing the chill) all my mocktails are poured over ice cubes and given a quick stir to finish.
One you’ve got the ice sussed you just add a few ingredients:
[Thyme simple syrup is really straight forward to make: dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water over heat, bring to the boil then pour into a jar over 10-15 sprigs of time and leave to cool in the fridge for 7 hrs/overnight, remove the thyme and use as and when you wish!]
These aren’t particularly healthy alternatives to alcohol – they do contain their fair share of sugar – but whereas after a glass of wine all I can think of is another glass of wine, these leave my mind open for other options, like water or a cup of tea. I figure one sugary treat followed by an evening of good decisions is better for me than a bottle of wine, a few chasers and a head full of excuses in the morning!
Any suggestions on what I should name them?…