Sober so good: brilliant booze-free drinks

Iced lemon tea is the perfect, refreshing pick-me-up.
Iced lemon tea is the perfect, refreshing pick-me-up. Photo: Eddie Jim

Southern-style sweetened tea

North Carolina native Casey Wall calls iced tea the nectar of Southern gods. The chef and co-owner of Melbourne's Rockwell & Sons says back home, sweetened iced tea is enjoyed with breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. It's usually served in mason jars (screwtop jars) with lemon slices or wedges and loads of nugget ice - light, airy ice with a soft, chewable texture. It might be quite sweet to the Australian palate, but in North Carolina they would probably describe this version as unsweetened tea, so adjust the sugar to taste.

1 litre boiling water

3 litres cold water

300g caster sugar

Limonada (Lebanese lemondade) from Sefa Kitchen.
Limonada (Lebanese lemondade) from Sefa Kitchen. Photo: Edwina Pickles

12 Lipton Yellow Label teabags

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Put the teabags in a 4.5 litre jug, sprinkle in the baking soda, and pour on the boiling water. Set aside for 12 minutes.

The ginger beer from Spice Temple at the Crown casino.
The ginger beer from Spice Temple at the Crown casino. Photo: Eddie Jim

After steeping, remove teabags and discard. Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved, about one minute.

Add the cold water and place into the refrigerator until chilled.

Serve over ice with a lemon wedge.

Rockwell & Sons, 288 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne 03 8415 0700.

 

Limonada (Lebanese lemonade)

When Simon Zalloua visits his mother's family in Lebanon, his aunt always greets him with a jug of limonada, spiced nuts and crudites (raw vegetables). The head chef at Bondi's Sefa Kitchen says limonada is a refreshing summer drink, often served at lunch rather than dinner. Some add rosewater to their limonada but Zalloua prefers orange blossom water, which lends the drink a distinctive Middle Eastern fragrance.

1 whole lemon, washed

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup lemon juice

2 sprigs of mint

750 ml chilled water

2 tablespoons orange blossom water, or to taste

ice

Cut the whole lemon into roughly six pieces and place in a jug with the sugar and a sprig of mint. Muddle the mixture, pressing the lemon to release some of the essential oils in the skin, until the sugar begins to dissolve.

Add the lemon juice, water and orange blossom and give it a really good stir.

Fill each glass with a handful of ice and pour in the limonada.

Garnish with the remaining mint and serve immediately.

Sefa Kitchen, 292 Bondi Road, Bondi, Sydney, 02 8068 6461.

 

Spice Temple spicy ginger beer

Spice Temple's Melbourne bar manager Imogen Clements says spicy ginger beer is an unbudgeable favourite all year round. In Sydney and Melbourne, it's served both in a mocktail with lime juice and mint, and with Dutch vodka and citrus in a Monkey cocktail. For a super spicy version, whizz the ginger with a bit of water in a food processor before cooking. For a milder version, simply chop it. The ginger beer is best the day after making it but will last up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. Before serving, Spice Temple charges the ginger beer with carbon dioxide in a soda syphon to make sparkling ginger beer but it's also good without bubbles.

100g young ginger, finely chopped

1 litre water

15ml lime juice

zest of ½ an orange

125ml honey

100g caster sugar

To serve

160 ml fresh lime juice

80 ml sugar syrup*

ice

fresh mint sprigs and 8 kaffir lime leaves

Simmer ginger with water for about 20 minutes then remove from heat. Add lime juice, orange zest, honey and sugar.

Cool then strain the liquid through muslin cloth and store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.

To serve, divide chilled ginger beer among eight glasses (Spice Temple uses 360 ml glasses), add 20 ml lime juice and 10ml sugar syrup to each glass and stir. Top glasses with ice and garnish each with a mint sprig and a kaffir lime leaf.

*To make sugar syrup, bring to a boil two parts sugar in one part water. Dissolve sugar completely then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Spice Temple Melbourne, Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, Melbourne, 03 8679 1888. Spice Temple Sydney, 10 Bligh Street, Sydney, 02 8078 1888.

What are your favourite alcohol-free drinks? Share your recipes or suggestions in the comments below.

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