Three delicious (almost) booze-free cocktails for Dry July

Say yes to healthy day drinking: Green-tea spider.
Say yes to healthy day drinking: Green-tea spider. Photo: Supplied

It's that time of year, when we tune into sober-curious drinking and explore the growing market of booze-free drinks.

Tapping into this trend, globe-trotting cocktail expert Shaun Byrne and Melbourne bartender Nick Tesar have compiled 90 low- and no-alcohol cocktail recipes for their book All Day Cocktails.

All Day Cocktails.
All Day Cocktails. Photo: Supplied

The publication celebrates seasonal produce such as citrus, berries, herbs and vegetables alongside ingredients such as bitters, caramels, cordials, honeys, syrups and vinegars, plus mix-and-match options to expand your cocktail repertoire.

So say yes to healthy day drinking, and enjoy.

Green-tea spider 

Apparently, us Australians called this drink a spider because, when the bubbles from the soda hit the ice-cream, a wonderful web-like reaction of froth appears in the glass.

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml iced green tea (below)
  • 30ml mint-stem cordial (below)
  • 50ml lemon soda
  • 1 scoop of vanilla ice-cream
  • mint sprig, to garnish (optional)

METHOD

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  1. Add the tea and cordial to a soda glass. Gently add the lemonade, then plop in the ice-cream. If you like, garnish with a mint sprig and serve with a long parfait spoon. Imbibe.

How to make: Iced green tea

There is a tea grower in north-eastern Victoria called Perfect South. I really like their shinsha, which is the first harvest of a Japanese-style green tea, so it's nutty and stone-fruity all at the same time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 35g tea
  • 1 litre water, chilled
  • 50g sugar

METHOD

  1. Brew for 12 hours in the fridge.

How to make: Mint-stem cordial 

As mentioned, prepping mint can be the bane of some bartenders' existence (not mine), not to mention that it can be quite wasteful. There is a lot of aroma in the stem, which is quite often discarded in favour of the leaves. This recipe uses mainly the wasted parts – the stems – to make a cordial.

Makes about 500ml 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of mint of your choice
  • 350g  castor sugar
  • 10g citric acid

METHOD

  1. Pick the mint leaves. Snip off and compost the black bottoms of the stems.
  2. Combine the sugar, 350ml water, the citric acid and mint stems in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Drop in half of the mint leaves for the last 30 seconds of cooking time, then immediately strain. Transfer to a sterilised glass bottle. Store for up to 1 month.
Naked batida.

Batida roughly translates to 'milkshake' in Portuguese. Photo: Supplied

Naked batida

This cocktail takes inspiration from a Brazilian cocktail called the batida, classically made with cachaça. Batida roughly translates to "milkshake" in Portuguese.

INGREDIENTS

  • 30ml raspberry cordial (below)
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 10ml vanilla syrup (below)
  • crushed ice, to serve
  • mint sprig, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

How to make: Raspberry cordial

You will need to start this recipe one day in advance. It's important to freeze your raspberries for this recipe, as this allows the fruit to break down better in the sugar.

INGREDIENTS

  • 700g raspberries, frozen 
  • 350g fructose (see note)
  • 7.5g tartaric acid

METHOD

  1. Put the raspberries in a bowl with 70g of the fructose and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Carefully strain the raspberries, reserving the liquid and making sure not to include any of the pulp. If you have the time, place the fruit in a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and suspend it over a bowl to strain gradually. Add the remaining fructose and acid to the strained liquid, then mix with a hand-held blender until the fructose has dissolved.
  3. Pour the cordial into a sterilised glass bottle and store for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Makes 500ml

Note: You can find fructose at your local baking supplies shop.

How to make: Vanilla syrup

Spicing a sugar syrup is a really easy way to get solid flavour in a liquid form. Castor sugar works best here, but you can experiment with different sugars, such as brown or fructose, for different effects.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
  • 400ml water 
  • 150g sugar 

METHOD

  1. Simmer for 1 hour
Boozeless old fashioned.

Swap your old fashioned for an (almost) booze-free version. Photo: Supplied

Boozeless old fashioned 

The story goes that the word "cocktail" was first described in print  in 1806. It said that a cocktail contained four ingredients: spirit, water, sugar and bitters. In this day and age, the spirit can be any spirit, the water is the ice, bitters are bitters and the sugar can come in various forms: agave, maple syrup, honey and sugarcane to name a few. This drink isn't an old fashioned because there is only a tiny amount of spirit in the bitters, but it best describes the drink. Brunswick Aces is a hydrosol. It is delightful, and there are more and more hydrosols popping up, so look for something local to try in this beverage.

INGREDIENTS

  • 60ml Brunswick Aces Hearts Blend or local hydrosol of your choice
  • 1 tsp rosemary honey (below)
  • dash of orange bitters (available in bottle shops, or see below)
  • ice cubes, to serve rosemary sprig, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass, then stir to combine. Add a small amount of ice and stir to dilute and chill said beverage.
  2. Garnish with rosemary.

How to make: Rosemary honey

The aim of this recipe is to create a liquid form of rosemary that can be used in drinks. The type of honey you use does make a  difference here. With rosemary being a strong flavour, an equally  strong-flavoured honey is your best bet. I am partial to a leatherwood honey, but any strong local honey will be just fine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g strong local honey
  • 7 rosemary springs
  • pinch of sea salt

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 100ml water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then strain and pour into a sterilised glass jar. Store for up to 6 months.

Makes 400g

Ingredients to MYO orange bitters.

A little goes a long way with bitters. Photo: Supplied

How to make: Orange bitters

Cocktail bitters are incredibly useful to have lying around, not only for mixed drinks, but also for food. You'll need to start this two-part recipe one month ahead of time.

Spiced orange soak

  • 200ml 95 per cent spirit (see note)
  • 100g bitter orange zest
  • 10g cacao nibs
  • 10g coriander seeds
  • 5g angelica root
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Bittered water

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 5g gentian root

METHOD

  1. For the spiced orange soak, combine all the ingredients in a sealable jar with 50ml water. Leave it somewhere visible so it doesn't slip your mind, and shake it once a day for a month. Strain through a coffee filter, paper towel or clean, disposable cloth and store in the fridge.
  2. Once the soak is ready, prepare the bittered water. Combine the gentian root and sugar in a saucepan with 500ml water and heat gently. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, then strain through a coffee filter, paper towel or clean, disposable cloth. Mix with the strained orange soak and pour into a sterilised glass bottle. Sealed, the soak will keep for at least 1 year in the fridge.

Makes 500ml

Note: You can buy 95 per cent spirit (also known as rectified spirit) from your friendly local distiller or online.

This is an edited extract from All Day Cocktails by Shaun Byrne and Nick Tesar published by Hardie Grant Books. RRP $34.99, available in stores nationally.