Homegrown Summer Mocktails
My favorite part of summer is relaxing with friends and family on a hot summer evening. When I read about how to create a cocktail garden in a home magazine, I wanted to add a non-alcoholic "twist" for those folks who don't drink.
Follow these tips and suggestions for creating a container garden brimming with yummy, fragrant mocktail ingredients.
What Are the Benefits of Planting a Mocktail Garden?
Container gardens are perfect for people who live in small spaces. Creating a mocktail garden on your patio or in a small area of your yard is a great way to bring the fresh flavors of summer right to your table. You could even plant this garden in a space as small as a kitchen window box! And the best part is that you don't have to be a master gardener or gourmet chef to concoct delicious drinks for your friends and family.
Here are some more great reasons to plant a mocktail garden this summer:
- Experience the joy of eating and sharing your harvest! Being able to pick fresh, healthy produce from your garden is an undeniably pleasant way to provide your friends and family with vitamin-packed foods and nutrients. For people who don't have a large garden space of their own, the yield from a planter garden might not be big enough to make a buffet-sized salad, pie or side dish for guests. But a mocktail garden can provide just enough fresh ingredients for you to serve your guests fresh, healthy, refreshing drinks at your next get together. Imagine your guests' delight when you hand them a tasty drink and say, "I 'picked' this drink just for you, fresh from my garden this morning! Enjoy!"
- No cooking experience required! Not everyone was born to be a gourmet chef, nor does everyone have the spacious kitchen, the fully stocked pantry and racks of fancy pots, pans and cooking gadgets. Mocktail recipes are quick and easy to prepare and by using fresh, simple ingredients grown right in your own garden you can treat your friends and family to creative and tasty beverages that add an elegant touch to your dinner table.
- Great for guests who don't drink. The endless flavor combinations means that no matter what is on the menu, a classy, tasty, and vibrant mocktail can be served with the meal. A hand-blended, freshly made chilled drink adds a bit of flair that just can't compare to plain juices and sweet colas. If you are having an alcoholic event, making a custom drink just for the designated driver is a great way to say "thanks" for stepping up and volunteering to get everyone home safely.
Savory and Spicy Drinks
- Vegetables: Veggies such as green beans, green onions, celery, hot peppers, and cherry tomatoes can be blended together or used as a garnish for savory chilled drinks. Adding sliced cucumbers to ice water is a wonderful way to dress up table water. Cucumbers can be grown on a trellis or on a framework of bamboo and netting.
- Herbs: Herbs add spicy texture to mocktails, and they're super easy to grow in small spaces. Try cilantro, parsley, peppermint, lavender, thyme, chives, rosemary, and lemon balm.
Fruits, Berries, and Edible Flowers
Dress up your mocktails with these colorful ingredients:
- Fruits and berries: There are quite few fruits and berries you can grow in small spaces, including strawberries, lemons, limes, blueberries, gooseberries, and currants. Strawberries grown in terracotta planters are incredibly easy to grow if you have a sun-drenched deck or terrace. Just make sure you follow the watering instructions on the label so that the plant doesn't dry out.
- Edible flowers: These add color and fragrance to mocktails. Many health and naturopathic food stores can provide you with information about which flowers are edible and which ones are toxic.
Lemons and Limes
Pucker up! Lemons and limes add a refreshing zing to chilled patio drinks!
Did you know that you don't to live in a hot climate in order to grow your own lemons and limes? As long as you have a sunny yard that gets plenty of warm sunshine in the summer, you can cultivate small citrus fruits such as Meyer lemons and key limes. Your local nursery or florist can provide tips for how to care for citrus shrubs in the off season.
- 4 Easy Ways to Make a Virgin Mojito - wikiHow
How to Make a Virgin Mojito. Treat yourself to the complex and refreshing blend of mint, citrus, and sugar with this drink that's guaranteed to cut through the summer heat. Even without the rum, this Cuban classic is full of flavor.
© 2013 Sadie Holloway
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 05, 2013:
What fun!! As I read this I kept thinking "I want one!!!" This is such a clever idea. I guess I had better get started very soon.
Angels are on the way ps