I never knew fresh apricots were extinct. I wanted to make the apricot appetiser mocktail from The Virgin Cocktail Garden as it looked simple, with just a few ingredients easily found in the shops. Or so I thought. Could I find fresh apricots? Could I bollocks. I looked online at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons but I could only find dried and I’d been sure fresh apricots were as easy to find as apples. Google suggested I use peaches or nectarines in place of apricots and so, because I dislike the fuzziness of peaches, I bought nectarines instead. (I have since investigated and found out apricots are in season in the UK from May to September so I’m going to look for them then, even if I don’t want any. It’s become a matter of principle.)
The Virgin Cocktail Garden by David Hurst
The Virgin Cocktail Garden is, as you probably guessed, a book containing non-alcoholic cocktails, or ‘mocktails’ as they’re also known. The book contains 80 recipes featuring fresh, natural ingredients; mixing fruit, spices and herbs to make drinks that can be drunk anytime. Although I’ve just said it uses fresh ingredients, David concedes a lot of people won’t be arsed (my words, not his) to make their own fresh juices, cordials and syrups and so it’s not to be mistaken for a juicing book, as store bought is fine. Along with the recipes are guidelines and notes on essential (and less essential) ingredients, mixology terms, tools and help with getting the most out of fruit purees, juices, cordials, syrups and garnishes.
If you’re thinking, ‘Why the flipping flop would I want a cocktail without alcohol?’ then, don’t panic, there are notes on suggested alcohol if you want a more traditional cocktail (e.g. add prosecco instead of sparkling water in the citrus Bellini, and bourbon or whisky in the blueberry muffin).
As well as fruity mocktails, there are drinks containing lettuce (yes, really, although I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it), spinach, chocolate, coffee, cream, and other non-fruity ingredients all wrapped up in the following chapters:
- Herbs (including elderflower, basil, mint and thyme)
- Spices (including cardamom, ginger and vanilla)
- Citrus (including orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit)
- Tropical (including pineapple, lychee, coconut, kiwi, avocado and mango)
- Berries (including cranberry, strawberry, raspberry and blueberries)
- Beans (including cocoa and coffee)
- Pitchers (serving more than one person)
Nectarine and Strawberry Mocktail Recipe
I made the apricot appetizer mocktail from the ‘berries’ chapter which, as I’ve already mentioned, because of an absence of apricots, turned into the nectarine appetiser which, thanks to my Froothie Optimum G2.1 blender, was blitzed and blended into a smooth, refreshing fruity drink. As well as using nectarines instead of apricots, I also used soda water instead of sparkling water. I don’t have a good reason for this except I usually buy soda water, not sparkling water, but I couldn’t tell you why. (While writing this post, I stopped for lunch, then went to the little Tesco and saw sparkling water is cheaper than soda water so I’m going to buy sparkling water next time I want some water that isn’t tap, especially since I looked up the difference between soda water and sparkling water and found out soda water is artificially carbonated and has stuff added to it but sparkling water is made fizzy naturally). I’ve also just realised the recipe calls for freshly squeezed orange juice but I used juice from a carton because a) I no longer own a juicer; and b) I can’t be arsed peeling oranges.
Nectarine and Strawberry Mocktail
- 1 nectarine
- 100 g fresh strawberries
- 100 ml orange juice
- 1 handful ice cubes
- soda water
- Remove the stone from the nectarine and chop the flesh
- Hull and slice the strawberries
- Blend all the ingredients except the soda water for 1 minute or until smooth
- Pour into a glass and top up with soda water
Win a copy of The Virgin Cocktail Garden by David Hurst
With thanks to Modern Books, I have a copy of The Virgin Cocktail Garden to give away. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below – good luck!