A century before January was ordained the month of temperance, mocktails were already part of the bartender's repertoire. Merriam-Webster traces the first use of the word "mocktail" to 1916, just before the start of Prohibition. The Bar-Tenders Guide from 1862 includes a section titled, "Temperance Drinks," with recipes for Orgeat Lemonade, Ginger Wine, and other non-alcoholic adult beverages.
Still, too many mocktail recipes merely mix fruit juice with something sparkling for a saccharine-sweet drink that belongs at the "kids' table". Along with cutting down on the sweetness, our favorite way to make mocktails more sophisticated is to include aromatic botanicals.
Two crisp, aromatic mocktails we're enjoying this winter are Blood Orange & Thyme Fizz and Winter Rose. Following are recipes for each:
BLOOD ORANGE & THYME FIZZ
Juice of a Large or Medium-Sized Blood Orange (Grapefruit also works well.)
1 Egg White
2 oz Seltzer (or Tonic)
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds. Add ice cubes and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange slice and/or sprig of thyme.
5 oz Hibiscus Tea (Room temperature or chilled)
2 oz Cranberry Juice (or to taste)
1 dropper full of Bluestem Botanicals Rose Geranium Extract
Combine all ingredients with ice, stir, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with rosehip, juniper, and rose petals or a fresh cranberry and rosemary sprig.