I think it’s essential to make an effort with your non-alcoholic drinks. I like to mix up the glasses I serve my drinks, depending on the occasion, but I always add ice and, at the very least, some herbs from the garden. If I have friends coming round or I am making a nice meal, I use fruit or edible flowers. Let’s look at ideas to make your drinks look and, more importantly, feel special.
There are so many different edible flowers you can use in your drinks which add amazing colours and flavours of their own. Some of my favorites are Sweet Violets, Geraniums, Rose, Primrose, Rosemary, and Borage. You can use the whole flowers or just the leaves and they all have a delicate flavour. Add them straight into your drinks or pop them into an ice cube tray with water to make pretty ice-cubes.
You can buy edible flowers from many good suppliers and I tend to buy a flower wheel which gives you different options and works really well if you are, for example, having a party.
Here are some suppliers I have bought from in the past:
Edible Flower Selection Wheel
Edible Flowers Westlands Wheel
I have also bought from Jan, who used to run Maddox Organic Farm, but now is setting up a new smaller business called The Edible Flower Garden. You will be able to buy some flowers from her later this year (2023) and you can also learn how to grow your own as she will be teaching courses.
If you want to grow your own from seed, now is a great time to sow these (May) and you can find a good selection at Sarah Raven
I use a wide range of herbs in my non-alcoholic aperitif. My favourites are Rosemary, Thyme, Mint & Oregano as these feature in my recipes, they have the most amazing heady aromas and add another sensory dimension. I have an old bath-tub in my garden which I have planted with all of these and I have some more unusual options in there too – I absolutely adore the Ginger Rosemary which literally has the most incredible ginger aroma. There is an incredible herb farm, Jekka’s in South Gloucestershire. You can buy herbs online but it’s well worth visiting on one of their open days if you can, it’s a sight to behold and a herb heaven if you are a fan like me!
I often use grapefruit for my fruit garnish. I love the sourness of grapefruit and in the glass it soaks up the flavours of the drink. So with Spiced Rhubarb Non-Alcoholic Aperitif, for example, you get an amazing rhubarby grapefruit flavour when you bite into the slice. Lovely! A slice of grapefruit also works well in Orange Cinchona and the limited edition of course; Grapefruit Piquante
In the summer, I love to add strawberry and cucumber to Herb Verde along with mint leaves.
If I mix my aperitif into a shorter non-alcoholic cocktail (25ml Orange Cinchona to 50ml water) I will shake it with ice in a cocktail shaker to dilute it a bit more and make the cocktail super cold. Then I am very partial to a Starlino Cherry for the garnish. These are expensive but absolutely worth trying! I have popped a link in if you fancy treating yourself.
Whatever you add to pimp up your non-alcoholic drinks, remember that the extra effort you put in will make the drinking more special. I would love you to tag me on your creations #pimpnonalc.