Quest week 3: homemade mocktails

Last seven days it would be the week of homemade mocktails. Perfect timing, because with that lovely terrace weather, the desire for a tropical surprise grew. Unfortunately, the craving for alcohol also grew. And since we're kind of non-anonymous non-alcoholics here after all, I confess: I have sinned…

Saturday afternoon, after a long walk with my favorite specialty draft beer, on a terrace in the sun; while I know that they also have super tasty homemade lemonade at that place. Suddenly I am completely ready to delve into the soft drink.

It amazes me how after seventy-eight days virtually non-alcoholic alcohol immediately becomes 'a thing' again if you don't stop to think about it. I thought that by now I had already found all my pitfalls and monsters on my way and had endured and defeated them: parties, intimate moments, dinners, drinks… I consciously prepared myself at those moments to choose a healthy alternative. But the situation 'nice and pink on a sunny terrace' had not yet crossed my path and I am not prepared for it.

I decide not to punish myself too much with self-blame. What I do notice is that in the following days it is very difficult to resist in situations where I normally no longer speak for a drink. I have to very consciously push the reset button again and reactivate my self-invented mantras about how much benefit I get from a life without alcohol.

For the rest of the week I will concentrate on festive non-alcoholic drinks and there is so much to enjoy!

Because my fridge is still full of ginger drinks, I use them as the basis for my favorite: virgin mojito or a fresh sweet mint drink. In a sturdy glass I pound a bunch of fresh mint, a lime in wedges, and a splash of sugar water. I add a handful of crushed ice, a splash of ginger lemonade and sparkling water. Add a straw, sit in the sun, close your eyes, and enjoy. The great thing about this recipe is that you don't need separate kitchen equipment for it.

You do have that for this one: a maria pina colada, also known as pineapple coconut drink. I blend 200 grams of pineapple together with 200 milliliters of coconut milk and a dash of ginger syrup. For the garnish I roast a few tablespoons of coconut chips and then I bake about 200 grams of pineapple pieces (fresh or canned) together with a dash of ginger syrup. I dip the pineapple pieces in the coconut chips, put some crushed ice in a glass, pour in the blend and stick the garnish on a skewer in the glass. It doesn't get much more tropical.

And then finally a mocktail for the coming week, when it gets cold. Are you a whiskey fan and especially love those smoky Islay whiskies? Then the following tea should not be missing in your tea box during Lent: lapsang souchong. This Chinese tea contains wood-smoked tea leaves that give the tea a peaty aroma and taste that is not inferior to a long-aged Islay whisky. This tea is the basis for the Smoky Mocktail. Make a cup of approximately 100 milliliters of lapsang souchong tea, add a spoonful of honey and a stick of cinnamon and a star anise and let it cool. Juice half an orange and cut the other half into pieces and place in a glass. Add the cooled tea, a sprig of rosemary for garnish and some ice, if desired. With a glass like this in hand it is wonderful to gaze at the ice stars on the window, contemplating sins and waiting for a warm spring.

Margreet (51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the middle of the country. She is now an experienced IkPasser, and during 40 days she is not looking for alcohol-free alternatives that make her happy. Despite this week's shock, she picks up that quest again for the rest of the time...


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