Summer is almost here, which means… COCKTAIL TIME!
Well, I guess it can be cocktail time all year ’round. But listen, an excuse to drink cocktails is an excuse to drink cocktails, amirite?
Speaking of excuses, this time of year for students is an interesting one. In the late spring and early summer, colleges have just let out, and our first few days (erm.. weeks) of freedom post-finals are usually spent… How shall I say this…. Indulging? I definitely have had my share of celebratory meals and drinks over the last couple of weeks, and at some point the celebrating begins to catch up with you.
For me, that point is right now, and I’m feeling the need to scale back a bit, especially in preparation for our next big trip. Tomorrow morning my orchestra at Juilliard will be flying out for our final tour of the year – in NEW ZEALAND! (I feel like every time I write a blog post, which is sadly rare nowadays, I’m going somewhere else cool on tour. The fact that I get to say that is so awesome, and maybe some day I’ll finally post pictures and anecdotes from my other two amazing trips this year.) While we’re there, I know I’m going to want to experience all the foods and drinks that they have to offer down under (I’ll be going to Australia after, too!) and so I have definitely been cutting back on the margaritas!
When the Recipe Redux revealed that this month’s theme was “Cocktails and Mocktails for May Celebrations,” I realllly wanted to make my own margarita recipe. Over Passover, I actually discovered that Manischewitz wine makes a -killer- grape margarita. Who knew? Fellow Jews of the world, rejoice. But no, we are cutting back on the margs, and so I went down the “mocktail” route instead.
The early summer is also my favorite because all of the seasonal flavors it brings. My dinky windowsill herb garden is going to be bursting with spearmint soon, and I just can’t get enough of fresh ginger, so I thought I would put them together into a drink I could feel good about.
Those who are sugar conscious can use as much or as little of the ginger simply syrup as they like in this recipe. With sparkling water as a base, the ginger is going to be more of a subtle flavor unless you are a bit heavy handed with the syrup, or choose to muddle some of the discarded ginger along with your mint *see recipe directions.* You could always add a splash of your favorite liquor for a kick, but hey… If it looks colorful and sparkly in your hand, nobody at your cocktail party will ever know it’s “mock!” 😉
- 1 generous sprig mint (4-5 large leaves)
- 3-4 tsps. ginger simple syrup
- 8 oz. plain sparkling water
- Ginger Syrup
- 1 10-inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Simple Syrup
- Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan.
- Add ginger and reduce to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes to steep.
- Reserve ginger after steeping if desired for muddling or garnishing.
- Muddle mint (and a slice or two of some discarded ginger, if desired) in the bottom of a glass.
- Add a handful of ice.
- Add syrup.
- Top with sparkling water and stir, adding more syrup to taste if desired.
- Garnish with mint leaves and ginger slices.