Updated February 2016: for those already off the booze and are having a month off sugar – drinks with this symbol * contain no added sugar.
Whether you’re signed up for FebFast or OcSober, are pregnant or just want to take a break from the booze, you don’t need to feel like your missing out or rely entirely of sugary drinks. I’ve bought together the best of my booze-free resources into one neat package so you never need to thirst again.
• * Stir 1-2 teaspoons of pomegranate molasses into a long glass of chilled soda water for a tangy, refreshing drop.
• * Fresh young coconut juice or coconut water. Very cooling on a hot day.
• * A dash of bitters in a glass of soda (skip the lime cordial) makes a great aromatic aperitif and an interesting pub drink. (Angostura bitters are technically a “cheat” as it contains 40% alcohol. However you need only 5 drops of bitters in the soda, making the actual alcohol content negligible – similar or less than non-alcoholic ginger beer).
• Chilled elderflower cordial and sparkling mineral water.
• A beautiful homemade pear and cinnamon cordial. Add 1 –2 tablespoons of syrup to a glass of soda or mineral water.
• Homemade lemonade with rosewater.
• * An iced tea with a difference. For a jug or glass of iced chamomile tea take 2 parts chilled chamomile tea (brew a pot using 1 teaspoon of herb for each cup of boiling water) to 1 part apple juice. Cool, add ice and garnish with sprig of mint.
• * Fruit smoothies are simple using a stick blender or an old fashioned jug type blender. Use your favourite type of milk (I prefer rice or almond milk) add 1/2-1 banana as a thickener and your favourite type of fruit (mango, peaches, berries etc). A dash of pomegranate molasses gives a little extra sweetness with an acidic edge. Or use my super smoothie recipe with a few extra goodies. (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
• *Water. Don’t forget to drink lots of H2O. Bubbles, a slice of fruit of herbs like mint can lift the flavour if you’re getting sick of it.
• *Brew a pot of peppermint tea from the garden (or organic dried peppermint leaf). This makes calming post-work drink.
• *Dried hibiscus flowers and root ginger tea. For a pot use 4 heaped teaspoons of hibiscus and 3 slices of root ginger. Cover with hot water and let steep for 10 minutes. It has a lovely ruby colour and a tangy flavour.
• For a special bedtime brew to ensure a good night’s sleep gently simmer 1 heaped teaspoon of chamomile flowers in 1 cup of your preferred milk (cow, soy, rice etc) for 5 minutes. Then strain and add a little honey. Sip before bed.
• Mexican hot chocolate If the weather too hot for this, make a batch and refrigerate for an iced chocolate with an edge.
How much do you usually spend a month on alcohol? I bet you could buy a juicer, with change to spare, from what you’re saving this month!
• *You can’t go past a classic – apple, carrot and celery juice for a clear head and inner glow. (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
• *Fresh tomato. Just put your freshest, ripest tomatoes through the juicer for a tomato juice like you’ve never had before. Also perfect in a Virgin Mary (recipe below).
• *Pear Zinger: 2-3 pears, 1/2 a lemon (skin and pith removed) and a thumb-sized knob of ginger. (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
• *Fresh watermelon and strawberry, pour over ice to make a delicious, cooling juice. Watermelon, mint and a dash of rosewater makes a stunning Middle Eastern inspired variation. (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
• *While carrot and/or apple make a great starting point for a juice, here are some other additions you might like to try: fennel tops for an aniseed/licorice flavour that goes well with beetroot or red carrots, sorrel a lemony leafy green or cucumber for a mild flavoured vegetable with a cooling edge.
Take 3/4 of a glass of tomato juice, the juice of half a lemon, a shake of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Stir together and add salt and pepper as desired. Taste again and season further if necessary, some like it tangy, others like it mild. Pour into a long glass over ice and garnish with a celery stick.
Fruit cup (*no added sugar but is loaded with naturally occurring fructose)
There are no hard and fast rules for making a fruit cup – after all it’s basically fruit and juice, so have fun making your own combo. If looking for inspiration, use this as a starting point.
Half fill a tall glass with strawberries, pineapple and oranges, cut into small chunks. Top with chilled fruit juice. Try some freshly juiced watermelon for a cooling summer drink or orange juice with a dash of lemon.
Mix together the juice of 1-2 limes (lemons will do at a pinch), 1 tablespoon sugar syrup, a handful of fresh mint (finely ripped or shredded) and ice. Shake together. Top with soda water. Stir. Sip slowly.
Virgin Pina Colada (*no added sugar but is loaded with naturally occurring fructose)
Combine 3 parts pineapple juice with 1 part coconut cream. Shake or blend with ice.
Something a little different
Make your own popsicles
Most recipes for home made ice contain sugar syrup. These use only fruit or vegetable juice.
• *Mango and lime ice blocks (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
• *Watermelon and rose water iceblocks (No added sugar but contains naturally occurring fructose)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of delightful tipples. You can explore more simple and delicious recipes on my website. Happy FebFast!
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