Zero-Proof Cucumber Mint Spritzer
Non-alcoholic / Serves: 4 / Cost per serving: $4
Prep in 20 minutes, chill for an hour
Cut the peeled cucumbers into 1-2 inch chunks to make them easier to blend. Using a blender (I only have an emersion blender, but it works just fine) puree the cucumber. Juice the lemons and remove the seeds.
Combine cucumber puree and lemon juice in a pitcher—three parts cucumber, one part lemon. Add agave syrup to taste. I like 1 tablespoon per serving. Store in the fridge to chill for an hour.
In serving glasses, add ice and a generous portion of fresh mint leaves. Pour in 1 cup cucumber-lemon puree and top with 1/2 cup of sparkling water. Garnish with more mint on top.
Non-alcoholic cocktails are thankfully on the rise
I’ve noticed a welcome uptick in mocktails at upscale bars and restaurants. I’ve also noticed that the term “mocktail” is being replaced with “zero-proof”. As a sober person myself, I can confirm that asking for a mocktail doesn’t have the same dignity of a martini, and menu creators agree. Plus, mocking is no longer an accurate representation of the complex concoctions being crafted. In fact, zero-proof cocktails are often more expensive to produce than alcoholic cocktails because they use higher quality, rarer ingredients. Just as much time and effort is going into the final product, because that's what it takes to put that much flavor into something without alcohol.
As a sober adult with a refined palette, it’s nice to have some space on the cocktail menu and it’s even nicer to not be subjected to drinks that are sickly sweet and exceedingly pink (though I did love me a Shirley Temple with extra cherries back in the day). I recently enjoyed the Cucumber Mint Refresco at Rosa Mexicano after a night of live music and dancing at Lincoln Center. The flavor was refreshing and complex, and it made my cells feel alive and hydrated! I decided to replicate it at home, and it’s surprisingly simple.
Juice the lemons
Juice the lemons into a separate container and remove the seeds. My citrus reamer takes a bit of muscle, but I prefer to keep kitchen gadgets, especially powered ones, to a bare minimum. I don’t have a lot of space after all.
You can pre-mix the cucumber, lemon, and agave but leave the sparkling water until the end. If you blend the carbonated water or let it sit too long, you’ll lose the bubbles and be left with an acidic taste.
Drink as much as you want. Feel amazing in the morning.
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