The trouble with most non-alcoholic cocktails, is that often they are more likely to appeal to a child’s taste-buds than your own. Whenever I have been tempted to try a promisingly exotic concoction, I always end up with a half finished drink and a feeling of regret. They are nearly always too sweet, consisting of perfumed, syrupy juices, that are actually far more suited to a dessert rather than an aperitif.
Trends these days seem to be leaning more towards the non-alcoholic options. People are more health conscious, it seems an awful shame to undo all that good work at the gym, and waste the effort that goes into a healthy diet by notching up all those extra, empty calories.
But then there is a sense of loss about the grown-up ritual of the pre-dinner drink, the shared pleasure of an attractive aperitif that hits the mark, and not something that you’d normally offer to an eight year old.
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After a few experiments we hit on the perfect solution, and it’s not new either! – Angostura Bitters with freshly squeezed lime juice in sparkling water. This curiously named old fashioned cocktail ingredient, originally from South America, dates as far back to the 1830’s , but today it is made in Trinidad. It’s extracted from a herb called Gentian which is also notable for it’s pretty blue flowers. It has a whole host of health benefits but most importantly supports the liver and immune system, and is an excellent aid to the digestion. Although in it’s concentrated form it is an alcoholic extract, much the same as any ‘essence’, the amount and you use is so tiny, and the dilution is so great, that the resulting cocktail has a negligible alcoholic content.
So the next time you want to go alcohol free, here’s a real treat of an option that’s both enticing and elegant and refreshingly tangy.
To make 2 cocktails:
The juice of 1 fresh lime divided between two champagne flutes.
Add to the juice, 8 drops of Angostura Bitters in each glass.
A slice of lime and some pomegranate seeds.
Top up the glasses with a sparkling water of your choice.