I was just debating the other day whether a chilled lemonade, with loads of ice and a slice of squeezed green lime floating in a tall glass, the rim of the which is laced with salt and sugar crystals, can be called a mocktail.
I think it can. However, someone I know, begs to differ; they could not visualise why a regular 'lebur shorbot' that mum made all the time, pretending to be a lemon mocktail just because the wifey dressed it in fancy-schmancy manner.
“And why not?” I ask again. I am a believer because our very own 'bel er shorbot' can be made into a smoothie by simply adding vanilla ice cream and serving in a mason jar; or our sweet or salty yoghurt lassi served in terracotta glasses can elevate it from the humble drink that it is, simply with some careful food styling.
Any drink without alcohol is a mocktail — an ordinary orange juice, pumped up with a bit of tonic water, or ginger ale tastes divine; watermelon juice with mint and sparkling water is out of the world; frozen blackberry or green mango granita with any fizzy drink; soda or bitter lemon garnished with some fresh fruit is just the perfect drink to cool off on a warm day; a yoghurt and tomato based savoury drink with a little bit of tang from the yoghurt is a perfect mocktail for a ladies' lunch. And you get the idea!
A cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink, and 'mock' means to copy or mimic something, so mocktails are a great alternative for people who do not want to consume alcohol, but do want to socialise and enjoy a great time with friends, because water is too boring, fizzy drinks are too passé, and virgin cocktails are unbelievably expensive!
Let's just flip through a few cool mocktail recipes this week, along with the advisory on the perfect sort of glasses to use, or even the right garnishes. Enjoy these personally compiled recipes.
WOOD APPLE MOCKTAIL
Take out the pulp in the traditional manner by cracking the hard shell and carefully removing the gluey seeds, working your way up the seed trail. Sieve the pulp and you can simply water-down the consistency. Do not add extra sugar to enhance the sweetness of the fruit, serve it in a long glass with few ice cubes.
However, if you are anything like my father, then add thickened milk and serve it in a round glass and garnish it with the cream or 'shhor' of the milk, and yes, place a shard of caramelised sugar on the side in case you need it to be sweet.
THE MILK, ROOH AFZA, AND VANILLA SHENANIGANS
This is what my grandmother served her sons-in-law every time they visited her. This mocktail or smoothie is a dessert of supreme quality that has been lost to time and we just make poor knock offs of her original recipe.
The boiled milk has to be made into a frothy consistence by using traditional wooden swizzle stick or 'daal gutni' by mercilessly swizzling it in hand, until the perfect frothiness is attained. In a separate bowl, mix a bit of Rooh Afza and saffron bits to the milk and stir it — it must have a light rosy colour; add that to the froth and crushed ice cubes, almond and pistachio splits, and serve it in a silver glass with rose petals as garnish.
To make it all simple, add powder milk, vanilla essence, and strawberry ice-cream, and blend. Voila!
FRESH LIME SODA
Lime and soda have been favoured mocktails for years. The fresh twist on the recipe here will be fresh (slightly bashed) mint leaves.
POSH TONIC WATER
They taste refreshing if you add a dash of pomegranate, molasses, or iced rose tea; you can even add cucumber or crunchy fruits, if you really want to add more fun to your margarita glass.
LEMONADE WITH A SALT AND SUGAR RIM
Well, half of South East Asians drink lemonade with salt, but the other half take it with at least three spoons of sugary syrup. But add a salt and sugar rim and a wedge of lime to lemonade, and take it up a notch.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed