The Back Story of Alcohol-Free Drinks
• About Alcohol-Free Piña Coladas
• About Alcohol-Free Margaritas
• About Alcohol-Free Daiquiris
• About Alcohol-Free Sangrias
The Back Story of Smoothies
• How to Create Smoothie Classics
The Back Story of Juices
• Types of Juices
• Creative Uses for Juice
The Back Story of Apple Cider
• How Apple Cider is Made
The Back Story of Sodas
• Creative Drinks for Kids
• About Lemonade
• About Smoothies
• About Frozen Drinks
• About Soda
• About Hot Cocoa and Chocolate Milk
• About Garnishing
Alcohol-Free Drinks Recipe Sampling
Who said a great cocktail had to contain alcohol? There are growing legions of people who are looking to entertain and be entertained without it. For many, it's a matter of enjoying the taste of a cocktail without any of the potential side effects.
Creating alcohol-free cocktails involves as much art and skill as does mixing with spirited ingredients. There are scores of interesting and high quality products that can be used in their creation. More importantly, alcohol-free cocktails are every bit as delicious and worthy of public acclaim as any that are spiked with spirits.
So is it possible to create hangover-free versions of some of America's favorite cocktails? Absolutely, provided one selects the right drinks to feature. Classics such as the Martini, Old Fashioned, or Manhattan are liquor driven recipes, therefore dropping them out of consideration. Other concoctions that essentially disqualify themselves are the Whiskey Sour, Mint Julep, Kamikaze and Cosmopolitan. The spirit bases in these recipes are integral to achieving the desired flavor profile. Simple highball combinations, such as the screwdriver or gin & tonic, exist only in the spirit world and are best left alone.
Nearly every other classic recipe can be recreated in an alcohol-free version. This section is loaded with creative variations on traditional themes, such as alcohol-free-sangrias, daiquiris, piña coladas and margaritas. The only thing to watch out for with these hangover-free drinks are the calories, as if that's really a concern.
The enduring popularity of these recipes suggests there is something timeless about the way they taste. For example, the grasshopper is a famed drink that marries the flavors of mint (crème de menthe), chocolate (crème de cacao) and ice cream together. Add some Monin chocolate and mint syrups to a few scoops of ice cream and the resulting concoction will be a dead ringer to the conventionally prepared version.
The following explores how to recreate the character and personality of the major players in the world of mixology without adding a drop of alcohol.
Some of us still subscribe to the theory that anything high in nutritional value must taste awful. Likewise, if something tastes bad, it must be just what the doctor ordered. It is, however, difficult to cling to this point of view after taking a long draw from a smoothie. Even its name sounds comforting.
In fact, smoothies could possibly be the best of all things. They're delicious and nutritious, which for many is a completely alien concept. Nevertheless, smoothies are healthy, potable meals with the look, feel and taste of fruit milkshakes. In this time-conscious, nutrient-depleted day and age, smoothies are something of a panacea, a 21st century concoction perfectly in step with the times.
So what is a smoothie? Essentially, they are blended drinks made with fruit, non-fat frozen yogurt, sherbet and/or sorbet and ice. Some are even dairy-free. But there's no reason to stop there.
For example, mega-popular Jamba Juice, a national chain of smoothie purveyors, adds such highly beneficial things as vitamins, minerals, fiber, herbs, amino acids, soy protein and phytonutrients to their various blended concoctions. They have smoothies designed to do everything from provide a boost of energy or fight a cold, to bolster one's immunity or to help shed a few unwanted pounds. All this and they're sumptuous too.
The essential first step in preparing a classic smoothie drink is to plug in the blender, after that, let the creative juices flow. To give the process a shove in the right direction, think of smoothies as containing four basic elements, namely juice(s), fruits, modifiers and base mix.
So rev up the blender and join one of the hottest, most delectable beverage trends in the country.
No other beverage seems quite as good for you as juice. It's fairly uncomplicated stuff-the essence of fruit rendered into a drinkable consistency. We all know that juice is wholesome, but what might not be as widely known are the amazing amount of health benefits associated with drinking juice.
Fruit juice is about the best and most convenient means of replenishing the body's essential nutrients and is a great source of energy. It's estimated that drinking between 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of juice is equivalent to eating a single piece of fruit. Unlike many processed beverages, most juices contain natural sugars-fructose and glucose. More importantly, many juices contain significant amounts of phytonutrients that have been proven to help in preventing diseases, especially heart disease.
Fruit and vegetable juices are typically high in vitamin C, beta carotene and potassium. Most are also rich in antioxidants, which are essential in mitigating the damaging affects of free radicals prevalent in the environment. If it's true that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” then juice is like an HMO in a glass.
Almost all juice is prepared by first removing the leaves and stems from the fruit. If nothing else is done to the juice, it may be labeled as "unfiltered," which means that the pulp, pectin and nutrients are essentially left intact.
About 98% of all fruit and vegetable juice in the United States is pasteurized, a process in which the juice is quickly heated to a specific temperature to destroy microbes and bacteria that cause spoilage and contamination. While pasteurization does extend the shelf life of the juice and makes it safer to drink, the process also reduces the amount of vitamin C and other water-soluble nutrients found in juice.
Some juice products may look like the real thing, but don't deliver where it counts, namely in the promise of good nutrition. A number of factors go into classifying the various types of juice.
Drink making would be dull without the existence of juices. It's no wonder why they are such commonly relied on ingredients in mixology. They add color, flavor and consistency to drinks, and best of all, juices blend well with each other. So feel absolutely free to mix various types of juices. They don't seem to mind and life will never get boring. Juice and carbonation are a natural pairing. A wide range of sparkling waters work, flavored or not. Juice can also be blended with ice cream, sorbet or sherbet. Toss in some fresh fruit and voila, a great tasting alcohol-free drink is ready to be christened.
No other fruit is more chronicled in history than the apple. There is evidence that apples were eaten during the Stone Age in Europe and along the Nile River Delta as early as 1300 BC. Apples existed during the halcyon days of the Greek Republic and Roman Empire. When Julius Caesar invaded England in 55 BC, he found the villagers in Kent produced a beverage from apples called cider. Then there's the incident involving William Tell being forced to shoot an apple off the head of his son.
Apples existed in America years before the arrival of the Pilgrims. Unfortunately for the settlers they were the crabapple variety and unusable for cider. The Massachusetts Bay Colony requested seeds and cuttings from England, which were brought over on later voyages of the Mayflower. People from other European countries immigrating into the United States included apple seeds among their provisions. Well before the founding of the original 13 colonies, apples were being cultivated from Virginia to the Carolinas and throughout New England.
Shortly after the founding of our nation, John Chapman began his famous trek across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois planting apple seeds, thus earning him the name, Johnny Appleseed. The offspring of those trees can be found in nearly every county of the three states. Some contend that the origin of the Washington State apple crop-now the largest in the United States-can be traced to seeds brought by an English sea captain around 1820.
As the nation expanded westward, so did the migration of the apple. Of the nearly 8000 varieties of apples in the world, over 100 are cultivated for commercial purposes in the United States. Not surprisingly, the top ten best selling varieties constitute roughly 90% of the American annual harvest, which currently exceeds 220,000,000 bushels.
The apple is not finished evolving though. Relatively new varieties, those discovered within the last 50 years, include the Fuji, Braeburn, and Liberty. They join such classics as the McIntosh, Delicious, Empire, Rome, Spartan, Cortland and Granny Smith. Like much of nature, apples are a work in progress.
Cider's popularity has spanned the millennia due to its crisp, refreshing character and the fact that it is relatively easy to produce. In the United States, the largest cider producing regions are New England and the Northwest.
No two great apple ciders will taste the same. They are the result of blending together different varieties of apples, each selected for particular characteristics. Some apples are chosen for their sweetness, others for their high acidity. The exact composition of the cider is where much of the craftsmanship is displayed.
After the apples have been harvested, they are carefully inspected, with flawed or unfit apples culled out of the hopper. The fruit is washed and then transferred by a conveyor to a grinder where it is pulverized into a mash, skins, seeds and all. The hopper of mash is then transferred to the cider press.
In a traditional apple press, the mash is wrapped in linen or cloth, attached to a wooden frame, then pressed, the force of which expresses the juice through the porous material. The running juice is collected in a catch pan underneath. Modern devices consist of a large cylinder of reinforced screens with an inflatable bladder inside. The mash is placed in the cylinder such that when the bladder is gradually pressurized, the mash is forced through the screens and the juice is collected.
The freshly pressed cider is sent through another set of filters to remove any fine particulate from the juice. It is important at that point to cool the cider as rapidly as possible. Fresh apple cider will keep for about two weeks if maintained at 42˚F or below. Producers may add sodium benzoate to extend the life of the cider and prevent the growth of bacteria.
Apple cider can be fermented into an alcoholic beverage, in which case it is referred to as hard cider. Sweet ciders, which are alcohol-free, vary greatly in their relative sweetness and degree of clarity. In addition, ciders can be still, or injected with carbon dioxide and made sparkling.
Apple cider is a universally appealing drink with scores of creative alcohol-free applications. Largely its realm of use can be divided into whether it is served warm or cold.
Cider takes only about 10 minutes over low heat to warm to serving temperature. In most cases, mixologists take that opportunity to steep the warming cider with spices, such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice, and fruit, including orange zest or lemon peels. Warm apple cider is a delectable treat, ideal for the holidays.
Cold apple cider makes a marvelous addition to a wide variety of drinks. It can be paired with other juices, such as raspberry, grape and cranberry. Apple cider marries beautifully with ice cream or sherbet, as well as mixed with flavored carbonated sodas.
Sparkling apple cider is a delicious way to add sweet effervescence to limeade or lemonade. It is popularly served in ice cream floats or as the base of many alcohol-free specialties.
They are effervescent, flavorful and Americans love them. Sodas have become an integral part of everyday life in this country. The interesting question is how did sodas become so deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of the nation? After all, regardless of the brand name on the label, soda pops are all essentially the same thing, artificially charged, water-based mixtures with flavorings of some sort. What is it about these carbonated drinks that has made them America's drink of choice?
A partial explanation can be traced to such famous European spas as Vichy, Evian, San Pellegrino and Perrier, where for centuries people have sought out their mineral waters for the rejuvenating effects. These naturally effervescent waters were seen as curatives with healing and revitalizing powers. Eventually these waters were bottled and made available throughout the continent.
In 1772, British scientist Joseph Priestly became the first to successfully produce artificially carbonated water. He produced the carbonated waters in barrels, flavored them with lime juice for use by the Royal Navy to prevent sailors from contracting scurvy. By 1793, Jacob Schweppe began bottling soda water, or seltzer as it became known. It was considered a patent remedy and often contained medicinal herbs and elixirs. After that, bottled mineral waters, spring waters and manufactured seltzers flourished.
The realm of carbonated beverages changed forever with the creation of Coca-Cola in 1886. Dr. John Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, created a proprietary flavored syrup in his back yard, which when mixed in carbonated water, became a good tasting restorative. At first, the fountain drink was intended solely for the customers at his pharmacy's soda fountain, but less than ten years later, Coca-Cola was being bottled and had become available in every state in the Union.
Many other types of beverages, however, have made a splash in the United States only to fall out of fashion a short time later. Why have sodas flourished and enjoyed enormous popularity in this country for more than a century?
It's all about lifestyle. Sodas are consumed anytime of day by just about every segment of the population-kids, adults, rich and poor. They are relatively inexpensive and provide a flavorful, effervescent break in the day. Sodas can be found at almost any type of occasion and celebration. They are drunk at picnics and sporting events, at the movies and in the car. The 1928 Coca-Cola slogan summarized it best; sodas are truly "The Pause that Refreshes."
Today, the field of entrants is still largely dominated by the major brands yet there are many smaller, boutique lines of soda that are new, fresh and exciting.
Good things happen when the dining experience for kids is enhanced. Offering them special things to drink shows consideration - involves them in the dining experience and may keep them in their seats a bit longer. All things considered, specialty drinks to the minor leaguers makes good sense.
Special to kids usually means being served a great looking, great tasting concoction, served in a sensational looking glass that mom and dad wouldn't normally let them drink from at home. The realm of possibilities has expanded greatly since the days of the kiddie cocktails and Shirley Temples. The philosophical orientation is to create specialty drinks that will knock their socks off. So where to start? Here are some ideas that should help you create an Olympic class beverage for our country's youth.