Now 18 months ago this sentence would have ended quite differently.
As in, “a G&T” or ” a Tequila slammer” , depending on my mood.
Unfortunately due to health issues I’m not allowed to drink, so no G&T’s or tequila for me. Which is maybe just as well, as my work Christmas Party 2013 could testify to, but lets not go into that.
I still find this really really sad. I now have a bottle of Botanist Islay Gin wasting away in the laundry room/ alcohol closet and I am now the designated driver for EVERY OCCASION!
Anyway, I have found it really difficult to find a nice non alcoholic substitute, with my local supermarket stocking a very poor selection of non-alcoholic wine and beer. In fact after tasting a few its clear the alcohol content is required to make them drinkable. Also there is only so much fizzy pop that you can bare to drink.
We recently got invited to a friends house for dinner and as well as myself not being able to drink alcohol there was also another friend invited who also couldn’t, so I decided to make my own non-alcoholic drink.
Given that I had lots of lemons, as we seem to be stockpiling these in case of an apocalypse, I decided on Strawberry Lemonade. Yeah, I know not the most sophisticated or adult drink, but hey I love it and its really refreshing with a meal, especially a spicy one! Incidentally we were having a curry.
I also thought it would also make a nice hostess gift when decanted into a glass bottle.
6 lemons, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water and about 220 grams strawberries which was what I had left over in the fridge so you could use more or less. Oh and more water to taste ( 1 -1 3/4 cups plus )
This makes a small amount, so for a large group or a family I would more than double the recipe.
Start by adding 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to a pan and on a low heat dissolve the sugar in the water. Once this is done remove the pan from the heat and allow the sugary mixture to cool.
In the meantime, juice the lemons and hull and chop the strawberries( sorry no picture of this as I was daydreaming whilst looking out the window to the rickety old picnic bench that needs re-stained and cursing hubby for not doing his job!).
As you can see in the picture my juicer is a plastic hand one and it doesn’t always work very well, as the strainer in it has rather large gaps that lets the seeds and chunky bits of pulp fall into the juice. I always strain the lemon juice using a small sieve over a jug.
Place the strawberries in a blender and blend until relatively smooth. Add the blended strawberries to the jug of lemon juice and then add the cooled sugar syrup and stir to mix.
You will need more water to dilute the lovely strawberry/ lemonade mixture and to be honest this is down to personal taste. Some like it quite tart and others not so, so just add to taste. I start with adding 1 1/2 cups of water initially then up this by 1/4 at a time. Also if you are adding ice, this will melt and dilute the mixture further.
Sometimes I have seen me keeping the concentrate ( just the lemonade strawberry mixture) in the fridge and when I want a drink I will pour some of the concentrate into a glass and add water straight to my glass, kinda like a cordial or squash diluting juice.
Alternatively instead of water you could add soda water or tonic water or sparkling water, although on this occasion I wanted to stay away from fizz.
I added still water, mixed and then poured the diluted mixture into a glass snap top bottle ( the bottle of wine in the background was also taken along for another hostess gift).
This can also be easily made into an alcoholic drink by adding pretty much any spirit of your choice, rum, tequila or gin ( hello my old friend) and in fact one of my friends at the dinner did just that. He added gin to his glass whilst I watched very enviously- I imagine it was like eating a cheeseburger in front of someone on a diet. He said it was delicious and of course it would be, as gin makes everything good, well maybe not everything, but drinks wise it does.
This would make a great drink for summer, on a hot day or having with a BBQ or picnic. In Scotland we don’t often get hot sunny summer days, so I have learned not to relegate drinks or food to a summer only as I’d never get the chance to drink or eat them!! Hence, lemonade in March!!!
So, when life gives you lemons and you’re unable to drink alcohol, make lemonade!
Has anyone got any other recipes for non-alcoholic drinks that they would like to share? Please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. I still have heaps of lemons left over, so I feel another lemon based recipe will heading to my blog very soon.