Once, when I was 13 or 14, my friends’ father took his 3 daughters and me out to the Four Seas Chinese restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown. He ordered a classic cocktail for himself, maybe a Manhattan, and then the waitress asked us if we would like Shirley Temples, since of course we were too young to drink alcohol.

Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple

Puh-leeze!  Shirley Temples?? How ignominious! We were teenagers. Practically grown-ups. This was the early 70’s: we were right on! We were (and still are) feminists. Right then we decided to invent a decent non-alcoholic cocktail and name it after Gloria Steinem.

The Steinem

The Steinem would not look out of place in any bar.
The Steinem would not look out of place in any bar. [click to enlarge]
Upon conferral, we settled upon ginger ale on the rocks, with several shots of Angostura bitters and a goodly wedge of lime. Maybe two. Any bar will have the ingredients, so you can educate the bartender and order up a Steinem anywhere. It’s refreshing, has great whiskey-like color and nothing to do with any good ship Lollipop.

In those days, there were no “artisanal” ginger ales, just plain ol’ Canada Dry or Schweppes, but probably the fancy ones would work even better — just keep to a less sweet one. If you find ginger ale too sweet, cut it with some soda water. You could experiment with the gourmet bitters which are on the market now, too. Don’t be shy with the bitters. “The Steinem”. Try it!

The Foggy Sunset

A few years ago, I came up with another recipe for a mocktail which I named the “Foggy Sunset”.  It is my current favorite.

  1. Take a tall glass and fill it halfway up with pink grapefruit juice.
  2. Then add plain soda water or your favorite fuzzy mineral water up to about 3/4″ from the top of the glass.
  3. Now gently pour in about 3/8″ of Marco Polo Sour Cherry Syrup. This will sink down to the bottom creating a tequila sunrise kind of effect, but because of the murkiness of the grapefruit juice, it will be “foggy”. Hence the name.
  4. Serve it with a swizzle stick to stir it with after the sunset has been admired, because it is meant to be consumed all mixed together. (Don’t have swizzle sticks? — use chopsticks!)

    A Foggy Sunset, a delicious mocktail
    A Foggy Sunset, a delicious mocktail

I always have the ingredients cold in the fridge, so I don’t use ice cubes. I suppose you could, but this is so tasty, I hate to waste space in the glass with ice.

Grapefruit juice provides a grown-up bitterness that I think is closest to approximating the back burn of alcohol. Too many mocktails are sweet concoctions that infantilize the non-drinker. The soda water tones down the grapefruit juice’s bitterness, but still lets that kick through. Sour cherry and grapefruit together are super. The “Foggy Sunset” is delicious and you won’t feel like you need an insulin shot chaser.

Foggy Sunset with bottle of Marco Polo sour cherry syrup
Foggy Sunset with bottle of Marco Polo sour cherry syrup [click to enlarge]
The Slovenian company that makes the Marco Polo brand sour cherry syrup also makes a raspberry syrup. This works nicely with the same recipe — a bit sharper, but still foggy, so that version I call the “Foggy Sunrise”. I get these syrups at Big John’s PFI in Seattle.  You can get it through Amazon using the link above, or check around at Mediterranean or eastern European import grocery stores.

2 Replies to “2 Mocktail Recipes for Grown-ups

  1. Great recipes. Reminds me of what we drank in Croatia as children – malinkovac (raspberry) or višnjevac (sour cherry) – one part syrup and nine parts cold water. That was instead of Shirley Temples.

    This is actually much better. You have something with peach syrup? Love the taste of peaches…..

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