When I was a child, one of my favorite treats to sneak from the fridge was my parents’ Tom Collins mixer. Even back then I had a thing for sweet/tart flavors, and the bottled Collins mix – with its tart fizzy taste and citrus notes – packed a lot more pleasure than a glass of cola or even ginger ale. To bring back these great taste memories, we concocted a mocktail recipe with the same sweet/tart/citrus profile of a traditional Tom Collins, but without the gin.
The booze is replaced by green tea infused with crushed juniper berries (juniper is a key flavor component in gin), and a bit of mint. A shot of Spiker’s Raspberry Bergamot Shrub and a few splashes of citrus bitters add color and extra depth of flavor. Top off with some fizz and a garnish (lime wedge, mint leaf, twist of lemon) and you have a gorgeous alcohol-free summer drink.
For parties and picnics, you can make the recipe base ahead of time and chill it. When ready to serve, top off with seltzer.
2ouncesgreen tea infusionat room temperature or chilled
4ouncesseltzer or club Soda
2-4mint leavesfor garnish
Brew the green tea infusion
Place juniper berries in a mortar and lightly crush with a pestle (or place on a cutting board and use the flat end of a broad-blade knife).
In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the tea bags, juniper berries, and mint. Steep the tea for 3 minutes and remove the tea bags. Continue steeping the juniper berries and mint until the infusion is cool. (This can be done several hours before serving.)
When ready to serve, strain the tea and discard the berries and mint. (NOTE: This will make 8 ounces of infused green tea. Store the extra in the fridge and use for other drinks, or for soups, sauces, etc.)
Mix the Mocktail
In a small pitcher or cocktail shaker, add all of the mocktail ingredients (except for the seltzer) along with 2-3 ice cubes. Shake or stir vigorously about 30 seconds.
Fill 2 tall Collins glasses halfway with the remaining ice. Divide the mix evenly between the two glasses. Top with seltzer or soda and lightly stir. Garnish and serve.
This is a great make-ahead beverage for a party. Infuse the tea early enough before the event to ensure that it is cool. Then blend the rest of the ingredients together except for the ice, seltzer, and garnish. When it's time to serve, place the mocktail base in a cold beverage dispenser, and mix your drinks to order by filling a collins or tall beverage glass halfway with ice. Fill the glass with 1/3 mocktail mix and 2/3 seltzer.