Summer entertaining should be easy—and so should stocking the bar for all your guests’ preferences. This punch recipe from Elva Ramirez, journalist and author of “Zero Proof: 90 Nonalcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking,” works double-duty as a base for both a refreshing wine spritzer and a delightful mocktail.
“The key to a compelling drinks base (especially if it’s intended for non-alcoholic cocktails) is creating levels of flavors,” Ramirez explains. Her Hot Citrus Summer Punch starts with an herbaceous mint tea infused with warming cinnamon, then layers on tart yuzu and sweet pineapple, followed by a hit of heat. “[Hot yuzu sauce is] typically used for marinades and salads,” Ramirez says. “It introduces a lingering, slightly savory finish.” From there, it’s up to your guests to DIY their drink of choice; this zingy summer punch can be topped with sparkling wine, effervescent lemonade, or even seltzer.
Yuzu is a very tart Japanese citrus fruit; you can find bottled yuzu juice and hot yuzu sauce in the Japanese section of specialty food stores or online. Look for 100% yuzu juice that is not pre-sweetened.
2 ounces Summer Mint and Cinnamon Tea (recipe follows)
2 ounces fresh pineapple juice
½ ounces fresh lime juice
½ ounces yuzu juice
¼ teaspoon hot yuzu sauce
About 1 ounce chilled sparkling wine (traditional or non-alcoholic), fizzy lemonade, or citrus sparkling water
Fresh mint spring, optional, for garnish
In a mixing tin, combine tea, pineapple, lime, yuzu and hot yuzu sauce. Add ice and shake briskly to chill, until the mixture is frothy and cold.
Pour the entire mixture, including ice, into a rounded wine glass (such as those used for red wines) or a Spanish-style goblet. Top with about one ounce of sparkling wine, chilled lemonade, or seltzer.
Garnish with fresh mint sprig, if desired.
Bring 3 ounces of water to a boil in a saucepan.
In a heatproof quart container, add mint tea, cinnamon sticks, sugar and fresh mint. Add hot water to cover and stir to quickly combine.
Cover and let infuse for at least 1 hour or overnight. After resting overnight, strain to remove solids and keep chilled.
*Note: Look for 100% mint tea, so that other flavors don’t interfere with the cocktail’s flavor profile.
Want more creative and craveable drink recipes from Elva Ramirez? Check out these mocktails featuring HOP WTR and pick up a copy of her book, “Zero Proof: 90 Nonalcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking.”
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