Since I live with a brewer, one thing I was dreading about pregnancy was not being able to sample all the delicious beer recipes Brian's always testing out. Sure I can smell and take the occasional sip, but it's not quite the same as pouring off a big glass of fresh saison from our kitchen kegerator.
Being the ever-curious experimenter that he is, Brian got to work on finding and creating a some non-alcoholic drinks for me to enjoy. Some of these actually taste and pour like the real thing, which can be a nice break from the "I'll-just-have-a-sprite" pregnancy routine.
I'll organize these from easiy-to-make to more-complicated-but-worth-it.
1. Easy Peasy: Pickle Martini
Disclosure: I reeeeaaaally like pickles. If you don't also reeeeaaaally like pickles, this drink might be too much for you. But if you're into salty super dirty martinis (or just downing half a jar of cornichons in one sitting...that's why they're small, right? so you can eat them by the fistful?) then this drink's for you!
- 1 part pickle juice
- 2 parts sparkling water
Pour both into your fanciest martini glass. Stir. Adorn with olives and/or cornichon. Drink while wearing something fancy.
2. Still Pretty Simple: Fake Dark Beer
Brian tested out a bunch of combinations to try to mimic the taste and look of a dark beer (my fave). We finally landed on this one since it has the interesting flavor layers of a big strong beer and it actually pours and looks like a dark beer thanks to the sparkling water.
- 3 oz double strength iced decaf coffee
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp amaretto syrup
- 3 oz sparkling water
Combine coffee, OJ, and amaretto syrup in a glass and stir. Pour into beer glass/mug. Add sparkling water and watch it fizz. Pretend it's beer.
3. A Little More Work But Bigger Payoff: Coconut Milk Fizz
We found this one in the Homemade Soda recipe book. It takes some time to make since you have to heat the water/sugar then let it cool, but you end up with a batch of soda syrup that you can use for a few weeks. It's sweet and creamy despite being dairy-free, and it's delicious stirred into some iced coffee. Mickey straw not required, but recommended.
- 3/4 cup sugar (I actually only use a half cup and it tastes great to me, but I don't have much of a sweet tooth)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the coconut milk and vanilla.
The recipe says to mix 1/2 cup of the syrup with 1 cup of sparkling water, but I usually mix closer to a 1:1 ratio. The syrup can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. *Bonus* - it's delicious when added to iced coffee.
4. Need to Know a Brewer: Sparkling Iced Beer Tea
This one requires that you know a brewer and/or score some hopped wort (In my very basic non-brewer vocabulary, wort is basically the "tea" that's made after the grains/hops have been boiled. It's not alcoholic yet because the yeast hasn't been added.) Wort can have a lot of the flavors of a final beer, so we played around with adding sparkling water to a) reduce the sweetness, and b) give it the carbonation of a beer. If you find the hoppiness is a bit much, you use sweet wort (wort to which hops have not been added). For a quick-and-dirty sweet wort and no brewing required, you can use Dried Malt Extract, or DME, at a rate of 1/4 pound per quart of water and adjust concentration to taste.
- 1 part wort (I liked saison wort the best!)
- 1 part sparkling water
Stir and enjoy! Feel free to play around with the ratio too - it might depend on the wort you're using.