I’m not usually one for virgin cocktails, mostly because I like to save my caloric drinks for the real thing (like wine), but I created this low-calorie cocktail for my cooking classes and everyone has raved about it, so I thought I would share! Plus, it makes a very enjoyable cocktail for when you may be wanting to avoid alcohol.
It takes some time to simmer the ginger and spices to get a flavorful mix, but it is mostly hands off and easy to do. Just make sure you set a timer so you don’t evaporate it to nothing – not that I have ever done anything like that!
Now, I’m not going to lie to you, this takes a bit of preparation. Once all is prepared it’s hands-off, but you will need about 20 minutes or so to get it all in the pan. You need to juice at least 6 oranges and peel and chop a bunch of ginger, but everything else is just thrown in. Then you let it simmer for about 45 minutes, strain and you have your liquid gold. Store it in a jar until you’re ready. It should keep about 5 days in the refrigerator. If I am making it ahead, I wait until just before serving to add the lime juice and honey.
At only about 40 calories per serving, this makes a fun, sparkly, tasty alternative to a cocktail for times when you are on a cleanse or avoiding alcohol, or if you just don’t drink alcohol. It’s full of real, fresh and natural ingredients and will make you smile! I urge you to try it and let me know how you like it in the comments. Don’t let all the spices turn you off. Just add what you have or experiment with other flavors. I’ve added slightly crushed juniper berries in the past and it almost gives you the sensation you have some gin in there! Of course, feel free to add your favorite alcohol if you’d like. Vodka would make a great addition. Substitute 1 of the ounces of water for vodka! I’d love to see your creations!
Ginger Spiced Cocktail (Virgin)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups orange juice, fresh squeezed about 8 oranges
- 8-10 strips orange peel from 2 oranges
- 10 ounces ginger, peeled and sliced about 10 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tablespoon cloves, whole
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds optional
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds optional
- 1-2 star anise optional
- 2 limes juiced - peel some strips of rind for garnish if desired
- 2-3 tablespoons honey local, if possible
- Put all ingredinets into a saucepan (except for lime juice and honey) and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Strain out the solids. If using right away, add the juice of 2 limes and 2-3 tablespoons of honey, depending on how sweet you want it. Mix well. If making ahead, wait until you are ready to use it to add the lime juice and honey.
- Pour into a glass jar or small pitcher and chill. When serving, pour over ice and top with seltzer or mineral/sparkling water in about a 1:3 ratio (1 part mix to 3 parts water). I used 2 ounces of mix with about 5 or 6 ounces sparkling water. Stir.
- Garnish with orange peel and edible flower or a mint sprig.