Thanks so much to all of you who shared congratulations and good wishes after my announcement on Tuesday! It's so much more fun now that everyone knows about the pregnancy. I promise I won't overload the blog with baby-related things, but I am looking forward to sharing the next few months with all of you.
Not being able to drink hasn't been nearly so bad as I thought. I was mostly worried that it would be a bummer when I went out, especially to bars. Ever since we started trying for a baby, I've been scanning menus for mocktail sections for future reference. I've been happy to see that most places will have two or three on the menu, or at least a nice selection of sodas and juices. The selection isn't as varied as if you could order a cocktail or a beer, but it's nice not to be left out.
One place that reliably has a couple of high-quality mocktails on their menu is Backbar in Somerville. This is probably my favorite place to grab a cocktail in the Boston area, so I was particularly miffed at having to choose between the two non-alcoholic options. But I really enjoyed the mocktail I ordered, which was made with club soda and a lavender-lime-cardamom shrub. I liked the flavors together, and decided to work on a variation on this for my first mocktail recipe. For ease, I skipped the shrub and made a quick lavender syrup that I paired with lime juice and cardamom bitters. I also worked in some ginger beer for extra flavor. The final product is so delicious, you won't mind in the least that there's no booze involved!
A note on this being a "mocktail:" bitters are generally made with alcohol, so if you're avoiding any traces of it, you'll want to use a substitute (in this case, I recommend throwing some cardamom pods into the syrup as well). But since they're used in such tiny quantities, the fact that they're technically alcoholic isn't going to be an issue during pregnancy or if you're the evening's designated driver.
Booze it up: If you want to make this a cocktail, I'd try adding some vodka, gin, or white rum.
Styling: Copper straw from Viski, glass from World Market.
Wishful Thinking1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. lavender syrup*
1 dash cardamom bitters (Scrappy's)
6 oz. ginger beer (I recommend a mild one for this recipe)
Combine lime juice, lavender syrup, and bitters in a shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass and add ice. Top with the ginger beer and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wheel and some dried or fresh lavender.
*For the lavender syrup, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and 4 sprigs of dried lavender in a saucepan (fresh lavender would be even better). Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the syrup sit for one hour. Fine strain to remove the lavender, and let cool before using.