Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas

Party without the “buzz”!  Mocktails, or mock cocktails, are beverages that do not contain alcohol.  They’re ideal for entertaining the entire family, and are a great alternative for party guests who prefer to not drink alcohol.

Lifestyle expert Shoana Jensen shared a few of her secrets when it comes to creating the ultimate mocktail:

1. Make sure your mocktails are served in a fun glass.Don’t give just the drinkers the fancy glass – the mocktails drinkers are a big part of the party, too.

2. Plan ahead for the people who don’t want to consume alcohol. Find a great signature drink for them to enjoy that’s just as festive as the other cocktails that you are serving your guests. Everyone should feel like a special guest at your function.

3. Don’t forget to have a great garnish for the mocktails!

4. Make sure that you have lots of water available for everyone to drink – especially during the summertime, when it’s hot out.

Mocktail Inspiration Ideas:

A limeade is the perfect, thirst-quenching drink on a hot summer day.  Mix some freshly-squeezed lime juice, a few sprigs of mint, cane sugar, and sparkling water for a quick-and-easy backyard refreshment.

If you love sangrias, substitute wine with seltzer water and grape juice frozen concentrate; and mix in thinly-sliced apples, sectioned orange segments, cranberries, grapes, and other seasonal fruit that you may have on-hand.

Shirley Temple is a classic beverage that you can put your own spin to.  Mix lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry for garnish.  For your own twist, add some orange juice for a zesty citrus flavor.

A banana smoothie is an easy way to entertain the whole family on a hot, Sunday afternoon.  Chances are you have all of the ingredients in your kitchen!  Blend 2 cups of vanilla yogurt, sliced bananas, ½ cup of honey, a dash of vanilla extract, and ice.

Next time you’re celebrating a birthday, consider making mock champagne.  Mix some ginger ale, pineapple juice, and one bottle of sparkling white grape juice for the perfect drink to toast to up at the cottage this summer.

Mojitos are another great thirst quencher.  To make them alcohol-free, combine club soda, lime juice, mint leaves, and simple syrup.  Garnish on top with a lime slice, and for an added twist, include lime sherbet or sorbet to the mix.

For the tea lovers out there, try making a soda pop tea!  Steep your favourite loose-leaf tea (fruity teas work best), add agave nectar to taste, chill with ice, and top it off with sparkling water.

Finally, take a look at our delicious mocktail recipes from our previous shows:

–    Peach Fizz Mocktail
–    The Gentle Breeze
–    Paris Rose

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Ten Tips for Grilling Success

With summer in full swing, give your oven a break and take advantage of the opportunity to cook your meals outdoors. Firing up the BBQ can be intimidating for some, but here are ten tips to lead you in the right direction for grilling success:

1.    Preheat your grill and keep the temperature just right!  In an interview with, celebrity chef and grilling guru Rob Rainford notes, “You must make sure that your heat source is not completely on high, but not completely on low either.”

2.    Have your tools on-hand. – Make sure you have everything close by before you start grilling.  You don’t want to be running back to the kitchen to get a pair of tongs while your steaks are burning.

3.    Marinate. – “Marinades can help you out with flavouring, they can also help to break down fibre,” Rainford says, adding, “If you want to infuse more flavour, you introduce smoke. Smoke is the best thing you can possibly think of – adding wood chips.”

4.    Maintain, maintain, maintain! – Cleaning your barbeque is key.  It’s important to take care of the grilling surface by scrubbing the grates at least once per barbeque season.  It takes off burnt soot, and allows you to re-grease your grates for optimal use.

5.    Grease it up! – By oiling your grates, you prevent food from sticking to the grill – especially fish – and it helps with post-cleanup, too!

6.    Grill now, sauce later. – If you brush your sauces on during the cooking process, the sugars will burn up by the time the food is ready to be removed from the grill.  As a rule of thumb, wait until your food is almost finished cooking before glazing them.

7.    Lid up on the veggies. – The lid on the barbeque traps moisture and smoke which can negatively impact the vegetables’ crunch and flavour.  If you’re grilling vegetables, keep the lid up to prevent a rubbery texture.  The lid should only be kept down for large winter squashes and potatoes.

8.    Timing. – When it comes to meat, tender cuts should be cooked for a short amount of time at a high temperature. Tougher cuts will take more time and should be cooked over lower heat.

9.    Let cooked meat rest.
– This allows the meat to redistribute all the juices (flavour) back to its connective tissues.  The end result: a juicier, more tender piece of meat.

10.    Don’t feel intimidated! – There’s no need to feel intimidated at the grill. First-timers should go for something nice and easy that doesn’t require much finesse – whether that’s burgers, a simple striploin steak, or some grilled vegetables. Then you can venture into various cuts of meat that require longer cooking time and more monitoring throughout.

Rainford told that, “We live in Canada, so we have literally three, three-and-a-half, maybe four months of this type of weather.  While you have the opportunity to outdoor entertain, you do it.”

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