This drink is for all the abstainers out there this Christmas. It can be a tough season for not drinking, no matter your reasoning. So if you’re not reaching for the rum and nog this year, then we say you deserve to treat yourself to a mocktail that’s a little bit special, not just some lame mix of cranberry juice, OJ and soda water (although if that’s your jam, no judgement here).
I’m an abstainer myself this Christmas season, for the first time in my adult life. Needless to say there will be FOMO (though not in the hangovers everyone else has the next morning, haha!). But instead of just sticking to water, I was determined to devise a recipe I was equally excited about sipping this season. And I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty darn gosh happy with how it turned out. Made with Sleigh Ride, our favourite Christmas herbal tea from David’s Tea, bitter orange peel simple syrup and smoky ginger ale, it’s reminiscent of a Christmas negroni (one of my favourite cocktails), without the alcohol of course.
Before we get into the recipe, I just want to express my love for using iced herbal teas as a mocktail ingredient. Herbal tea flavours can be incredibly complex, something you can’t quite capture using solely juice or soda. Plus, unlike juice and soda, herbal tea is not loaded with sugar, making it a perfect option for pregnant friends who are trying to be relatively healthy.
We opted for Sleigh Ride tea in particular because it features apples, hibiscus blossoms, candied pineapple, candied papaya, beetroot, cinnamon, raisins, coconut chips, roasted almonds and popped rice. Lot’s of delicious flavours right? Makes it great to just add this tea instead of 3-5 other ingredients to try and capture the same taste.
If you’re hosting a holiday gathering this year, we recommend having a delicious mocktail on hand – and we just don’t just mean offering them the cocktail mixes you’ve got for your drinkers. Make them feel special, not just like an after thought. They’ll love you for it forever. But don’t worry about it just being another item on your long hosting to-do list, we’ve done our best to make it easy for you to do.
For the double-strength Sleigh Ride herbal tea:
- 1 heaping tbs of Sleigh Ride tea from the one-and-only David’s Tea, in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. If you don’t have access to this tea, you can sub in one hibiscus tea bag and apple cinnamon tea bag. The ratio of tea to water is so high because you’ll be pouring it over ice which will dilute it, and you want it extra flavourful.
For the bitter orange peel simple syrup:
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- approx. 20 cubed inches of orange peel (basically, long strips of orange peel). Use less orange peel if you want a subtler flavour
For the cocktail:
- 3/4 cup of Sleigh Ride tea, at room temperature
- 3/4 oz bitter orange peel simple syrup (more or less depending on the sweetness you’re after)
- approx. 1/4 cup of Smoky Ginger Ale from Fever Tree. If you can’t get your hands on this, Fever Tree’s regular ginger ale will do, or opt for another low sugar, spicy ginger ale. Vernor’s will do the trick if that’s all you got.
- Mini Christmas ornament and tiny close-pin, for garnish (optional)
- In a rock’s glass filled with ice, add the sleigh ride tea and simple syrup.
- Top with ginger ale.
- Garnish with a mini Christmas ornament. Because how adorable is it?