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The Best Alcohol-free Drink - Ipanema

Usually I call them [out of laziness] mocktails - but really I never liked this denomination.
As "mocktails" are usually long drinks, it is even twice wrong, to connect them to a cocktail [which is technically a short drink with alcohol]. 

Apart of this, I am not a big believer in mocktails. Sodas can be fantastic [home made grapefruit soda is fantastic, or homemade ginger ale, ginger beer or any other odd ingredient sodas]. Juices - fine.
Lemonades - yes, refreshing and good. And iced teas - can be absolutely amazing. Hence you don't need sickly sweet syrupy juice mixtures.

But yes - there are few good ones.

Most of them a mimicking drinks with alcohol. You can make a pretty good alcohol-free Planters Punch, Hurricane or Mojito, if you are using Caribbean Syrup. Or you can use a juniper syrup for some alcohol-free gin drinks.

A drink which I got to know long time ago, very early in my career, is a bit a different beast [well - you cannot call an alcohol-free drink a beast really, but you get the point]. I worked in an American bar and restaurant, called Louisiana and this was one of the most popular drinks without booze.
It was...

The Ipanema

Truth has to be told - the Ipanema is also mimicking [at least a bit] an alcoholic drink: the Caipirinha - however it doesn't substitute the cachaça with a booze-tasting ingredient - it just goes into a complete different direction adding the exotic passionfruit.

1 piece         lime
1.5 piece      passion fruit
2 bar spoon  sugar [or 2 leveled bar spoons of fructose]
30 ml            fresh orange juice
Ginger ale to fill up [home made would be the best!]

Scoop the seeds and fruit flesh out of one passionfruit and add to a glass.
Roll the lime under your palm until it gets softer. Cut the lime into 8 pieces [first half the lime and then quarter the halves] and add to the glass. Add the sugar.
Muddle until really juicy and the sugar is almost dissolved.
Fill up the glass with ice [full of ice] - cracked ice is fine as well as crushed ice - only big ice cubes don't work here.
Add the orange juice and stir.
Fill up with ginger ale and stir again to retain the carbonation.
Garnish with a passionfruit half and lime wheel.

This is my [contemporary] recipe. The original @ Louisiana used passionfruit nectar, which you cannot compare at all with fresh passionfruit [fresh is so much better]. However I had to add fresh orange juice, as the fresh passionfruit is stronger [more acidic and much more concentrated] as nectar - and you can't use that much. 

Anyway - the drink is so good, that I featured it on all bar menus, I have written since then [and these are quite a lot]. Is it as good as an alcoholic drink?
You cannot compare tofu to a ribeye steak - can you? It is just different.

But as alcohol-free option, besides of a properly prepared iced tea, lemonade, soda [...] it is definitely fantastic. Much better than your usual mixed fruit juices or sickly sweet juice mocktails.

Try it - you will be pleasantly surprised!


  1. This sounds absolutely delicious!

    Glad you're putting an effort into posting non alcoholic drinks!

  2. It does sound good. Big fan of ginger ale and lime - it's my AFD drink of choice. Dare I say, sounds like it would also taste good with vodka in it? ;)

  3. Thanks for commenting guys! Actually I was a bit strained, due to the whole F1 circus in Abu Dhabi [and in my hotel].

    @Arwa - I am actually drinking very less - however I usually don't put a lot of effort into what I drink [it is pretty easy and effortless to open a bottle of Coca Cola]. Professionally mocktails are so different than cocktails [it sounds funny - but you have no base, you are building your ingredients around].

    @The Hedonista - the perfect match would be cachaça [Sagatiba of a+e is very nice and available here in the UAE or a bit more traditionally Germana - I think of MMi] - which would highlight the tropical notes - you don't need orange juice then, because you will have enough liquid. Or - different but not as nice as the cachaça would be dark rum. Gosling [MMi] is amazing - and you can always make an authentic Dark n'Stormy - but even Old Monk would be great.


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