“When I got pregnant, I gave up alcohol. But I didn’t see why festive flavorful beverages and glamorous barware like martini glasses and champagne flutes had to go, too,” remembers Elayne Duke. Instead of suffering the indignity of booze-free daiquiris, this Manhattan-based spirits specialist, cocktail educator (she teaches at Astor Street Wines and Spirits), and Diageo brand ambassador got to work stirring and shaking mocktails that didn’t scream virgin. (We could see how the moniker might not fit.)
She’s since had her baby, but Duke remains a friend to pregnant ladies, to designated drivers, and Friends of Bill: “Every bar should have at least two good mocktails on the menu,” Duke believes. “And not fruity, overly sweet concoctions.”
While mocktails are growing more conspicuous on cocktail menu throughout the city (our faves are Rouge Tomate’s and Pure Food and Wine’s), you can make some of Duke’s favorites at home. They’re virgin pure but made for a seasoned palate.
SPARKLING SPRING PASSION
Duke’s Tasting Notes: I invented this for Ana Ortiz’s (an Ugly Betty cast member) baby shower. I try to use seasonal ingredients. The pink color of this mocktail looks gorgeous in a cocktail glass. The ginger helps with digestion, so it’s great for pregnant women. With effervescence from the sweet pear, you’d never guess there’s no alcohol!
1.5 oz blood orange juice
1 spoonful of passion fruit seeds
1 piece of fresh muddled ginger
1 oz pasteurized egg whites (Egg whites are sold pasteurized in milk carton packaging. If you’re pregnant and this gives you pause, substitute pineapple juice for frothiness.)
1.5 oz non-alcoholic sparkling pear juice
Serve chilled in a champagne flute
Instructions: At the bottom of the mixing glass, muddle 1 slice of fresh ginger; add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the non-alcoholic sparkling pear. Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling pear.
PICANTE COQUI (Spicy Frog)
Duke’s Tasting Notes: When I was pregnant I craved spicy food, but it gave me heartburn and led me straight to the Tums. This mocktail gives a hint of spice without the side effects. The lime brightens up the mango juice and the splash of sugar enhances the whole flavor profile.
3 oz mango juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 piece of muddled jalepeno
Splash of simple syrup
Served chilled in a martini glass
Instructions: At the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle 1 slice of fresh jalapeño, add in the remaining ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Duke’s Tasting Notes: This minty mocktail is refreshing and satisfying, and it also works well with gin, vodka, or tequila.
3-4 leaves of fresh mint
5 cucumber slices
2 oz simply syrup
2 oz fresh lime juice
Served chilled in a Tom Collins or martini glass
Instructions: At the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle mint and cucumbers. Add the remaining ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a tall Tom Collins glass or a martini glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and sprig of mint. It also works well topped with Ginger Ale.
If you want a custom cocktail menu for your next party, contact Elayne Duke via her website, www.dukeontherocks.com. She’s also available for bartending and cocktail- and mocktail-making lessons for small groups. Or learn more through one of her classes at Astor Wines & Spirits.
Perform a public service, and send this to a pregnant friend who needs a mocktail (and a footrub)!