Lately, I’ve been feeling like serving non-alcoholic beverages at gatherings is as considerate as a menu with enough meatless options for vegetarian guests. (I don’t cook separately-- I include sides hearty enough to make a satisfying meal for vegetarians.)
I’ve upped my mocktail game, and in the process learned how many guests appreciate a delicious, interesting alcohol-free beverage. I started on this path with atypical iced teas: two current favorites are shimmering magenta-colored hibiscus-ginger iced tea lightly sweetened with simple syrup, and pale amber chamomile-lemon tea with a splash of honey. Guests’ appreciation—and voracious consumption-- of these teas made me pay more attention to the beverage part of my menus.
This mango-jalapeno mocktail works exceptionally well for a Labor Day barbecue. It is intriguing looking, thanks to a fun jalapeno garnish; sweet with a little kick of heat; and fruity enough to pair well with the smoky flavors of grilled foods.
You can serve it without the fancy jalapeno garnish: use a crosswise slice of the chili on the rim of the glass instead. To make the jalapeno spiral, use the tip of a paring knife to score ¾ of the way around the stem cap. Once you get to the final quarter, start scoring your way in a spiral down and around the length of the pepper. When you get to the tip, go back up to the stem end, and score a line about ¼-inch from the first cut, all the way down to the tip. Carefully pull the cap and spiral out and cut any membrane or seeds away from it. The remaining jalapeno meat will be used in the puree.
The jalapeno can be omitted entirely and the drink garnished with lime.
1 mango, peeled and cut in chunks
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh jalapeno
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/3 cups cold ginger ale
1. Combine the mango, lime juice, jalapeno, and sugar in a blender; process until smooth.
2. Stir in the ginger ale and pour over 2 glasses filled with ice.
Makes 2 servings.