Grapefruit Basil Sparkler

Being a bit of a party girl, this whole pregnancy thing has thrown a bit of a curve-ball into my generally rather “celebratory” lifestyle.  For the last few months I have managed to choke back dealcoholized beers and such abominations as MADD’s “virgin” wines (NEVER. AGAIN.), intermingled with the occasional fruity beverage or blended virgin juice drink. I’m trying, you guys, but “mocktail” is not my middle name.

You know what I call “mocktail mixology”?  A waste of time. And frankly, I never saw the point.

Part of the problem is that the “mocktail” recipes that one frequently sees include recipe directions such as, “Mix together cranberry and orange juice for a refreshingly sweet mocktail!”  That’s not a mocktail recipe. That’s just juice.  Don’t try to con a con.

To be fair, I have done more than my share of experimentation lately, using everything from coconut water to Ribena in an effort to enjoy a frilly preggo mocktail out on the back deck. The thing is, at the end of the day, I usually give up and just pour a glass of plain ol’ H20, because as much as I want to be sipping on something fancy and festive, I am lazy enough to have looked at the cost/benefit analysis of mocktail enjoyment relative to effort, and it isn’t a big win. More to the point, frankly, I am also terrified that my excess sugar consumption will result in gestating a corpulent little 10 pound screamer that I have to somehow squeeze out of my womb. I am not down with that.  Ergo, I try to watch my juice and candy consumption because I am aiming for a solid 6.5 – 7 pounds (because, you know, if I THINK it hard enough it will happen).

As a bit of a concession, I have taken to drinking “sparklers”, ie, subtly flavored bevvies that spruce up your basic soda water to make it taste like something special. I stay away from delicious processed sugary syrups, including my beloved Ribena (at least, until Ribena-Plus with no added sugar comes to Canada), opting for a splash of flavorful fruit juice or zest, herbs and aromatics instead.

This grapefruit basil sparkler is a prime example of my current mocktail philosophy: it is fun, easily drinkable and a little bit festive, but with a subtler and more sophisticated flavor that doesn’t rely on sweeteners or artificial flavors.  This, my friends, is what I will be sipping on -guilt-free!- for the May long weekend as I soak up a little bit of summer.

Grapefruit Basil Sparkler

Serves 1

  • 1/2 large grapefruit
  • 4 oz Perrier *
  • 1 sprig fresh basil
  • cubed ice
  • grapefruit wheel to garnish, optional

* If you do not have Perrier, feel free to use plain soda water and add a squeeze of either lemon or lime for a bit of zing.

Squeeze the fresh grapefruit juice  over ice in a Collins glass, or something more festive.  There should be approximately 4 oz of grapefruit juice.  Pour in an equal amount of Perrier and tuck in a large sprig of fresh basil.  Garnish the drink with a wheel of grapefruit, if you feel the yen.

Before sipping, stir the drink to disperse the grapefruit juice and give a gentle muddle to the basil so that it releases it’s fragrance into the drink.

Sip up and enjoy the sun.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this!  As someone who doesn’t drink I feel like I’m on a never ending search for an adult party/celebration beverage. Most of the really good bartenders can mix together something special but I get a lot of the ‘here’s some juice in a martini glass’ which seems like the adult equivalent of the high tea I used to have with my stuffed animals.  When I was 6.  My standard go to is Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea which I highly recommend you try although I’m not sure if it’s available in Canada.

  • Kristie

    You can do it on the smallish baby, Tina! As you may have noticed, Chris and I are not short people.  And we managed a 6.13 baby.  Which still sucked to squeeze out, but far, far less than the people I know with giant babies trying to come out.  I think it’s adorbz that you’re drinking mocktails.  I just had…fewer…cocktails.

  • Eileen

    We definitely used to make this kind of sparkler during bouts of not drinking real cocktails!  I tend to do a really simple one with lemon or lime in sparkling water, but the basil-grapefruit combination sounds perfect for summer.

  • Hippioflov

    Our latest experiment on the farm has been with flavored vinegars – don’t worry this ties into the basil theme.  We’ve infused plain white vinegar with basil and then added sugar.  Pour this over a glassful of crushed ice and wow!  For the more timid, mix half water and half infused vinegar.

    • choosybeggarmike

      I am absolutely going to try this.