My friends all know my typical drink order: wine, beer or sparkling water. I will never turn down a fancy cocktail, of course, but those three are my go-to drinks. I like them- they’re easy (pour straight from the bottle into my mouth! Errr… into a glass.), and delicious.
Of course, having most of your go-to drinks be beer and wine meant that when I got knocked up (and didn’t want to announce it yet), it was a pretty tricky dance every time I met up with friends. Everyone uses the ‘oh, I can’t, I’m on antibiotics’ thing- my friends weren’t buying that. I could only pull the ‘Sober October’ card for, well, the month of October (but hey, I raised over $100 for the Canadian Cancer Society!). After that, I usually fell back on ‘I have a lot of work to do’ or ‘I’m the designated driver’… but even that will only get you so many outings before people get suspicious.
See, if I was a rum and coke girl, things would be so much easier. I would simply get myself a coke and quietly skip the rum- easy peasy, it all looks normal. Turns out, I should have been enjoying mixed drinks this whole time.
In the end, we went for the Decoy Drink method- Colin and I both get a glass of wine and periodically switch off, with him slowly drinking both of them and me drinking neither. Yes, I may have been eating for two, but during those first couple months, he was drinking for two. It’s a hard life for husbands, isn’t it? 😐
Of course, after 9+ months of no beer and wine, my drinks repertoire has expanded significantly. First step, I got myself a SodaStream, which turned out to be the best purchase ever. This has kept me in a steady stream of sparkling water. Happy days for pregnant ladies.
Secondly, since I’m not a huge fan of the SodaStream pre-made syrups, I started making my own booze-optional sparkling cocktails. Friends can add a splash of something sassy if they like, but I’m still sitting pretty enjoying my virgin version. Berry shrubs, creative lemonades, sparkling juices…
On the whole, it’s opened up an entirely new avenue of cooking for me, akin to what I imagine vegetarians encounter when they first start omitting meat from their recipe books. Once you cut something out, you’re motivated to discover how much else is out there!
(This isn’t to say I’m not really excited for that first glass of wine post-baby. I still am. Once a wino…)
This iced tea recipe started out with me ordering a violently red iced tea at a massive coffee chain (I’m sure most of you can piece together which tea and which chain…). Do you ever order a tea and it smells amazing, but the taste falls flat? I hate that.
This particular iced tea was hibiscus-based (hence the bright red), but left an unpleasant pong in the mouth. Somehow it was too tart and also too sweet? The aftertaste was downright medicinal. But- once again- it smelled great.
If I could figure out how to take this tea- which was clearly a good idea to start with- and translate it a little smoother…
Strip it right down to the basics. Hibiscus flowers (which can be purchased at most health food stores as well as Persian, Indian or Mexican groceries) and citrus.
I knew I wanted to keep the crystal clear look of the drink, but I also wanted a strong enough lime flavour. Big slices of lime zest was the key here, plus a handful of Kaffir lime leaves (which you can also find at most specialty grocery stores or markets). If you can’t track down lime leaves, just substitute them for one more lime’s worth of zest. I liked the complexity the leaves added, but if you’re not looking for it, no one’s going to miss their presence.
The perfect balance of tart and sweet, but with no unpleasant aftertaste- just pure refreshment on a sunny day! It’s a hit.
Refreshing is the key word with this sunny day sipper, so I love it poured over a pile of ice. The tart/sweet combo works amazingly well with tequila as well, so my friends don’t have to skip cocktail hour on my behalf. Everyone’s happy!
|Hibiscus Limeade|| || |
- Hibiscus Tea:
- ¾ cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 8 cups water
- Lime Syrup:
- 2 limes, zest peeled into large strips
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- Tequila (optional)
- Crushed ice
- Add hibiscus flowers to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 25 minutes. Strain out flowers and set aside to let cool.
- In a small saucepan, combine all lime syrup ingredients. Heat through, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 25 minutes. Strain out lime leaves and zest and set aside to cool.
- In a large pitcher, combine lime syrup with hibiscus tea and stir well. Serve over crushed ice, garnished with a lime wedge (and a splash of tequila if you like!).