Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Non-alcoholic

Last week I shared a few of my favorite homemade summer beverages. Honestly, as a (mostly) non-drinker and someone who isn’t particularly keen on sweet drinks, I don’t seek out mocktails etc. very often, but I do occasionally like to play with combining more ingredients and flavors in my fizzy waters.

Above: Sippable.

They don’t look like much. Sure, I could dress it up with a grapefruit wedge and herb sprigs, or even a little sugar on the rim, but why?

Recently I had a ‘ginger ale’ at Cafe Gratitude in Santa Cruz, which is basically a glassful of fresh-pressed ginger juice with agave, a splash of club soda, and lemon. It’s strong. It’s gingery. And I don’t have a juice press, but I do have a high-speed blender, so I threw a knob of fresh ginger in there with the juice of one grapefruit and enough water to fill my sodamaker’s bottle. Blended until very smooth–and a peculiar shade of yellow from the ginger and juice–then strained through find mesh to get rid of the bitter ginger pulp.

On its own, this combination was potent as hell. I sipped a little bit and it warmed my entire chest. Whewwww. (I guess it has that in common with booze.) But combined with my current-favorite herbal sparkling water combo (rosemary, peppermint, and lemon verbena) with a ratio of about 4:1 in favor of the water? Very nice. And a little fancy. Could be fancier. Could even be mixed with your favorite liquor, I suppose, but I’ll leave that up to you fans of mixology.

Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 18: Thirst

When it’s hot, I just want to lay under a fan and pass out. My tolerance for “hot” tops out around 80, really, so why the hell did I move to California? Anyway. I have a few hot weather cold drinks I rotate through in the summer.

Herb/fruit-infused fizzy water

Above: Pitcher of water with fresh herbs (mint, rosemary, lemon verbena) next to an iDrinkMate carbonation bottle.

Some people are into soda, or La Croix, or all the bottled stuff, and I get that–but it felt wasteful and expensive. My partner kindly picked up this iDrinkMate carbonator for us, which is basically the same as a SodaStream but it is allegedly more tolerant of working on juices etc. Which we have done! (Juice of one grapefruit straight into the bottle then water to the line is extremely refreshing.) But my go-to is herbal infusions, sometimes with lemon. Occasionally lime, but lemon doesn’t get as bitter, in my experience. Spearmint, peppermint, and rosemary are all amazing choices, but my favorite is lemon verbena.

Iced tea

Above: A glass of Moroccan mint green iced tea.

OK, so I like herbs in things, I guess, because my iced tea preferences veer in an herbal direction. Black iced tea is great, but I don’t like to overdo it on the caffeine on hot afternoons. Blends with hibiscus, lemongrass, and mint are lovely, but I have to admit that lately I’ve been loving mint green tea the most.

Cold brew coffee

Above: Pouring cold-brewed coffee from a French press into a jar through cheesecloth to filter out grinds.

God, I love coffee. I have a 20-oz. insulated mug that works great for hot or iced, but when the weather demands it, there’s nothing better than cold brew. I make it in my French press (which isn’t how I like to make hot coffee, for what it’s worth–I’m a pour over kinda person). For me, one batch lasts two days, so basically one day I set up a new batch, the next day I strain it. Every once in awhile I’ll add some nondairy milk, but usually it’s just black coffee on ice. Ahhhhh.