Celebrate with a mocktail!
Give ageing and pro-inflammatory alcohol a miss this year and celebrate the festive season with my natural, healthy and utterly delicious mocktail. It is my version of a drink I discovered in Madeira a few years ago, and I can assure you that it ticks all the boxes when it comes to merriment and good cheer. Based on berries, lychees and ginger, it is deeply coloured and flavoured, with a good hint of background warmth and an exotic, almost enigmatic fragrance from the lychees.
And what about the mocktail’s nutritional talents? It is high in sugar of course because of the honey required to sweeten the berries, but it is Christmas after all and the nutrients contributed by the fruit and ginger are more than enough to assuage any feelings of guilt! Berries are packed with Vitamins A, C and K and antioxidants such as anthocyanins and polyphenols; lychees are also very high in Vitamin C and polyphenols and have anti-viral properties; and ginger is powerfully anti-inflammatory, can reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and helps to balance blood sugar levels. So drink up and celebrate!
A MADEIRAN MOCKTAIL TO CELEBRATE THE FESTIVE SEASON
Makes 500 ml/1 pint, enough for 4 champagne flutes
300 g/11 oz fresh lychees
150 g/5 oz frozen mixed berries, defrosted
30 g/1 oz fresh ginger, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
Clear honey, to taste
4 champagne flutes
4 drinking straws
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup chilled sparkling mineral water or as needed
For the optional garnish:-
4 fresh raspberries
4 fresh blackberries
8 large blueberries
Peel the lychees and slice the flesh from the stones. Place in a food processor or blender, add the berries and ginger and blend to a smooth purée. Strain through a nylon sieve, scrape into a jug and refrigerator until very cold.
For the garnish, thread a raspberry and a blackberry onto a cocktail stick, followed by a blueberry at each end.
When you are ready to serve the mocktail, stir in honey to taste – the quantity will depend on the sharpness of the berries and the sweetness of the lychees – and one cup of sparkling mineral water. Give it all a good whisk and add a bit more water if it is too thick – it needs to be runny enough to drink through a straw.
Pour the mocktail into champagne flutes, add a straw and garnish with the skewer of fresh berries.