Friday Night Guest: Mark Arbouine on his favourite cocktail

Our first guest in the new series is Mark Arbouine, who gives us a way to enjoy wonderful tropical flavours without the sometime inconvenience of alcohol. Over to you, Mark!

Don’t Mock Mocktails – In Praise of The Virgin Piña Colada

Let’s talk about cocktails for the teetotallers amongst us. This might be where I lose those belonging to the booze brigade who think alcohol-free means bland and boring but they couldn’t be more wrong. Non-alcoholic cocktails, also known as mocktails, are a great option for those who choose not to consume alcohol or who simply want a refreshing and flavourful drink without the hangover. They can be made with a variety of ingredients, including fruit juices, herbs, and sodas, and can be just as delicious as their alcoholic counterparts. Mocktails are perfect for social events as they allow everyone including teetotallers, designated drivers, people on medication and those who want to limit their alcohol intake, to participate in the celebration without feeling left out.

One of the great things about non-alcoholic cocktails is that they are incredibly versatile. They can be sweet and fruity, like the clientele at a classy Mayfair bar, or tart and spicy, like the regulars at a less salubrious drinking establishment. Either way, there are countless taste combinations to explore to create complex and nuanced flavours that can rival any alcoholic drink.

Non-alcoholic cocktails are not only delicious, but they can also be a healthier option than their boozy counterparts. Many mocktails are made with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in vitamins and nutrients. They are often be lower in calories than alcoholic drinks, which can be loaded with sugar and other unhealthy additives. Mocktails are a great way to enjoy a delicious and refreshing drink without compromising your health or wellness goals.

Alcohol-free cocktails can be enjoyed at any time of day or night because unlike alcoholic drinks, which are often reserved for evening events, mocktails can be served at brunches, lunches, and even breakfasts. They are a great way to start the day on a positive note or to refresh and hydrate after a workout. Non-alcoholic cocktails are a fun and versatile beverage option that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their drinking preferences.

One of my favourite non-alcoholic cocktails is the virgin piña colada which I first tried in Bulgaria at the beginning of the millennium. At various points in my life, I have chosen not to drink alcohol, sometimes for a few months, other times for many years and on one such occasion it coincided with a holiday to this Balkan nation. I went into bar in Slanchev Bryag, a coastal resort on the Black Sea coast, thinking I would have to settle for teetotaller’s standby of an orange juice, coke or mineral water but I was pleasantly surprised that on their cocktail menu, in the bottom corner, was a small section for mocktails. The only name I sort of recognised was “Virgin Piña Colada” which I correctly assumed was an alcohol-free version of the famous cocktail. This drink is made with the following ingredients:

  • 75ml pineapple juice
  • 50ml coconut cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tbsp apple juice
  • 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar

Everything is blended together with a small amount of ice until it is smooth and is served in a glass garnished with a pineapple wedge. This drink is easy to make and is a great option for those who want to enjoy the flavours of the original piña colada without the alcohol.

The virgin piña colada’s flavour is an inviting mix of sweet and refreshing notes. The drink’s primary taste is derived from the pineapple, lending a vibrant and juicy sweetness to the mix. The pineapple’s juicy tanginess also adds a hint of sharpness to the beverage, enhancing the depth of its flavour. The smooth and creamy coconut cream bestows a luxurious richness to the drink and its texture perfectly balances the sharpness of the pineapple, adding a delicate, mellow creaminess that elevates the drink’s opulence and sophistication.

There are many of other non-alcoholic cocktails out there to try. You can experiment with different juices, syrups, and garnishes to create your own unique drinks. The great thing about mocktails is there are no rules, just get creative and have fun with it.

#cocktail #alcohol-free #bulgaria #fruit #health

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