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The Villages
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Florida-grown holiday mocktails make the day merry and bright

The holiday festivities are always more fun with something warm or bubbly in your hand, and Florida’s plethora of agriculture lends itself to many sippable options. Here are just a few Florida-friendly mocktail options that you can use to make your parties and cozy moments a little more festive.

From Florida’s juicy watermelons to iconic citrus, there are plenty of ingredients to choose from when making your Florida-friendly mocktails this holiday season.

Fresh citrus contains vitamin C, and fresh strawberries and blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, said Jessica Frisch, nutrition educator at UF/IFAS Orange County Extension Office. She said the free-radical-fighting power of antioxidants may help prevent cancer and other health conditions.

Florida’s flowering plant and cousin to the hibiscus, the roselle, can be used to make roselle syrup that is “chock full of antioxidants,” Frisch said. She said she enjoyed a mocktail of roselle syrup and seltzer water recently at a brunch and found it refreshing.

Citrus like oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons will “definitely check your Vitamin C boxes,” she said.

And opting for a mocktail instead of a cocktail means your gut health will benefit since alcohol can hurt the healthy flora in one’s stomach and you’ll feel more refreshed in the morning.

“Your body will thank you,” Frisch said.

Roselle Berry Fizz:

  • Ingredients: Roselle syrup (made from hibiscus), mixed berries, lime juice, sparkling water, ice and mint.
  • Instructions: Make roselle syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. Add cleaned and dried roselle calyces (the red part of the hibiscus plant). Simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Strain and let it cool.
  • Muddle the berries, combine with the fresh lime juice, add the roselle syrup, pour into glasses, top with sparkling water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Key Lime Pie in a Mug:

  • Ingredients: ¼ cup of Key lime juice, one cup of coconut milk, graham cracker crumbs and a splash of vanilla
  • Instructions: Mix key lime juice with coconut milk, add vanilla and top with graham cracker crumbs. Warm to your liking.

Spiced Orange Cider:

  • Ingredients: Orange juice, apple cider, cloves and a cinnamon stick.
  • Instructions: Combine orange juice and apple cider and then add cloves and the cinnamon stick. Warm on the stove without boiling.

Tropical Tea Delight:

  • Ingredients: Hibiscus tea, pineapple juice, orange zest and a teaspoon of honey.
  • Instructions: Brew hibiscus tea, mix in pineapple juice to taste, add orange zest and sweeten with honey. Serve warm.

Citrus Sparkler:

  • Ingredients: Orange juice, grapefruit juice, sparkling water and ice.
  • Instructions: Mix equal parts orange and grapefruit juice, add ice, and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of orange or grapefruit.

Berry Blizzard Fizz:

  • Ingredients: Blueberries, strawberries, sparkling water, mint leaves and ice.
  • Instructions: Muddle blueberries and strawberries in a glass, add ice, and top with sparkling water. Garnish with mint leaves.

Watermelon Frost:

  • Ingredients: Watermelon juice, lime juice, mint leaves, sparkling water and ice.
  • Instructions: Combine watermelon juice and lime juice, add mint leaves and top with sparkling water. Serve over ice.

Sunshine Cooler:

  • Ingredients: Orange juice, pineapple juice, coconut water and ice.
  • Instructions: Mix equal parts orange juice and pineapple juice, add coconut water and pour over ice.

Blueberry Bliss Punch:

  • Ingredients: Blueberry juice, lemonade, ginger ale, frozen blueberries and ice.
  • Instructions: Mix blueberry juice and lemonade, add ginger ale and stir. Garnish with frozen blueberries and serve over ice.

Virgin Mojito:

  • Ingredients: One cup mint leaves, spoonful of sugar, lime juice, club soda, ice and lime slices.
  • Instructions: Muddle mint and sugar, add the lime juice, pour the mixture over ice, top with club soda and garnish with fresh mint and a slice of lime.

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