Editor's note: We're sharing a new juice or smoothie recipe every weekday in January. Got a favorite juice or smoothie combo? Tell us about it in the comments section! Looking for more smoothie and juice ideas? Start here...
How many of you are taking January off from drinking? How's that going? I'm guessing that either you: 1) feel clearheaded and energetic, happy and healthy, and even more committed to treating your body better in 2014. Or 2) you could really use a cocktail right about now... Either way, this juice is for you.
I kind of hate the word 'mocktail'—it seems girly and fake, and makes me think of overly sweet and pink virgin strawberry daiquiris used for toasting at a baby shower. Non-drinkers deserve better. And more and more cocktail bars are remembering that, providing a section on the menu that's booze free.
We've discussed some of the keys to creating delicious alcohol-free cocktail substitutes before: it can help to include a touch of spice to echo alcohol's heat. Here, that's done with a little fresh ginger. It's not enough to give a big gingery flavor, just a flare on the tongue that could just as well be booze.
Of course, any drink, alcoholic or not, should balance sweet and sour: in this combination, the sweetness (and the drink's rich base) comes from ripe Anjou pears. You don't need to peel them before juicing, though I do recommend removing the stem and seeds.
The most important part of this drink, though, is a handful of kumquats. If you have a juicer and you haven't put kumquats in it yet, you're doing it wrong. These little buggers add tangy, piercingly tart acidity and just a hint of bitterness. They take the mellow pear juice and amp it up into cocktail land, as if you'd poured in a dose of, say Aperol, or even Campari and lime. The three parts together—ginger's heat, pear's sweet, and the tartness and bitterness of the kumquats—work wonderfully. You won't miss the booze, I promise.