Part of the appeal of alcohol can be the taste so Brita hosted an event to inspire me to find a tasty alternative to alcohol. They worked with a mixologist to devise an exclusive list of mocktails that all use filtered water, to ensure they taste the best they can. I was unable to attend the event as I was on my holiday in France so our new 'Roving reporter' Maggie headed to the event to find out what it was all about. If you want to meet our new roving reporter you can head over to her blog here or say hi over on twitter. It can be tricky for some of the Where Are My Knees team to attend events as none of us are based in central London so I'm very happy to welcome Maggie to the team.
When I think of mocktails I just picture a restaurant adding soda to fruit juice and charging over the odds for it, so I was looking forward to Brita and Mixology showing me otherwise and proving that Dry January doesn't have to mean missing out on social events either.
We were welcomed to the Mixology lounge in Shoreditch with a glass of Brita filtered water. Not quite the glass of wine that is normally thrust in to your hands at events, but actually quite welcome after a day spent in a drying air-conditioned office environment. I'm very un-fond of tap water in London (I come from Scotland where the tap water may as well be straight from a spring) but Brita's filtration process really does make the difference – removing the harsh chemically elements from the tap water and leaving a clear, fresh and refreshing drink behind.
We were then divided in to groups across the mixing benches and shown how to mix four different drinks which we then recreated ourselves: a warm and comforting Hot Toddy; an Elderflower Julep, sweet and fresh with mint; the sharp and fragrent Lavender Sour; and a Pink Champagne punch, perfect for sharing with friends. These all, of course, featured Brita filtered water among a selection of more traditional (non-alcoholic) cocktail ingredients. My favourite was the Lavender Sour – I liked how the bitter lemon juice tasted against the floral lavender syrup, and if you didn't know better you would swear there was gin in the mix so I definitely didn't miss the alcohol at all. If you want to make any of the mocktails follow this link for pdf recipe cards.
Our mixologist also taught us about the history of the drinks, such as punch originated as a way for sailors to use up stale beer, or that 'julep' comes from a Persian word meaning rose water. It was also great fun to learn techniques such as using a mixer, muddling, churning, and capping the ice. Somehow I managed to get the hang of using and releasing the mixer from the glass straight away, which I thought I would struggle with.
After all of this, each team was then challenged to come up with a drink of their own invention. Our group came up with the Eldernut Slammer, as we decided that teetotalers shouldn't have to miss out on the fun of shots. We were beaten to the winning spot by a creation called 'Britalicious' but all attempts were judged as very drinkable, which we were told doesn't always happen at the Cocktail events, due to the quantity of alcohol people are under the influence of by the time they get to the competition.
The class and the whole evening was very enjoyable and it was nice to know I wouldn't be feeling worse for wear in the morning no matter how many of the drinks I enjoyed. Best of all, Brita sent us away with a Mocktail kit of our very own, so now I'm looking forward to inviting some friends around, impressing them with my bartending skills (hah!) and showing how to make tasty and interesting drinks with water instead of alcohol.