Marvelous Mocktails: The Blood Orange Nojito

About ten weeks ago, I found out I am going to be a dad. I couldn’t be happier at the prospect of having a wee one to teach, nuture and love, but it has bought to light a bit of a hole in my entertaining repertoire. What do you serve to someone who is not drinking? As I’ve been making quite a few of these creations, you can probably expect them to become a regular feature until mid-March, next year.

The first bit of theory, I think I’ve nailed down, is that even though my fiancée is going for a non alcoholic option, the drink should still look good. Second, as her tastes change, what was a hit yesterday is not necessarily going to be a hit tomorrow, so you might need to change the measure of sugar to taste. The recipe I’ve put down here balances the sweet and sour, but you could quite easily forgo sugar and use mint as a garnish.

The Blood Orange Nojito

Cut two thin wheels of blood orange and insert one on each side of the glass, then fill the vessel with ice. Pour 20 mls of mint syrup over the ice and top with soda, finish the drink with 20 mls of blood orange juice.

Mint syrup can be made a number of ways, but I find adding three peppermint tea bags to 250 ml of water and leaving them to steep for ten minutes and the dissolving 500 grams of sugar is the best way to get a minty and silky result.


Gins & Tonic


I am sure that some people will try and tell me that this is not a cocktail. Some may even question the pluralisation of Gin, but i’ve been told its Gins & Tonic by far too many barmen to consider writing it any differently.

The definition of a cocktail I like best is a fine spirit, slightly improved. The Gin & Tonic truly embodies this fine ideal. It is also one of the easiest cocktails in the world to make. Add any quantity of Gin to an iced glass top with tonic and lightly flavor with citrus. tall glasses on a long day, short ones in more serious company.

The choice of Gin again is up to personal preference. Bombay Sapphire is my Dad’s standby, Gordon’s makes a fine G&T, Beefeater too. My own personal favorite is the Tanqueray and Tonic, particularly when its made with the very special and very preeemium Tanqueray No. Ten. Legend has it this Gin is made from the only still at the Tanqueray distillery to escape Hitlers bombers during the blitz. It is a well crafted and very smooth example of the category, and one that works with almost any type of citrus you can lay your hands on. 

Most drinkers will be familiar with swapping lemon for lime, and on occasion orange or grapefruit. I would encourage you to try a decent measure (say squeeze two or three segments into the drink) of Tangelo, Blood Orange, Pomelo, Yuzu frankly, if its citrus it will change the profile of the drink, swap between a few during the course of the night.

My father used to ask for two fingers of Gin, in a glass with no ice, topped with cold tonic. It remains a great drink, so long as you whip through them before they warm up.

Here’s how I like it: at least 60 mls Gin, poured into an ice filled glass. Three segments of whatever citrus is at hand and between 90 and 150 mls of tonic to fill the glass. Savour the taste of the spirit, the cold of the ice, the sour of the citrus and the tangy effervesence that comes with the addition of tonic.

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