About halfway through the cold, wet, and rainy winter, I realize I’ve had enough and start longing for spring. It still brings rain, but at least it starts to get warmer out and I start to feel like hosting fun brunches for my friends and family. That’s where this Sparkling Citrus Mocktail comes in. With lemon, lime, and grapefruit, it can serve as a mocktail or a cocktail for those that want a little extra in their drink.
This is a pretty simple concoction, especially if you buy a lemon simple syrup instead of making it. At that point you’re just mixing things together, which is about as straightforward as you can get. If you want to make your own, it’s easy, I promise. Full disclosure – I used these directions from The Spruce to make the simple syrup, but I’m including the instructions in my own words in the recipe so you can easily see all the directions at the same time.
When making the simple syrup, you just combine the ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer, add the zest, then let cool. And you’re done. Really. Then you add it to the other mocktail ingredients, give it a little extra with a raspberry garnish, and you’ve got yourself an easy and citrusy mocktail. Plus it looks pretty. And it’s always more fun to eat and drink food that looks pretty.
A couple of quick notes about this mocktail:
– Unless you’re seriously adverse to doing things in the kitchen, juice your own grapefruit. It will cost less than buying a jug of it, be less sugary, and taste better.
– Make this drink right before you’re going to serve it. You can make the syrup ahead of time, but wait to mix it all together. Otherwise the sparkling water will fizz out, which is not nearly as fun.
– If the mocktail will be sitting out, put some ice cubes in it but don’t put more than a cup or two. Otherwise it will water down the mixture and the flavor won’t be as good.
– To make a cocktail with this drink, just add an ounce or two (or more if you’re really partying it up) of champagne, prosecco, or cava. No need to be fancy with your alcohol here as the taste will be masked by the citrus, so going for the cheap stuff is fine.
– The recipe is for 8 servings of about 5 to 6 ounces each. If you need more you can easily double (or triple!) the recipe.
Now that you’ve got the drinks squared away, what else are you having at your brunch? If you need ideas, I’ve got you covered. Check these recipes out for some inspiration:
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Recipe for Sparkling Citrus Mocktail
Sparkling Citrus Mocktail for a Brunch Crowd
- 32 ounces unsweetened sparkling lime-flavored water
- 8 ounces grapefruit juice fresh squeezed is preferred, about 2 medium grapefruits
- 4 ounces lemon simple syrup
- 8 raspberries for garnish
- 1 to 2 cups of ice cubes optional
For lemon simple syrup:
- 3 to 4 lemons enough for ½ cup of juice
- ½ cup sugar
- Microplane or zester
- Small bowl or container
- Measuring cup
- Medium saucepan
- Citrus juicer
- Whisk or wooden spoon
- Medium bowl
- Fine mesh strainer
- Jar or other container with a lid
To make the syrup:
Zest the peel of one of the lemons, being sure to only zest the yellow part, not the pith. The pith is the white part under the peel and can make the syrup bitter. Set the zest aside in a small bowl or container.
Juice the lemons into the measuring cup, until you have half a cup of juice. This could take 3 or 4 lemons, depending on how juicy your lemons are.
Put the lemon juice into a medium saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Pour the sugar into the juice and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until fully combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer until slightly thickened. This will take at least 10 minutes, possibly up to 15. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally so it thickens evenly.
After the mixture has thickened, stir in the lemon zest then transfer to a bowl to let cool for roughly 20 minutes.
Once cooled, place a fine mesh strainer over a jar (or other container you’re using to store it) and pour the syrup in. Place the lid on the jar and store the syrup in the fridge. The syrup can keep in the fridge for at least one month.
To make the mocktail:
Juice the grapefruit over the measuring cup until you have 8 ounces of juice. Pour the juice into the pitcher.
Pour the unsweetened sparkling lime-flavored water into the pitcher.
Pour 4 ounces of lemon simple syrup into the pitcher, stirring to combine all the liquids.
If drink will be placed out of the fridge, place ice cubes into the mixture to keep it cool, using only a cup or two so as not to dilute the drink too much.
Upon serving, pour the mixture into each glass and place a raspberry in each drink as a garnish.
-Unless you're seriously adverse to doing things in the kitchen, juice your own grapefruit. It will cost less than buying a jug of it, be less sugary, and taste better.
- Make this drink just before being served, as the sparkling water will go flat after sitting out for too long.
- This mocktail can be made into a cocktail by adding an ounce or two of champagne, prosecco, or cava to each glass.
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