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The Art in Bloom mocktail: A classic gin and tonic with a teetotaler twist

Collection connection: Keep it cool with this ice gun from Mia’s Modernism Collection, designed to crush cubes and fire an icy spray into cocktail glasses. Made by the Opco Company in 1935. Gift of Norwest Bank.

Art in Bloom, Mia’s perennial fundraiser produced by the Friends of the Institute, is now celebrating spring in place, thanks to COVID-19. So why not enjoy it at home with a wedge of fresh lime?

We’re talking, of course, about a gin and tonic. Few drinks announce the arrival of warmer months as briskly as this classic cocktail, invented by British officers in India trying to help their malarial medicine go down. For those of us sheltering in place—and aren’t we all—this sparkling drink signals sunnier days ahead.

Jay Nuhring, a Twin Cities–based fine artist, interior designer, and real estate agent, offers this recipe for his favorite non-alcoholic gin and tonic.

To your health!

Spring & Tonic Recipe

By Jay Nuhring

If you’re following the latest sobriety trend or taking a break from alcohol for other reasons, I want to share a fabulous alcohol-free concoction that can go head-to-head with the best gin and tonic recipe. Here’s my inspiration: I was reading The Spirit of Gin by Matt Teacher and learned some fascinating things. Did you know gin is a botanically infused vodka? And that it had a colorful, early 1700s origin in England?

As a gin and tonic lover, I wanted to see if I could re-create the unmistakable taste of gin, but without the alcohol. Most mocktails are loaded with fruit juice and sugary syrups. So the challenge was to create a recipe that highlighted the essence of gin with less sugar and no alcohol. I think I did it! Here is what I came up with.

Sprigs of rosemary add a woody undertone.

For the infusion:

  • 2 cups non-alcoholic (NA) white wine
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2–3” long lemon peels

For serving:

  • Tonic (good quality)
  • Ice
  • Garnish
  • Fresh lime wedge, squeezed
  • 1 small sprig rosemary

Instructions:

  1. Pour 2 cups non-alcoholic white wine into a quart mason jar or airtight glass container with lid.
  2. Slice two lemon peels; add to container along with juniper berries, rosemary, and cardamom.
  3. Close lid and store at room temperature for 1–2 days.
  4. Serve with tonic over ice in tall cocktail glass. (I like to use 1/3 infusion with 2/3 tonic, but you can experiment with the ratios.)
  5. Garnish with squeezed lime wedge and rosemary sprig.
  6. Store any remainder in refrigerator up to a week.