Lightly fermented summer thirst quencher that will wow everyone
Last summer I wrote a lovely blog post on my other blog, My Herbal-Roots about refreshing and herbal non-alcoholic drinks for the summer. (I also touched on how alcoholism has effected my own personal life and how important it is to keep making non-alcoholic drinks that actual taste good.
In that post I a mango herbal punch was included, and, I adapted this recipe from that one. I use a method of lightly fermenting fruit in a mason jar, allowing it to macerate alongside seasonal herbs and spices and then turn that into a syrup and then mix it with coconut water for a refreshing summer beverage san the booze! The result is a deeply layered and ultra-flavorful summer drink that feels like a cocktail, but keeps you sober.
I stumbled upon the book Gazoz: The Art of Making Magical, Seasonal Sparkling Drinks which celebrates and demonstrates the genius of Tel Aviv legend Benny Briga and his sparkling water drinks infused with fruit, spices, flowers and herbs. Long an admirer of Israel’s amazing selection of nonalcoholic drinks, and specifically sparkling fruit beverages, I was immediately intrigued.
I had spent a great deal of time in Israel over the years for my organic agricultural work and a lot of time in Tel Aviv and one of the many things I love about Tel Aviv is how non-alcoholic drinks there are common and delicious. By no means am I implying that the alcohol scene is mild there or that the dark side of that doesn’t exist. There is a booming and beautiful craft cocktail and beer scene, and some of my favorite wines are produced in Israel. Alcohol is just as accessible there as anywhere else. The difference is that the nonalcoholic options are as well, and I’m not talking coca cola and sprite. I’m talking about fresh mint icy limeades, fresh cherry beverages, and creamy tahini frothy things. No matter where you go, nonalcoholic options are abundant, fresh and utterly delicious.
The book is timely in that here in the US we are starting to see more of moment toward non alcoholic beverages, although it seems to be dominated with kombucha offerings. I’d argue that we (Americans) tend to do less fresh and more processed than most other countries, and we are therefore behind. More reason to keep pushing it, not just where it already thrives in places like LA and NYC or San Fran but also places like here in Missouri where even the booze options seem overly processed and laden with sugar.
I often always have mangoes that are way too ripe in the summer because I can’t eat it fast enough or time it right and I have #MuchosMangoes for the Crespo Organic Kitchen endeavors so this recipe is a life saver for me. The result is a really refreshing zero proof mango-centric drink with lots of character and depth.
(Lightly) Fermented Mango-Peach Summer Tea Spritzer
Makes 1 pitcher (about 1 ½ quarts)
For the mason jar maceration (Mango Peach Syrup)
1 cup cubed mangoes
2 peaches cubed
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice 1 lemon
Pinch of cinnamon
1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 bag earl grey tea
For the iced tea
Mango Peach Syrup
2-3 cups coconut water
For the Mango Peach Syrup
Place all the ingredients for the Mango Peach Syrup i a mason jar. Cover and shake well. Leave on your countertop in a cool, non-bright location for three to four days. Open the mason jars daily to release any trapped gasses that begin to occur as the fruit begins fermentation.
Fill the jars with hot water , stir well and let sit for about 20 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth ( the cheesecloth is optional but I prefer it) pushing out and extracting every single drop of juice. Discard the solids and place the syrup back in the mason jar and refrigerate. The syrup will keep f well for a week until you are ready to make your iced tea.
For the iced tea
Place the Mango Peach Syrup in a pitcher and add the coconut water and then a bunch of ice.