Bill’s Bitter

He so rarely gets a good non-alcoholic drink when we go out places. In restaurants, there’s usually mediocre iced tea, maybe some sodas. At drinking friend’s homes, there’s water. Maybe a soda, maybe not. Indeed, he’s always very grateful to our friend Theresa, because she makes an active effort to have interesting beverages beyond water for him.

Me? I just have gotten so used to cocktails, beer, and wine that I tend to want fairly complex drinks, even when I don’t want booze. Tea, when it’s good, often fills this niche. It’s how Bill finally got me into coffee.

But, sometimes, we want something even more. Or maybe we want cool drinks. Let me tell you what, iced coffee and iced tea only occasionally provide the fun we’re looking for in cool drinks.

This came about when I told Bill I really wanted a Paloma, but didn’t want the tequila. I wanted the acidity, crispness, and complexity of a boozy drink. But I just didn’t want booze.

Well, he knows what he’s doing. So he walked into the kitchen and came back out with the “mocktail” below. It’s wonderful. Deeply refreshing, cool, has some bite, and just generally feels “grown up.”

It’s the perfect summer balcony drink, for lushes and teetotalers both. You can bet that I’ll be drinking this until it gets cold in Chicago. And as we leave for New Mexico today, I’ll be putting away the ingredients in our hotel fridge, to have during downtime. I’ll probably even share with my family.

h2. Ingredients

1/2 lime
Angostura bitters

12 oz San Pelligrino Grapefruit Soda


h2. Instructions

Put the ice in a shaker pint glass. Keep it a fairly small amount of ice. Squeeze the lime directly over the ice; the pulp makes this more texturally interesting. Add 2 dashes of the bitters, then stir pretty thoroughly. You want to get this part mixed up well before adding the soda. Once you’re happy with your mixing, carefully pour the soda over the ice. If you kept the ice minimal, you should be able to get all 12 oz into the glass. Stir a little, to further mix the flavors, but try to keep it minimal, as the carbonation is a big part of this drink.


h2. Notes

While I’d imagine other grapefruit sodas could work here, the thing that really makes this cocktail, to me, is that it’s fairly bitter. I haven’t tried it with Squirt or Fresca, but I can’t help but think they’d be too sweet for this to be as refreshing a drink. But, hey, try it if you’d like, or if those are what you have on hand!

Bitterness can also be adjusted with the Angostura, of course. I like two solid dashes, but three has been tasty too. I think Bill agrees with me, though he’ll tend toward more of the bitter, overall, than I would.

Finally, I find this cocktail is wonderful at all times, but best enjoyed at the end of the day, out on the patio or balcony, with a friend or family member consuming one too. Not only does it enhance camaraderie, it uses up the whole lime.