The beverage we’re about to break out delivers all the buzz of a cocktail without any of the booze.
No next-day-regretsies here!
Could you spill a little gin in there? Absolutely. But we’re keeping things family-friendly with this recipe. And it all starts with a humble but flavorful root.
If you’ve never worked with fresh ginger before, I can understand how your first glimpse of the stuff at the grocery store might be slightly traumatizing.
I mean, let’s be honest. An overflowing bin of the bulbous, hand-like roots looks like something out of one of the “Saw” movies.
But once you bring it home, pop off one of its stringy fingers, slice it into rounds, and allow its perfume to infuse the mixture that leads to this lovely libation, you’ll be wondering why it’s taken so long for ginger to top your list of go-to ingredients.
If you’re like me, however, and grew up with the rich spice as if it were a member of your extended family, the sight of those roots brings pure comfort.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has leaned into a holistic lifestyle and embraced alternative medicine. This meant that while other kids were downing spoonfuls from a bottle of pink goop to settle their stomachs, I was given peppermint essential oil to sniff, lavender to put behind my ears, and a curvy, ocean-blue crystal to calm my anxiety.
This all might sound a little odd to you, but for me, this was the norm.
Of all the hippy-dippy remedies I was offered, spicy, fresh ginger root was by far my favorite.
Much like the Windex in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” whether it was called upon to soothe tummy troubles as a child or adolescent anxieties, my parents faithfully relied on the fibrous little rhizome we call ginger as a dependable cure-all. They would soak a pile of the little golden rounds in boiling water whenever my sister and I needed a boost.
Its signature fragrance comes from its natural oils, one being gingerol, which is responsible for the majority of the rhizome’s known medicinal properties. Whether you use it for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, to aid an upset stomach, or even to help battle a nasty cold, the fierce, funny-looking root is a proven powerhouse.
Now that I’ve hyped you up on one of our main ingredients, let’s get cooking. Well, steeping.
Indulging in today’s recipe is a no-forks-required activity. Take a hike, silverware. Straws, it’s showtime! Here’s what I’ve learned about mixing up a delicious drink when no alcohol is involved:
Generous flavor, fragrance, and balance are your best friends.
Curious about how we achieve that in this effervescent liquid potion? Lions and tigers and… wait. That’s not it.
Herbs, spice, citrus, and sweetness.
Earthy, herbal mint creates the subtle cooling backbone of the drink, while tart lime juice brings a zip that hits your tongue in all the right spots. Rich, sticky honey cuts through the sourness and sparkling water adds a much-needed kick of carbonation.
For me, though, the most majestic element is the ginger. It’s bright, pungent, and peppery. What more could you want, to sip through a straw?
Go on, ginger. Give yourself a hand.Print
Need a bubbly beverage that packs a punch? Finished with sparkling water, this mint and lime libation is infused with spicy ginger.
- 2 cups water
- 2-inch knob fresh ginger root, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup honey
- Juice of 2–3 limes (about 1/3 cup), plus lime slices/wedges for garnish
- 2–3 cups ice
- 1 1/2 cups chilled sparkling water or club soda
- Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
- In a medium saucepot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the ginger and mint. Steep for 30 minutes.
- Using cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve, strain the liquid into a container big enough to hold 4 cups. Using the back of a spoon, press down on the ginger and mint to extract as much flavor as possible. Stir in the honey. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the refrigerator, and stir in the fresh lime juice.
- Divide the ice cubes among 4 10-ounce glasses and pour the mint-ginger beverage on top. Add sparkling water to taste/to fill the glasses, stir gently, and then garnish each glass with the lime slices or wedges, mint sprigs, and edible flowers.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Non-alcoholic
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: mint, lime, ginger, splash, non-alcoholic
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients
Measure about a 2-inch knob of ginger root. A whole “hand” of the rhizome looks like a knobby root with sections that can be broken off. You can use your hands to break off one of the smaller “fingers” to get what you need.
It doesn’t need to be peeled for this recipe, but it should be scrubbed so there’s no visible dirt. Slice into thin rounds.
Juice the limes. Set aside 4 nice mint sprigs and slice another lime into rounds or wedges that will be used for garnishing each drink. Measure the water, mint, honey, and lime juice.
Edible flowers can often be found next to the herbs in the produce section of higher-end grocery stores. They’re not a necessary part of the garnish, but they make for a colorful presentation.
Step 2 – Steep, Strain, and Sweeten Aromatic Mixture
Add the water to a medium saucepot and place it over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat.
Stir in the ginger and mint leaves. Allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes so the two ingredients can infuse the water with their flavor.
Using a piece of cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve, strain into a pitcher or lidded container that will hold at least 4 cups. Use the back of a spoon to push down on the slices and herbs so you can extract as much flavor as possible from the solids.
While your herbal infusion is still at room temperature, whisk in the honey. It won’t dissolve into the liquid as well once it’s chilled.
Step 3 – Chill and Add the Lime
Refrigerate until chilled, for at least 1 hour.
Stir in the fresh lime juice.
Step 4 – Pour over Ice, Garnish, and Serve
Tall and thin highball glasses are the best glassware option for serving. Fill 4 10-ounce glasses all the way to the brim with ice, then pour the mint-ginger beverage on top.
Top with sparkling water to fill the glasses, or add as much as you like to taste. Use a long iced tea spoon to gently stir the drink and combine all the elements.
Garnish each glass with the lime rounds or wedges, mint sprigs, and edible flowers. Serve with straws.
Since I decided to ditch the booze over a year ago, I still occasionally miss that bitter burn in my homemade, handcrafted beverages.
Luckily, the massive recent boom in the zero-proof liquor industry means there are plenty of complexly-flavored NA spirits you could splash into this drink. And you can draw a ton of inspiration from other drinks, like my passion fruit mocktail, to have some fun with various combinations.
Another route for playing with the profile of this refreshing mint lime mocktail is to take advantage of the plethora of sparkling water varieties on the shelves today.
From pineapple to coconut to pink lemonade, there are infinite carbonated choices to fizz things up.
How will you personalize this pretty drink and give it another layer of flavorful dimension? Share your creative cocktail-inspired ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
On the hunt for more ways to use up the rest of that ginger root? Give these spice-forward recipes a shot next:
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lori Jo Hendrix on August 14, 2012. Last updated on June 28, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”