It’s going to be a summer like no other, with pandemic restrictions forgotten and big holiday weekends ahead. If you are gathering with friends and family this summer, you don’t have to let alcohol ruin the party. But drinking doesn’t have to accelerate just because you’ve got something to celebrate.
To help get you ready for summer, we’ve put together an amazing alcohol-free pitcher cocktail that you can make for summer celebrations. Designed as a layered cocktail with easily scalable proportions, you can make it in an individual glass or in a jug for sharing.
This recipe is inspired by the Summer Cup, a refreshing blend of alcohol-free pale, fruit soda and ginger kombucha, developed by Camille Vidal from La Maison Wellness. But with so many alcohol-free beers available, not to mention craft sodas and kombuchas, this recipe gives you the flexibility to find a blend of ingredients that works for you. Hoppy bitterness from beer, fruity sweetness from soda and sour tartness from kombucha blend to create a mouth-watering taste explosion in your mouth.
If you think pitcher cocktails are watery and disappointing, think again.
How to make a perfect pitcher cocktail
In this video, recorded at Club Soda’s alcohol-free off-licence earlier this year, Laura demonstrates how to make an alcohol-free summer cup cocktail.
Ingredients (per serving)
- 75ml/2.5 oz. kombucha
- 75ml/2.5 oz. alcohol-free pale ale
- 75ml/2.5 oz. fruit soda
- Mint leaves
- Fruit – such as sliced strawberry, blueberries
- Cucumber slices
- Take equal parts kombucha, alcohol-free pale ale and fruit soda
- Layer in a jug with plenty of ice, adding fruit, mint and cucumber
- Stir and serve with a garnish.
Because it’s non-alcoholic, this is a drink that everyone can enjoy. Consider serving it to guests as they arrive at a summer party or celebration.
Kombucha for your pitcher cocktail
For her version of the summer cup, Laura chose a fiery ginger kombucha from Genie Drinks. It’s a fruity, fermented soda made with black tea and organic ginger extract that’s 100% vegan, ethically and sustainably sourced. Like all kombuchas, it contains fermented cultures and antioxidants to help you feel good. At the time of writing (May 2022), it’s out of stock directly from Genie themselves but is available elsewhere both in-store and online.
Alternatively, you might try a kombucha from LA Brewery. Like Genie, they have a ginger flavoured kombucha, and a wide range of other products perfect for summer serves. Remedy Kombucha is another option and is widely available in supermarkets.
There are other kombuchas out there that you definitely should try. If you want to dial back on the ginger spiciness of Laura’s choice, Lo Bros kombucha offers a wide range of flavours, including raspberry and lemon, green apple and watermelon – all lip-smacking summer flavours. Or you could create a champagne-style cocktail with one of REAL Kombucha‘s range of sparkling drinks based on exquisite loose-leaf teas.
With so many options of kombucha for your pitcher cocktail, different flavour combinations open up, especially when you start considering your soda options.
Pitcher cocktail soda options
Broadly speaking, any fruit-based soda is going to do a good job in your alcohol-free pitcher cocktail. Orange, strawberry and lemon fruit sodas are widely available in big bottles, so if you are looking for a budget ingredient, this is a good option.
For her summer cup, Laura chose Citrus Crush from craft soda producers Square Root. Citrus Crush is a blend of blood orange and pink grapefruit with just a hint of sugar for balance. Square Root offer a wide range of soda flavours. Their rhubarb soda or raspberry lemonade could be a great addition to your pitcher cocktail.
If you’ve missed out on ginger in your kombucha, you could find it in your soda instead. Cloudwater‘s blueberry, pear and ginger soda will add complexity and depth to your pitcher cocktail, with fragrant cardamom, and the dryness of blueberries tannins adding balance.
Or explore the scents of an English garden with the Hipstar soda from Allotment Drinks. Considering pairing this ingredient with a gentler kombucha and an uncomplicated pale ale, to allow the borage, rose, cucumber, meadowsweet, and rosehip notes to shine.
Choosing an alcohol-free pale ale
Pale ales are in abundance, and many great options are available alcohol-free. On the day, Laura used Brewdog Punk AF, with juicy tropical fruit aromas, and notes of grass and pine. You can find it widely in supermarkets.
Also mentioned in the video is Smashed Pale by Drynks. With flavours of caramel and toffee and a passionfruit aroma, you can see how your choice of beer can transform your pitcher cocktail.
There are pale ales to choose from brewers big and small. A relative newcomer to the UK market, Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing produce beers at a range of strengths, including their 0.5% Small Kingdom IPA. Scottish-based Jump Ship are developing a range of alcohol-free beers of different types; their Flying Colours pale ale is a good match for your pitcher cocktail. For a hazy twist, try Good Karma’s Positive Vibrations, a 0.2% New England pale ale. Or Unltd’s alcohol-free IPA is a solid choice for a classic pale ale style.
You’ll find increasing numbers of alcohol-free pale ales in supermarkets. Keep an eye out for our favourites, like Big Drop’s Paradiso Citra IPA, Drop Bear Beer’s Yuzu Pale Ale, Ghost Ship from Adnam’s or any of Athletic Brewing‘s growing range of alcohol-free IPA’s, like Run Wild, Free Wave and countless other specials.
Your choice of pale ale will push your pitcher cocktail in all sorts of flavour directions, so why not experiment. As with all the other ingredients of the summer cup pitcher cocktail, you’ll also be left with great-tasting alcohol-free drinks which can be enjoyed in their own right.
Share your alcohol-free cocktail creation
So, there are seemingly endless combinations. Push on beyond our suggestions too. If you find a great tasting kombucha, soda and alcohol-free pale ale you love, you can bring them together to make a refreshing drink that everyone can enjoy.
We’d love to know how you get on. If you make an outstanding summer cup pitcher cocktail, share your creations with us by tagging @joinclubsoda on Instagram. We’ll like and share our favourites.