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The Art of the Cocktail Party: Picture-Perfect Elixirs

The Zen Maven, Jules Aron


Jules is a holistic wellness and nutrition coach and the best-selling author of Zen and Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker and the newly released Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes


With so many folks embracing different diets these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to accommodate everyone at your party... or not! One thing everyone has in common in their diet, whether they realize it or not, is plant-based foods. Throwing a vegan cocktail party is actually an easy way to bring people closer together. For starters, no one needs to worry about whether they can eat something or not. It’s also more economical for the host. And if you’re worried you don’t know enough vegan recipes, think again. Most snacks, dips, spreads and condiments are vegetable-based, and those that include mayo and dairy are an easy sub. So, let’s get started! (Check out these recipes for classic fondue and smoky chipotle.)

Goodbye, processed sugars and artificial flavors. Hello, elixirs infused with fruits, herbs, botanicals and superfoods!

Summer in Winter Thyme Cocktail

This quintessential summer cocktail, bursting with fresh, juicy strawberries, gets a touch of sophistication with the penetrating herbal fragrance of fresh thyme. It pairs amazingly well with gin’s botanical notes; however, if you are not a gin lover, you can easily replace the gin with vodka or experiment further by mixing the cocktail with a bolder tequila.

¼ cup strawberries

3 thyme sprigs

1 lemon wedge

3 oz gin

Place the strawberries, 2 of the thyme sprigs and the lemon wedge in a shaker and muddle well; alternatively, you can juice them, fill the shaker with ice, add the gin and shake well. Double strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the remaining thyme sprig.

Superfood Spotlight

With antibacterial properties and high amounts of vitamins, thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems.

Blueberry Patch

Makes 6 to 8 servings

The basil and blueberry are a heavenly match in this delightfully refreshing spritzer.

3 cups blueberries, divided

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups vodka

1 cup Blueberry Lavender Syrup (see below)

4 cups soda water (try Fever-Tree Sparkling Lemon)

Fresh culinary-grade lavender sprigs or Candied Lavender Sprigs for garnish (see page 36 in Zen and Tonic)

Freeze 1 cup of the blueberries. Muddle the remaining 2 cups of blueberries, adding the lime juice to the mixture. Shake in an ice-filled shaker, then double strain into a pitcher. Add the vodka and syrup. Add the cup of frozen berries to the pitcher. Pour into 6 to 8 ice-filled glasses and top with soda. Garnish with a sprig of lavender.

Blueberry Lavender Syrup

1 cup blueberries

1 cup agave

1 cup water

¼ cup culinary-grade lavender (organic, if available)

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stir and let boil until the agave has fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing the blueberries to get all of their juices. Transfer to a clean jar, cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Superfood Spotlight

Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important part in bone development and converting carbohydrates and fats into energy. These little powerhouses provide tasty ways of staying healthy. Basil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities will help you fight bacteria, viruses and chronic illness.

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