National parks inspire us in all kinds of ways. They might inspire you to explore, to learn, to give back to your community — and if you spend enough time out in the hot sun, they might inspire you to create one tasty drink recipe. These national park-inspired mocktails are the perfect refresher after a long day in the great outdoors.
Prickly Pear Mojito: Biscayne National Park
In addition to being a tropical paradise, Florida's Biscayne National Park is home to the world's largest population of semaphore prickly pear. Turns out, prickly pear juice is the key to this tasty mocktail, courtesy of My Man's Belly.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 16 mint leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 8 ounces sparkling water (or club soda)
- 8 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons prickly pear juice
- Add 8 mint leaves to each glass, then add in 4 teaspoons of sugar and juice from half of the lime to each glass. Muddle the mint leaves.
- Add half of the prickly pear juice to each glass and stir.
- Fill each glass with crushed ice.
- Top off the glasses with sparkling water.
- Garnish with a sugar cane stick and serve.
Mint Julep: New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Inspired by the laid-back atmosphere of New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, this alcohol-free mint julep from allrecipes.com is perfect for Bourbon Street and beyond.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 1/2 cup prepared lemonade
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of chopped mint. Stir and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool. After about an hour, strain out mint leaves.
- Fill 2 cups with crushed ice. Pour 1/2 of the lemonade into each glass, and top it off with a splash of the sugar syrup.
- Garnish each with a mint sprig and a straw to serve.
Lavender Lemonade: Olympic National Park
The lush farmland around Olympic National Park yields a bountiful harvest of all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including the fresh lavender that makes a perfect addition to a refreshing lemonade, courtesy of Simply Recipes.
Ingredients (serves 6):
- A small handful of fresh, rinsed lavender flowers (or a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers)
- 1 cup of white, granulated sugar
- 2 cups of boiling water for the infusion
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups or more of cold water
- Cut the lavender flowers from the stems and place in a medium bowl. Pour the sugar over the flowers and gently rub the flowers into the sugar.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the lavender sugar and stir until the sugar has melted. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Strain the lavender-infused syrup and pour into a pitcher.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Add another two cups of water. Taste and adjust for tartness (add more lemon juice if too sweet, or add more sugar if too tart).
Peach Bellini: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Did you know Cuyahoga Valley is home to rows and rows of orchards that produce several types of fruits? Peach start flowering in early spring and are ripe for picking by summer. This Bellini recipe from A Spoon Full of Sugar inspires a peachy twist on a classic brunch favorite!
Ingredients (makes 1 serving):
- 1 bottle of sparkling grape juice, chilled
- 2 cups of peach nectar, chilled
- 1 cup crushed ice
- fresh mint
- Mix together nectar and crushed ice.
- Top off glass with chilled grape juice.
- Add a sprig of mint and serve immediately.
Huckleberry Margarita: Grand Teton National Park
Vianney Rodriguez got her first taste of the huckleberry fruit on an American Latino Expedition to Grand Teton National Park. She fell in love with their sweet tartness and created a recipe for a huckleberry margarita! Here, we’ve shared a twist on her original that can be enjoyed by all.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
- 2 tablespoons huckleberry jam
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup sparkling water
- Combine huckleberry jam, sparkling water, and lime juice in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve in a salt rimmed glass over ice.
Getting thirsty? If one of these tasty mocktail recipes doesn't quench your thirst, make up your own! You can share your creation for all the world to see at FindYourPark.com!
Image credits: Jesse Ready via Share the Experience, Vianney Rodriguez