Thursday, January 10, 2013

Detox January Mocktails: The Bul

Cuban bul mocktail
Yes, it's Detox January, but that doesn't mean we have forsaken Cocktail Hour in the casa de Ninj.

We've just turned it into Mocktail Hour.

The first week, we drank these spicy, amazing virgin Bloody Marys (hey, if I can increase my veggie intake by drinking them, sign me up).

This week, I remembered a refreshing drink made with beer and ginger ale that we used to drink during the summer when we lived in California. And that made me remember my Detox January secret weapon from years past.

Near beer.

Now, now, stop making those ugly retching noises. Non-alcoholic beers are much improved since the 1980s; even the makers of Guinness have gotten in on the no-alcohol malt beverage game. No, they are not going to please a true beer connoisseur, but I doubt a beer connoisseur would be contemplating mixing beer with ginger ale either, so it's all good.

This mocktail is called a bul (pronounced "bool", even though we jokingly pronounce it "byool", in honor of our friend Rob who used to drink them with us and who also owns a Buell motorcycle) and is Cuban in origin. The traditional recipe is simple: combine one 12-ounce bottle of pale ale or light beer with one 12-ounce can of ginger ale, add 1.5 ounces lime juice (fresh is best but bottled works in a pinch), stir and serve. It's crazily refreshing and light, with just a hint of limey tang.

For our mocktail version, I used near beer (O'Doul's, to be specific) and diet ginger ale. Given that the ginger ale and the lime juice contain no calories, each bul is only ... wait for it ... 35 calories.


Yes, 35-calorie mocktail hour.

I may never drink a gimlet again. Even in Retox February.

Do you have a favorite drink that I could turn into a mocktail? The Ninj wants to know.


  1. How did you find ginger ale with no calories??

    1. It's *diet* ginger ale, Pam (Schwepp's). I don't drink soda at all but I make this one exception to be able to get thru Detox January. :-)

  2. we do virgin mojitos:


    1/4 ruby or pink grapefruit, cut into small chunks and seeds removed
    2 tbs. agave syrup or honey
    12 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
    1/2 cup pink grapefruit soda or flavored mineral water, plus more as needed

    mint sprigs, for garnish

    Put the grapefruit pieces, agave and mint in a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, smash the fruit until the juice is released. Add one cup small ice cubes to the shaker with the half cup soda; attach the lid and shake furiously until combined. Divide between two rocks glasses, add more ice if desired, and top off with additional soda. Stir, garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

    1. Nice, Julia -- those sound lovely, thanks for sharing the recipe.