Sweet Pepper Spritzer Mocktail

Sweet Pepper Spritzer Mocktails in glasses, garnished with lemon and pepper

The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Yield: 2 drinks
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
199 Calories
1g Fat
57g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 199
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 280mg 1,402%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 604mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The sweet pepper spritzer is a zero-proof cocktail recipe with a most unusual and intriguing flavor. Featuring red bell pepper and basil, it's a savory, lightly sweetened, sparkling drink that is a fantastic refreshment on warm days. Serve it during a cookout alongside pork, chicken, or vegetarian dishes, or when you simply want a garden-fresh beverage that's guaranteed to wake up your tastebuds.

Sweet peppers are typically reserved for food, but they also make an exciting drink ingredient. The key is to use red bell pepper, which is sweeter than other types of peppers, then muddle the pieces very well to extract the juice. Adding fresh basil gives the mocktail a sweet herbal flavor, while fresh lemon juice adds a zesty tartness. Using a sweeter soda like ginger ale along with agave nectar brings the flavor into balance.

This nonalcoholic spritzer recipe makes two drinks to avoid wasting the bell pepper, though it's easy to scale down for a single drink. While basil may be an obvious garnish, it doesn't look great for long once picked from the stem. The optional sprig of thyme will infuse the drink with an extra herbaceous taste, and other fresh herbs go great with the bell pepper when you want to change up the drink.

"This was a truly inventive mocktail, so different from the rest because of the red bell pepper and herb combination. Muddling the red bell pepper was an ingenious way to release beautiful color. The drink wasn't overly sweet and had just the right balance of herbal qualities. I'll definitely be making this again." —Diana Andrews

Sweet Pepper Spritzer Mocktail/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red bell pepper

  • 5 leaves fresh sweet basil

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

  • 10 ounces ginger ale

  • 2 lemon wheels, for garnish

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a Sweet Pepper Spritzer Mocktail

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Cut two thin strips of pepper and reserve for an optional garnish. Cut the remaining pepper into large chunks.

    Sliced peppers on a cutting board, with a knife

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Add the bell pepper chunks to the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Tear the basil leaves as you drop them in, and add the fresh-squeezed lemon juice and agave nectar.

    Peppers, basil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and agave nectar in a glass

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  4. Muddle very well to juice the bell pepper as much as possible.

    Muddling basil and bell peppers in a cocktail shaker

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  5. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

    Shake the cocktail shaker

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  6. Strain equal parts into two collins glasses filled with fresh ice cubes.

    Pepper mixture strained into glasses with ice

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  7. Top with ginger ale.

    Pepper cocktail in glasses, topped with ginger ale

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  8. Garnish each glass with a lemon wheel, red pepper slice, and sprig of thyme, if desired.

    Sweet Pepper Spritzer Mocktails garnished with pepper and lemon slices

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

Tips

  • To thoroughly juice bell pepper, you really need a blunt object. If you don't have a muddler, look for a similar flat-bottomed tool (e.g., pestle, tamper, or French rolling pin) in your kitchen.
  • Due to the freshness of the ingredients, this mocktail is not a great option for a pitcher drink. It's best made by the glass right before serving. However, it is quick enough to make so that you can whip up a few rounds in just a few minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Red bell peppers are rather versatile when it comes to herbal pairings. If you don't have basil, use about two tablespoons of fresh oregano, parsley, rosemary, or thyme leaves in the muddle. They all make a great garnish, too.
  • Other clear sodas will work well in this spritzer. Try lemon-lime soda instead, or add a bit more agave nectar when using an unsweetened option like club soda.
  • Simple syrup is not as sweet as agave nectar, so add 1 1/2 to two tablespoons to the cocktail shaker when using it as a substitute. Ginger syrup would be an excellent flavored option for this drink.
  • Want to give the drink a kick? Spike the spritzer with a shot of vodka or tequila.