Health-Forward Mocktail Recipe: The El Mino

Words by Ghazal Elhaei

This drink came to fruition during one of my bar test days as manager at Nuba restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown. We usually have this once a week: in between services, I work with my staff on different ingredients that we want to incorporate into our program.

We talked about how we really wanted a cocktail with cardamom, but without using bitters like most versions do. We tried so many combinations, and then while drinking a turmeric latte the next day, I thought: maybe turmeric? Weirdly enough, it worked. We always try to incorporate fresh ingredients into our cocktails by using our in house-pressed juices and spices. We want our beverage menu to be an extension of the food menu: celebrating Lebanese notes and flavours.

Originally, this drink came to life as a cocktail, not a mocktail. But then a friend of mine who doesn’t drink came to Nuba for dinner; she loved the sound of the cocktail, but obviously could not have it. I knew the notes of our kombucha were similar to the rum we were using, so I swapped them out. She liked it so much, she had three of them that night. After that, we decided to offer the mocktail version as a feature.

Called the El Mino, it’s full of holistic ingredients: ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory; lemon promotes hydration and helps with digestion; and cardamom is an antioxidant. Here’s how to make it at home.

El Mino Mocktail


  • 1 ounce turmeric and cardamom syrup (instructions below)
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.75 ounce freshly-squeezed ginger (peel and grate the ginger before extracting the juice)
  • Citrus kombucha of choice (we use Raincoast Kombucha)
  • Ice

Turmeric and cardamom syrup (yields 1 cup)


  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • ½ tablespoon fresh turmeric
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
  2. Place the turmeric and cardamom in an empty tea bag.
  3. Place the tea bag in the water and steep it for five minutes.
  4. Stir in the sugar until it is dissolved completely.
  5. Reduce the heat and stir until the mixture has reduced to half its original volume (about 10 minutes).
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
  7. Pour it into a very clean jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  8. Keep it refrigerated until ready to use.

Mocktail assembly

  1. Stir the syrup, lemon, and ginger juice together in a short glass.
  2. Add ice to almost fill the glass.
  3. Top with kombucha of your choice.
  4. Sip slowly, savouring the moment.