Mocktail recipes are perfect for the non-drinking crowd

20 Fun Mocktail Ideas (+ Recipe)

By: Caitlin Fontana

The holiday season is upon us, and so are the festivities and overindulgences. If the thought of champagne toasts and alcohol-filled cocktails isn't appealing, you may want to explore some fun and refreshing mocktail recipes.

What are mocktail drinks?

Mock cocktails are non-alcoholic drinks designed to look and taste like a fancy cocktail. Sometimes they are called "virgin" cocktails, as in virgin mojito or, in a clever play on words, "Virgin Mary." There is no wine, beer or liquors in these drinks, so they typically have fewer calories than typical cocktails, although not by much. A virgin piña colada, for example, is just 100-200 calories less than a traditional piña colada. The alcohol is often replaced with fruit juice in a virgin drink, so the sugar content can remain high.

Are mocktails beneficial for you?

One of the main benefits of mocktails is that there is no alcohol in them. This makes them appropriate to serve for all ages, whether it's kid-appropriate slushes on hot summer days, or more adult-focused booze-free refreshments at gatherings that include non-drinkers. Mocktail recipes allow people to enjoy the taste of these drinks without the impairment and negative effects of alcohol. Plus, mocktails can provide whole fruit juices, roots, herbs and spices.

Why are mocktails popular?

You may have heard or seen the rising popularity of mocktails. Thanks to movements like "Dry January," not to mention concerns about calories, many consumers are opting for low-to-no-alcohol beverages in place of alcoholic drinks. Many taking medication also choose to go alcohol-free. In addition, mocktails do not entail "morning after" regrets, although you should watch the sugar content of some mocktail recipes.

What makes a good mocktail?

The key to a good mocktail recipe is fresh ingredients. Some of the best ingredients are:

  • Unsweetened cranberry juice

  • Pomegranate juice

  • Whole pieces of fruit

  • Mint and basil

  • Nutmeg and cinnamon

  • Citrus peels and zest

Some ingredients to avoid:

  • Energy drinks

  • Sweetened juice

  • Corn syrup

  • Sugar

If you are trying to truly recreate a mojito, margarita or other favorite cocktail recipe, be sure to use ingredients that produce the same flavors and experience. This means considering:

  • Texture:

    Make sure you utilize your bubbles, club sodas, seltzers, and ginger ales, especially if you want to recreate something fizzy, like a mimosa or bellini.
  • Flavor:

    Try to get the same balance in your zero-proof drink. Don't forget salt, which is essential to balancing citrus and sweetness.
  • Temperature:

    While extra ice in a mojito might not be a problem, over-dilution from melting ice could throw off a virgin mojito recipe.
  • Visual appeal:

    Don't forget the garnish, which can take your virgin daiquiri or frozen strawberry no-vodka lemonade from a simple slushie to something fantastic.

20 fun mocktail ideas to try at home

Mocktail recipes offer an exciting alternative to alcoholic adult beverages and can be great for every season and holiday. Here is a list of 20 diverse drink recipes you can start making today:

  1. Cranberry Sangria:

    Replace the alcohol with resveratrol-rich cranberry in this sangria mocktail recipe, then decorate it with fresh mint and pomegranate seeds.
  2. Frozen Mock Margarita:

    No need for tequila. Frozen mango and coconut milk mix well with lime juice in this alcohol-free twist on a margarita, and you can serve it with a salted coconut rim.
  3. Strawberry Ginger Lemonade:

    This drink is refreshing with zingy ginger ale, sweet strawberries, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice—a sweet-tart summer drink or holiday refresher.
  4. Non-Alcoholic Gin and Tonic:

    You can buy non-alcoholic gin to mix with tonic water and fresh lime juice for a straight take on this classic.
  5. Turmeric Tonic:

    Juice some peeled turmeric and ginger with lemon and add agave syrup and sparkling water for this healthy, refreshing drink.
  6. Lemon Basil Spritzer:

    This lemon basil spritzer is so easy! Just muddle basil and lemon and top with a simple syrup and sparkling water.
  7. Mock Mojito:

    Say yes to this easy Nojito: Club soda, lime juice, mint leaves, sugar syrup, and crushed ice. You can also replace the club soda and simple syrup with lemon-lime soda. Pro tip: Be gentle while muddling the mint for your Mojito Mocktail. The leaves can release a bitter taste. Instead, clap the leaves in your hands before putting them in the glass, then press gently with the muddler 2-3 times. 
  8. Non-Alcoholic Bloody Mary Mocktail:

    Just hold the vodka in your regular recipe to enjoy the taste of a Virgin Mary.
  9. Blueberry Mojito Mocktails:

    Tis the season for fruity drinks! Just muddle blueberry simple syrup with mint leaves and fresh lime, then top with lemon-lime sparkling water. Garnish this mojito with blueberries to complete the look.
  10. Orange Blossom Mocktail:

    This refreshing, party-ready punch is made from equal parts orange juice, sparkling apple juice and ginger ale.
  11. Mai Tai Mocktail:

    This mix of lemon-lime soda, pineapple juice and orange juice, topped with grenadine, can be garnished with maraschino cherries for effect.
  12. Virgin Piña Colada:

    If you love refreshing, tropical drinks, add pineapple juice, coconut milk or coconut cream, and ice to a blender and let the good times roll!
  13. Shirley Temple Mocktail:

    This refreshing classic is made with equal parts lemon-lime sparking water, orange juice and ginger ale topped with grenadine.
  14. Dirty Martini Mocktail:

    Mix olive brine with non-alcoholic gin or vodka, or homemade potato water, to make this mock cocktail. And don't forget the olives!
  15. Grapefruit Rosemary Mocktail:

    Add grapefruit juice and grapefruit-rosemary simple syrup to sparkling water for a festive drink with fizz.
  16. Sparkling Berry Apple Mocktail:

    Pour berry syrup into equal parts apple cider and sparkling water for this fizzy non-alcoholic cocktail. Garnish with a cinnamon stick for stirring!
  17. Pomegranate Lime Non-Alcoholic Spritzer:

    This elegant drink starts with muddled limes, then lime juice, pomegranate juice and simple syrup over cold sparkling water.
  18. Ginger Honey Mocktail:

    Mix honey, lime juice and fresh ginger with water for a spicy but soothing non-alcoholic drink.
  19. Sparkling Chai Christmas Punch Mocktail:

    Chai tea and ginger ale are blended with apple and cranberry juices to make a family-friendly punch.
  20. Grinch Mocktail:

    Green drink mix and frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate are mixed with pineapple juice and lemon-lime soda to make this holiday favorite. Top with red cherries for the perfect Grinch look. (Want a blue mocktail, perhaps for the July Fourth holiday? Use freeze dried blueberry powder instead.)

How to Make a Mocktail Moscow Mule That Won’t Disappoint

Typically Moscow mules are alcoholic cocktails made with ginger beer, vodka, lime and soda. Virgin Moscow mules can be served with extra lime and candied ginger to give it a kick. This recipe is easy and can be made in 5 minutes or less.

To make sure this is the best mocktail Moscow mule, don't add your bubbles (club soda and ginger beer) until just before serving. Place ice in cups or mugs as needed so they do not dilute the drink. Also, to preserve the bubbles, do not make this in a cocktail shaker. Mix it right in the mug.

Ingredients

1 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 oz. non-alcoholic ginger beer
Splash of simple syrup
Splash of club soda
1 lime wedge (optional)
Slice of candied ginger (optional)

Preparation

Squeeze the juice of the lime into a mug or glass. Add simple syrup, a splash of club soda or tonic water, and ginger beer. Then add some ice cubes and garnish.

Nutritional Values

A typical 300 ml serving includes:
Calories: 105 kcal
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Sugar: 3 g

Tips for Success

  • Ginger ale is not a good idea for this recipe. You want to use a high-quality ginger beer for the best taste.
  • A copper mug is the classic glass to drink your Moscow mule in, but it is not necessary. A Collins glass will work just fine. You do want to try to keep your Moscow Mule as cool as possible, so even something as basic as a handled mason jar would be a good option.

Do I get enough ginger with my Moscow mule mocktail?

Good quality ginger beer is made with real ginger, so it delivers some of this root's health benefits. (Some also choose to garnish this mixed drink with slices of ginger or candied ginger.) Compounds found in ginger encourage a healthy inflammatory response, support immune health and have other whole-body health benefits. Ginger also works well with another root, turmeric, and enhances the beneficial effects of its biggest health-supporting component, curcumin.

But you don't want to rely on cocktail or mocktail recipes to provide the nourishment you need. Instead, dietary supplements can help fill the nutritional gaps in a healthy diet. Supplements such as Advanced Curcumin Elite™ combine ginger and turmerone extracts with Life Extension's best curcumin formula to help you get the most from your daily nutrition. Together, ginger and curcumin support your cardiovascular system, brain health and more—no drink recipe needed.

About the Author: Caitlin Fontana is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Marketing. She is a content and social media expert with experience in social media, digital marketing, blogging, content managing & so much more! Her passion for nutrition, cooking, wellness and fitness is what inspired her to start her health & wellness blog, Caitlin's Table. https://www.caitlinstable.com

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Caitlin Fontana