Whether you’re planning a party or you just want to treat yourself at home, relaxing with a cold cocktail in hot weather is a great time. But more and more people are avoiding alcohol, while still looking for a classy beverage. We’ve collected a list of cool, creative, classy, non-alcoholic cocktail recipes with all the pizzazz of their alcoholic counterparts.
What is a Non-Alcoholic Cocktail?
A non-alcoholic cocktail, also known as a mocktail, is a mixed drink that doesn’t contain alcohol. It might contain fruit juices, sparkling water, soda, herbs, spices, and other ingredients in a cocktail, but with no wine, beer, liquor or alcoholic spirits involved. Some non-alcoholic cocktail recipes are very similar to traditional alcoholic beverages, but use substitutions for alcohol, such as botanical spirits.
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Why Try a Non-Alcoholic Cocktail
More and more people, especially younger adults, are drinking less, or not at all. Some people simply don’t like the taste or the calories, while others don’t like the effects of drinking, or its addictive nature. Other people enjoy the health effects of not drinking alcohol, such as better sleep, improved mental health, and more energy.
Non-alcoholic cocktails can also explore a wider range of flavors, since they don’t have to contend with the powerful flavor of alcohol. Many mocktails and the alcohol alternatives in them may use unconventional ingredients like bergamot, rooibos, clove, chamomile, dulse, and more. These subtle herbal and botanical extracts can stand out better in nonalcoholic drinks.
Despite the potential of the non-alcoholic cocktail recipe, many nonalcoholic beverages don’t get the same fancy treatments and complex flavors as traditional cocktails. People who don’t drink alcohol often get stuck with plain water or sugary soda mixes. This list of classy, non-alcoholic cocktails will dramatically improve the drink menu at your next party or relaxing night in.
5 Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes You Must Try This Summer
One of the best parts about non-alcoholic cocktail recipes is that they’re easy to customize and experiment with. If you’re not sure where to start, use the 2-1-1 rule of thumb; 2 parts base, 1 part sweetener, 1 part bitter or tart. Since mocktails don’t use liquor, you’ll want to substitute with a botanical spirit, sparkling water, cider, club soda, tonic, or something similar. With this starting point, you can adjust the amounts and ingredients in these nonalcoholic cocktail recipes to make your combinations more sweet, sour, herbal, fizzy or aromatic.
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1. Lemon-Peach Summer Spritzer
A spritzer is a very flexible drink with plenty of room for innovation. You’ll need a fizzy base, a sweetener, and a touch of something bitter. To make the lemon-peach summer spritzer, a sweet, refreshing, nonalcoholic version of the standard, try the following:
2 parts lemon-flavored sparkling water
1 part peach puree or peach juice
1 part lemonade
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Garnish a lemon wedge in a Hurricane glass
Stir gently and enjoy
2. Spicy Sangria
Sangria is another summer favorite that has been reworked in many different ways. Traditionally made with red wine, brandy, fruit, spices and sweetener, we’re going to spice this recipe up a bit to recreate the flavor complexity of brandy and red wine. Using red grape juice instead of red wine means we won’t need as much sweetener, though you can always add honey, simple syrup, or lemon-lime soda to sweeten the mix.
Since it’s hard to choose the wrong fruit for sangria, this can be a great way to use up any fruit that’s about to go bad, or even put peels to good use.
Fill a pitcher ¼ full of ice cubes
Fill another ¼ with citrus slices or peels (orange, lemon, grapefruit), berries, and/or stone fruit slices (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries)
Add two cinnamon sticks (and/or other spices such as cloves, star anise, nutmeg and ginger for added flavor)
Add two cups of orange juice
Add a cup of aromatic botanical or herbal spirits
Fill the rest of the pitcher with red grape juice
Rest in refrigerator for five to ten minutes to let flavors mingle
Serve in red wine glasses
3. Flowery Fusion
Botanicals generally offer a light flavor that can easily be overpowered by alcohol. These can really shine in nonalcoholic beverages. If you’re not a fan of super sweet drinks, this flowery fusion may be perfect for you. The ingredients are a bit unconventional, but if you’re looking for a particularly creative mocktail, this is for you. If you really want to impress your guests, try boosting the texture and appearance of this drink with an aqua fava or egg white foam.
3 parts botanical spirit with flowery notes
2 parts rose water
1 part lemon juice
1 tablespoon of hibiscus, lavender, or orange blossom simple syrup
Dash of wildflower honey
Serve in a martini glass with three ice cubes
Garnish with lavender, hibiscus or other edible flowers
A paloma is traditionally made with tequila, but you can substitute a botanical spirit for a complex flavor, make it sweeter with clear soda, or take down the sweetness with sparkling water or club soda. Make it a bellini by using peach puree instead of mashed grapefruit, or make your own fruit puree combination.
2 parts grapefruit soda
1 part mashed grapefruit
1 teaspoon lime juice
Mix with two ice cubes in a Collins glass or Champagne flute
Garnish with a grapefruit peel twist
The Caipirinha (pronounced kai-peer-EE-nyuh) is a Brazilian favorite made with Cachaça (pronounced Kuh-CHA-kah), a spirit made from sugar cane, as well as lime, lime juice and white sugar. It’s similar to a mojito, which adds mint and soda water, and uses rum instead. If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail recipe inspired by a drink not commonly found in most bars, this is a great pick.
2 parts botanical spirit
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Juice from half a lime
Garnish with lime wedge
Serve with ice in a rocks glass