Sometimes mocktails are a better choice than cocktails. Warm weather, strenuous activity or the need for a non-alcoholic option at parties make the mocktail a great choice, but they’re frequently overlooked. In this post I’m going to show you my simple system to create non-alcoholic cocktails that are simple, delicious and fun to make.
Mocktails: Not an Afterthought
Too often mocktails are considered an afterthought, but I look at them the same way I do cocktails; they can be as creative and delicious as their alcoholic cousins. Believe it or not the affects of alcohol are not universally welcomed, however you can create something special with a little advanced planning. But before I show you my approach to preparing your own virgin drink recipes, let’s take a step back…
What Are Mocktails?
Mocktails are non- alcoholic cocktails which can consist of a wide range of ingredients like fruit juices, soda and other elements. Also known as mock cocktails, these beverages are delicious and refreshing. Moreover for those that don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they’re drinking a non-alcoholic beverage, mocktails often resemble the spirited variety.
Michael’s Mocktail Method
Non-alcoholic drinks can be as involved as you like, but I as a professional bartender I apply a system that’s evolved over the years. Creating your own mocktail recipes is one way to go, or you can apply a non-alcoholic twist to your favorite spirited cocktail. For this post I’m going to show you my three-tiered system that keeps the process simple.
Based on the level of preparation required, my approach to non-alcoholic cocktails has worked well for me; hopefully it does the same for you:
Level 1 (Super Easy) – Basic in nature, my first level of mocktail recipes involve simply the combination of soft drinks and/or juices to create a tasty option from ingredients most people will have around the house. Generally these involve very little planning and can be created with a moment’s notice.
Level 2 – (Easy) – Building on the foundation of basic non-alcoholic ingredients, the Level 2 mocktail includes additional elements like fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices or honey, just to name a few. For example, muddling fresh berries with a splash of Orange juice and topping it off with club soda is always a favorite. Alternatively a fresh lemon-limeade with the addition of spicy jalapenos and a touch of agave nectar is one alcohol-free cocktail that everyone should enjoy.
Level 3 – (Kinda Easy) – Although these require more preparation, Level 3 drinks allow you to show off your creativity and often result in the best mocktails. Making your own simple syrups, ice cubes or fruit purees are great ways to enhance your non-alcoholic drinks and impress your guests.
As you may have seen previously on The Cocktail Novice, making grenadine and herb infused syrups is pretty simple, while the simple addition of mint or lemon to ice cubes can create an interesting twist on ice tea or lemonade. I’ve even made a peanut butter simple syrup to add to chocolate milk with amazing results. In short with a little forethought, your mocktail drinks can really shine.
Easy Mocktail Recipes
Hopefully my KISS approach to non-alcoholic drinks makes sense to you. But if you’re a still a little lost here are a few easy recipes to help you get your creative juices flowing:
Cranberry and Soda Mocktail
In a 12 oz. Highball Glass combine:
- 4 oz. Cranberry Juice
- 4 oz. Club Soda
The best thing about mocktails is pretty much anything is possible. If you are taking a night off, being responsible by cutting yourself off early or you happen to be the designated driver non-alcoholic mocktails can keep the party going. You do not need alcohol to have fun and you definitely do not need it to make a great drink. Mocktails can be fun, creative and delicious. You can make a very simple mocktail or go all in and make a mocktail for the ages.