A reset from alcohol is good for the mind and body. If you’ve been sober-curious, want to take a break from those pandemic “quarantinis”, or are just looking to enjoy summertime libations without the hangover, you’re in luck. Non-alcoholic cocktails, or mocktails, are having a major moment. Naturally, our team went on a reconnaissance mission to find the lightest, non-booziest, tastiest tipples we could to make sure you’re sippin’ pretty this summer.
So sit back, relax and get ready to learn all about this buzzy trend before we serve up six delicious recipes to make your own batch of mocktails at home this summer. Cheers to that!
What’s a Mocktail?
For the uninitiated, mocktails are non-alcoholic cocktails that offer the same complexity of flavor notes but without the booze. As more peeps get on the sober-curious bandwagon, more companies are catering to their tastes with mixers minus the spirits and alcohol minus the ABV.
Brands such as Seedlip have been leading the trend by creating non-alcoholic spirits in combinations such as Grove 42, Spice 94 and Garden 108–each with its own complex flavor profile. Three Spirit Drinks incorporates plant botanicals and adaptogens into their three flavors (Livener, Social Elixir and Nightcap) to mimic some of the sensations of alcohol–without the hangover. Chicago’s Ritual Zero Proof is a smaller maker that launched in 2019 and makes no-alcohol whiskey, gin and tequila, while beverage giant Anheuser-Busch introduced alcohol-free Budweiser Zero in 2020. Even RuPaul is getting in on this race with her House of Love mocktails in two flavors, Colada and Ginger Mule.
If all these delicious options haven’t convinced you to give alcohol the boot for a bit, here’s a story that covers the myriad health benefits that happen when going without alcohol for just three weeks. We break it down week by week, benefit by benefit. (Hint, they include more energy, better sleep and radiant skin!)
Without further ado, let’s mock on!
6 Mocktail Recipes to Sip On This Summer
Watermelon Mocktail (serves 2)
(Image: Keeping the Peas)
This mocktail is adapted from a recipe from Keeping the Peas by Nutritious Life’s Ellie Erlich, MS, RD. The original creator took inspiration from quarantine to create a drink “as special and beautiful as one you might get at a 5-star resort” but made in your own kitchen. It’s the perfect treat to share with family and friends as we venture back together this summer.
- 3 cups cubed watermelon seedless
- 1 cucumber
- ¼ cup lime juice, about 2 limes juiced
- Club soda
- 8 sprigs of mint
1. Combine watermelon, lime juice and cucumber in a blender and blend until smooth. Or juice each item separately and combine.
2. Strain the watermelon mixture until you’re left with pulp-free juice.
3. Divide mint between two glasses and muddle.
4. Pour watermelon juice halfway full. Top with club soda and stir.
5. Garnish each with additional watermelon and mint.
The Dawson’s Pomegranate Mule (serves 1)
This recipe, created by the mixologists of The Dawson Chicago, keeps things super simple. Looking to spice things up? Add some jalapeno slices to the mix.
- ¾ ounce Pom pomegranate juice
- ½ ounce lime juice
- 3 ounces ginger beer
1. Combine all ingredients into a copper mug. Stir and garnish with a wedge of lime.
(Image: Seedlip Drinks)
This recipe, created by Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits, uses Seedlip Spice 94 as its base. The flavor is a blend of allspice and cardamom with fresh citrus notes and a long bitter finish. It’s freshened up with fresh-squeezed lemon juice (and pink grapefruit too, if you choose to forego store-bought varieties.) To reduce its sugar content, you can take out the simple syrup altogether or easily cut it in half.
- 2 ounces Seedlip Spice 94
- 2 tablespoons pink grapefruit juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar syrup
- Ice cubes
- 1 star anise for garnish
1. Add Spice 94, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup to a shaker with ice.
2. Shake for 30 seconds.
3. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with star anise.
Spindrift Blood Orange Tangerine
This is a classic summer standby for Nutritious Life Founder Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. Three Spirit Livener is a botanical-based elixir created by plant scientists and bartenders for a perfect pick-me-up minus the alcohol. Livener ingredients include watermelon concentrate, pomegranate molasses, cayenne pepper and caffeine. Plant botanicals are extracted from ingredients as exotic as hibiscus, guava leaf, schisandra berry and Siberian and Panax ginseng for a truly unique flavor.
- 1 ½ ounces Three Spirit Livener
- 3 ounces Spindrift Blood Orange Tangerine
- Ice cubes
- 1 large ice cube
- Blood orange slice for garnish
1. Add Three Spirit Energy and Spindrift to a shaker with ice.
2. Shake for 20 seconds.
3. Pour over a large ice cube in glass. Garnish with a blood orange slice.
Strawberry Ginger Limeade
For a refreshing drink with a peppery kick, this one does the trick. The strawberries, lime and mint are filled with bright, fresh flavor, and ginger adds the kick to make things more interesting.
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries
- 1/2 inch peeled ginger
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- To taste soda water
1. In a high speed blender, add strawberries, ginger, lime juice, and mint leaves. Blend on high until smooth.
2. To a glass with ice, add 3-4 tablespoons of strawberry puree, top with soda water, stir, garnish with fresh mint, and enjoy!
Liquor Lab Virgin Margarita
(Image: Liquor Lab)
Nothing says summer quite like a tangy (and sometimes spicy) margarita. This booze-free version from the bartenders and cocktail consultants at Liquor Laboratory adds a dash of optional pickle juice to the mix for a tangy twist.
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon pickle juice (recommended but optional)
- 3 ounces tonic water
- Lime wheel
1. Run the lime around the rim of your glass before dipping the edge into a plate of sea salt.
2. Combine the lime juice, lemon juice, maple syrup and pickle juice in a shaker. Mix well before adding tonic water and ice.
3. Garnish with a lime wheel.