Let’s Make Mocktails!

Let's Make Mocktails!Over the past few years, as I've shared dozens of cocktail recipes here on the blog, I've heard your cries for more mocktails. If you aren't familiar with what a mocktail is, it's an alcohol-free cocktail. Whether you don't drink, are expecting a tiny person in the near future, or are not yet of legal ageโ€”I'm here today to teach you how to make drinks that are every bit as delicious and interesting, but booze free! 

I have several friends who don't drink, and so recently I've been testing different mocktails on them, and I'll share a couple of our favorite recipes at the end of this post! 

But first, here's how to turn any cocktail into a deee-licious mocktail! 

Tip 1: MAKE IT SPARKLE

Let's Make Mocktails! The first key element to a good mocktail is something sparkling. This will help to "fancify" your drink and make it different from just a glass of juice. 

Recipes with a base of club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, sparkling juice, or ginger beer make great mocktails. Think of it as a fancy soda! 

Of course, there are some exceptionsโ€”like Bloody Marys. You don't have to add sparkles to every mocktail, but if it's a sweet or fruity flavor, I would definitely consider the option! 

Tip 2: GO FLAVOR CRAZY

Let's Make Mocktails!  Don't be afraid to be bold with flavor. Since you want the drink to be special, try something different. There are three ways I like to do this. 

  • Homemade syrups. I've made syrups here lots of times (learn how here). It's super simple. Combine 1 part sweetener (choose from sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, Truvia, etc.), 1 part water, and some fresh fruit, herbs, or spices to add flavor. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture is completely liquid. Strain out any herbs or spices and use it to flavor anything you like (mocktails, lemonade, coffee, tea, etc!). Making your own syrups is so easy and tasty!
  • Infusing fresh fruit and herbs. I love a drink full of fresh mint, basil, and fruit. It's both a beautiful garnish and a great way to add flavor. If you really want the flavors to come out, you need to either muddle your ingredients or let them infuse in the liquid for an hour or so before serving.
  • Garnish with flavor! Add flavored salts or sugars to your rim. Use citrus slices or other fresh ingredients to add flavor and fragrance to your drink.

A few of my favorite fresh flavors to experiment with are basil, cilantro, ginger, lavender, citrus, and rosemary. If you get creative, there is a way to mix literally ANY flavor into a mocktail. 

Tip 3: KNOW WHICH DRINKS TRANSLATE 

Some cocktails translate perfectly to mocktails, so much so that you can't even tell a difference! Moscow Mules and Bloody Marys are two of the easiest and sneakiest mocktails because they taste almost exactly the same with or without the vodka. 

I think versions of a mojito and sparkling lemonade are among the best mocktails because the combination of sweet, citrus, and soda water is so light and fresh! 

So what doesn't work so well? Mixed drinks with only two ingredients don't really work, because a rum and coke without the rum is just coke. Duhโ€”right? Drinks made with syrupy mixes (like margaritas and daiquiris) aren't my favorite mocktails because they can turn out to be gross sweet instead of yummy sweet. Just too much sugar without the balancing factor of liquor. 

Let's Make Mocktails!    Ginger Beer Lemonade, serves one.

juice of one lemon 
1/2 tablespoon simple syrup
ginger beer 

In a tall glass, mix the lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ice. Top off with ginger beer, garnish with fresh lemon slices, and serve.

Simple and refreshing! 

Let's Make Mocktails!     Strawberry Cucumber Limeade, serves one.

fresh strawberry slices
fresh cucumber slices
2 fresh limes
fresh mint or basil leaves
sugar sprinkles for garnish
simple syrup 
club soda 

First, prepare your glass by adding sugar sprinkles to one side of the rim using a little brush of honey or simple syrup. In your glass, combine the juice of two limes, 1 tablespoon simple syrup, and ice. Stir and top off with club soda. Add cucumbers, strawberries, and mint for garnish. Enjoy! 

If you want to get extra fancy, add some cut-up strawberries and cucumbers to your simple syrup while it is simmering to infuse flavor. Be sure to strain out all the fresh ingredients before you use it. 

Let's Make Mocktails!      Classic Bloody Mary Mocktail 

Bloody Mary mix (I love Zing Zang!)
fresh rosemary
celery
Tabasco
garlic powder 
black pepper 
Worcestershire sauce
blue cheese olives

First prepare your glass with a salty rim. In shaker, mix the Bloody Mary mix (enough to fill your glass 3/4 of the way full), a splash of Tabasco, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper. Shake it and pour it over ice. Garnish with a stalk of celery, a piece of rosemary, and some blue cheese olives. Enjoy! 

In addition, here are my favorite ABM cocktails with mocktail conversion solutions! 

Let's Make Mocktails!   Happy mocktail making! xo. Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Imogen from The Folk Collection.

  • I am all about the mocktails. I drink, but rarely, because my body hates me for it the few days afterwards. Definitely going to try these out.

  • Yes! Love these! I’m the kind that loves a yummy cocktail, but sometimes something like this is needed for refreshment too! Can’t wait to try the lemon and limeades!

  • Sending this to my preggo friends! Especially the ones who are waiting to tell people and don’t want suspicions raised. Ha.

  • From all of the pregnant ladies who are missing out on margaritas this summer, I thank you!

  • Thank you SO much, Elsie. My husband and I don’t drink, and it’s so hard to find options that allow us to have something special while everyone else indulges. This is so much more fun than the regular water or Diet Coke option. Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have an allergic reaction to most alcohol so this is perfect for me! These are great recipes! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • I love this! Especially the ginger beer lemonade one. I made up a mocktail a few weeks ago and I have it at least once a week now. A cherry limeade: juice of one lime, 2 oz of grenadine (or less or more, depending on your taste!), topped with club soda. Add vodka and it’s a cocktail. Yum!

  • These look delicious… never thought of trying a non-alcoholic bloody mary before but doesn’t seem half bad! The others look tasty too!

  • Yum! I just created my own mocktail as well (it’ll be on my blog soon) and I love these options as well! I can’t wait to try out the gingerbeer lemonade!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Ahh, such a refreshing read to stumble upon before I throw my work’s summer kickoff pool party. I’m thinking of making some infused coconut water, & I’ve gotta try the strawberry cucumber limeade. Sounds perf.

    xx Emily
    faitboum.blogspot.com

  • That bloody mary mocktail is soooo much fancier than plain jane tomato juice! It looks awesome.

  • It’s so nice to see a post on mocktails! I don’t drink alcohol, but all your regular cocktails look so delicious that I feel bad I’m missing out! Thanks for some great tips and ideas – I’ll be sure to use them at my next party!

  • Yes! I think plain tomato juice is kinda boring. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Bloody Marys are one of the best mocktails because you almost can’t even tell the difference!
    xx! Elsie

  • Awesome! You’ll love these for parties! I have a bunch of friends who don’t drink (and usually at least one pregnant friend at every party- haha) and it’s fun to have fancy stuff for them too. ๐Ÿ˜€
    xx- Elsie

  • Love this! My health condition means I can’t drink alcohol anymore but I always used to love a good cocktail… These are lovely ideas.

    Faye | freckles-and-all.com

  • Thank you so much! I don’t drink for personal reasons, and a lot of my friends don’t understand. I always felt a little left out at parties, just drinking fizzy water by myself,while my friends mix up a storm, but I’ll have to introduce them to these now! thank you thank you thank you!

  • These look so good!
    I love to make mocktails, they are just so festive!
    By the way, always love your food photography!
    Happy Wednesday!

  • Oh man I’m really excited.
    Cocktails are so pretty but I don’t drink (because, 17). Now I can make pretty drinks and then drink them and then dance a little because pretty things make me happy.
    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • hi, i apologize for this being off- topic! i was thinking for the next book club selection, you could do i know why the caged bird sings by maya angelou in honor of her passing. it’s a fantastic book written by an amazing woman.

  • Thank you for sharing! I am pregnant with our first little one and loving a good mocktail, especially with summer on the horizon ๐Ÿ™‚

    xo,
    Diana

  • Thank you so much for your suggestion! We already have the next few months chosen, but this sounds like an incredible book. I’d love to check it out!
    xx- Elsie

  • YES! I have a graduation bbq coming up next month, these would be SO fun to make as many of my friends, including myself, don’t really drink. These sound so fun, thanks for sharing!!

  • I’m both too young (my country just enhight the minimal age for alcohol from 16 to 18) and I don’t drink and I don’t like the taste of alcohol. But this seems awesome, I’d love to try it! now there are fancy drinks for me too ๐Ÿ˜€

  • These are perfect! I take blood thinners, so I’m only allowed to drink in small amounts — this is going to make summer parties a lot more fun!

  • I’m in the exact same circumstances, my friend! I miss cocktails, so these ideas will really come in handy.

  • That ginger beer lemondade look amazing. I usually try mine with the liquor in it but this is probably good enough without it.

  • Oh my golly I absolutely love all of these mocktails. On a booze free week. This will be perfect alternative. Thank you for sharing x

  • Thanks for posting these!!! I mentioned wanting cocktail to mocktail conversions in my survey! these look delicious!

  • Hurrah!! Hurrah!! I’m so delighted to find this post on my nightly check in! Thank you so much! Tonight as I scroll through your website, I stopped and shared this with my BF & now we are excited to try these yummy looking treats! And FINALLY, an alcohol free recipe for a blood mary! I have missed this taste for TEN years (since I gave up drinking) and now I can have mine poolside this summer! THANK YOU! once again, you girls done it! XOXO

  • Try subbing cranberry juice for rum in frozen daiquiris, works great!

  • In my house, we refer to a virgin Bloody Mary as a “Bloody Shame” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great ideas!

  • I like the first one, i love lemons but i didn’t know ginger beer until now!maybe can i use ginger ale?
    p.s. we used to call the bloody mary mocktail “Virgin Mary” ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love your choice of Ginger Beer. Goslings is a Bermudian company and part of the Bermuda heritage. Be sure to try the Goslings Rum mixed with the Ginger Beer for a version of a “Dark’n Stormy” or with coke for a “Black’n Coke”

  • These drinks look honestly amazing! Thanks for thinking of those of us who don’t/can’t drink. So fun for dinner parties, and especially for summer!

  • Elsie Larson! Bless you for this post!!! I’ve been on medication since November and now I can’t drink alcohol, so I’ve really been on the hunt for tasty mocktail recipes. I can’t wait to try some of these out! ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo Mandy
    http://mandyleighblog.com

  • This is awesome and was bookmarked immediatley, I can tell I will need this very soon, since we have some housewarming dinners planned.
    Lovely, thank you!

    The Appleberry

  • My drinking options are limited because of my medications, so I have been feeling bummed about not being able to drink… It’s encouraging to learn some options! I have been making ginger beer lemonade variations this week… Using frozen strawberries instead of ice, switching between lemon juice and lime juice, and adding green tea ginger ale (found at the grocery store!) instead of ginger beer. I love it! Refreshing, sweet, tart, and flavorful.