As with many of their boozier cousins, the best mocktail recipes have balanced flavor profiles that make alcohol or the absence thereof beside the point.
There are several ways to make satisfying mocktails, and you don’t have to spend a fortune or all day to do it. If you’re eager to stock your home bar, consider these non-alcoholic spirits, beers and wine shops vetted by Wine Enthusiast editors and other industry experts. Options for non-alcoholic spirits abound, and include Seedlip, Lyre’s, Three Spirit and Proteau. A wave of non-alcoholic mixers like Avec and Fresh Victor feature balanced blends of fruits, vegetables and aromatics designed to be served spiked, over ice or straight from the can or bottle.
The non-alcoholic space shows no sign of slowing, either. According to one study, consumer demand for non-alcoholic options was up 60% from July 2020 to 2021.
Ready to start serving up non-alcoholic drinks at home? Grab a glass and fix one of the recipes below.
The Detox Recipe
From the now-shuttered Requin in Fairfax, Virginia comes this crisp vegetal concoction that gets its refreshing salinity from dashes of sea salt. The key to the Detox is to juice your own celery and pineapple. If you don’t have a juicer, use a food processor to blend your produce and then push through a cheesecloth or fine-meshed strainer before adding the other ingredients.
• 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
• 1 ounce fresh celery juice
• ¾ ounce lime juice
• ½ ounce agave syrup (2 parts agave nectar, 1 part hot water)
• 2 dashes sea salt
• Celery frond and/or pineapple leaves for garnish (optional)
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except optional garnish. Shake well, and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Add garnish if using.
The Ginger Snap Recipe
Whether you make your own ginger beer or pick up a few bottles at the supermarket, its spicy kick is crucial in the Ginger Snap. The mocktail was created by Christi Brunner for The Brick, a low-key bar in Kansas City, Missouri.
• 1 ounce pear syrup, like Monin
• ½ ounce lime juice
• 5 ounces ginger beer
• Orange wheel and cherry, for garnish
In a Collins glass, mix together pear syrup and lime juice. Add ice, and top with ginger beer. To garnish, spear orange slice and cherry with a toothpick.
The Ms. Jackson Mocktail Recipe
To make the blackberry puree in this non-alcoholic cocktail, you can either blend a pint of blackberries in a food processor and push the results through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve, or buy a jarred variety. Either way, your Ms. Jackson mocktail will be bright and balanced.
• 3 ounces fresh lemonade
• ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
• ¾ ounce simple syrup (equal parts water/sugar, heated to dissolve)
• 1 teaspoon blackberry puree
Combine your first three ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with blackberry puree.
The Non-Alcoholic Bloody Mary Recipe
This batched drink is perfect for days when some or all your household would prefer a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary. Those who want a spirited pour can simply add their favorite vodka, gin or other liquor accordingly. In this recipe, yuzu juice adds citrusy punch, but freshly squeezed limes will work in a pinch.
• 1 liter fresh tomato juice
• 1 fresh watermelon juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
• 4 ounces yuzu (or lime) juice
• 1 ounce white balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for 2 hours. To serve, pour into long glasses over ice. Makes 25 servings.
The Faux-groni Recipe
To make a satisfying non-alcoholic Negroni, the flavors of Campari were the hardest to replicate, according to Jessica King, who created this cocktail for Brother Wolf in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her solution? San Pelligrino’s Sanbitter, a red soda sold online or in Italian food shops.
• 1 ounce Seedlip Spice 94
• 1 ounce Versin non-alcoholic vermouth
• 1 ounce San Pellegrino Sanbitter
• 2 dashes orange oil
• Orange wheel for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange wheel.
The Slithy Recipe
Pu-erh tea complements pandan, lime juice and coconut in this striking non-alcoholic cocktail from Allegory in Washington D.C. Bar Director Deke Dunne describes its flavors as a cross between a daiquiri and Thai-inspired Pina Colada.
To make the pandan syrup, infuse simple syrup with a few drops of pandan extract. Salt solution is similar to simple syrup; Dunne’s preferred ratio is nine parts salt to one part water.
• 1 ounce brewed and chilled Pu’erh Tea
• 1 ounce coconut water
• ¾ ounce pandan simple syrup
• ¼ ounce Coco Lopez cream of coconut
• ¼ ounce coconut milk
• ½ ounce lime juice
• 2 drops salt solution
Add all ingredients to a cocktail tin and shake to combine. Double strain into a stemmed glass.
The Spice Breeze Recipe
At Bar Chrystie, a cocktail lounge in Manhattan’s Public Hotel, bartenders garnish this mocktail with a toasted cinnamon stick. Whether you have or break out the kitchen torch for the same effect is up to you; either way, this drink has balanced notes of spices and citrus.
• 1 ½ ounces Seedlip
• 1 ½ ounces coconut water
• ½ ounce vanilla syrup
• ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
• Toasted cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake to combine. Strain over two ice cubes in a cocktail glass, and then add garnish, if using.
The Cucumber Mint Lemonade Recipe
Fresh lemon juice is worth the squeeze in this bright and bracing non-alcoholic drink from Le Farfalle, an Italian-accented restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina.
• 3 slices cucumber, plus 1 leaf for garnish
• 5 or 6 mint leaves, plus 1 leaf for garnish
• 1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
• 1 ounce simple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, use a muddler or spoon to press the mint and cucumbers. Add remaining ingredients (except garnish), 1 ounce of water and ice. Shake well, and strain into a rocks glass, over fresh ice. To garnish, pierce a cucumber slice with the stem of a mint sprig and place atop the drink.