Good news for our friends thinking about cutting out alcohol or drinking less: you can still make really good drinks. You can make delicious cocktails without the booze. And you wouldn’t be alone. Mocktails are continually gaining popularity, and for good reason.
Google searches for the word "mocktail," for example, are up 42%, while the phrase "nonalcoholic" is up 81% across global searches. So while back in the 90s, ordering a mocktail might have been unheard of, nowadays, most bartenders are well-versed in making a killer mocktail.
So, if you're looking to dive headfirst into the world of mocktails but want some tips and tricks on creating one (or two...or three...) you'll love, you've come to the right place. Below, we've highlighted the most important things you’ll need to know and learn to craft an unbelievable mocktail.
What is a mocktail?
It's pretty simple: a mocktail is a nonalcoholic mixed drink. Mocktails are usually made with fruit juices, soda, and other nonalcoholic mixers, and with an increasing number of high quality nonalcoholic spirits entering the market, the world of mocktails is constantly expanding, making it easier than ever before to make drinks just as flavorful and refreshing as their alcoholic counterparts....you just need the right ingredients and recipes!
What's the difference between a mocktail and a cocktail?
Alcohol. Mocktails do not contain alcohol; cocktails do. Anyone can drink a mocktail, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What's the secret to a good mocktail?
We’re glad you asked! Here are our top tips for making delicious mocktails:
Fresh ingredients are always the way to go regardless of what you're making. This is especially true when it comes to making a mocktail.
Why? Because fresh ingredients create a brighter flavor than most pre-made mixes or artificial syrups. When it comes to using fruits and veggies, make sure you wash them thoroughly and cut them into small pieces so you can muddle them easily. Garnishes like lime wheels or rosemary sprigs should also be washed before being applied.
Balance Acidity and Body
When you think about classic cocktails, you begin to understand why this step is important. A classic daiquiri contains lime juice (acidity) and rum (body), a piña colada contains pineapple juice (acidity), and coconut cream (body). See the trend?
Typically, acidity comes from citrus fruits, like lemons or limes, while the body is created with ingredients like cream or eggs, or sometimes the base liquor of the cocktail. Too much of either can make your drink taste sour or heavy. For a mocktail, the balance of acidity and body is even more important than in a cocktail because, unlike a cocktail, a mocktail doesn't have alcohol. What does that mean? It means every ingredient plays an even more significant flavor role.
Add Some "Sparkle"
No, we aren't talking about anything you can find in your makeup bag. We're referring to something with carbonation. Adding a little sparkling water or soda gives your mocktail a splash of fun and refinement. Plus, it also dilutes any intense flavors. For example, if you're making a mocktail that somehow got a little too heavy with citrus flavor, try adding some sparkling water to lighten it up.
Tap Into Your Inner Chef
One of the most fun things about making mocktails is getting creative and experimenting with different flavor combinations. Don't be afraid to tap into your inner chef and create something unique!
Pro Tip: Start with a classic cocktail recipe you know you love, and then add your personal touch. Keep making adjustments and refinements until you find a combination that you like. For example, if you're a fan of mojitos, try substituting rum with a complex nonalcoholic rum like Caleños Dark & Spicy, and consider adding fresh berries or cucumbers to your recipe. This will help give a similar taste to the distinctive flavor of the rum.
Get Creative With IngredientsHere are a few essentials that you’ll need to create unique and delicious mocktails:
- Fruit juices (e.g., orange juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice)
- Nonalcholic spirits
- Soda (e.g. ginger ale, seltzer water, club soda)
- Herbs (e.g., mint, basil, rosemary)
- Spices (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
- Cream or milk
- Syrups (e.g., simple syrup, fruit syrup, herbal syrup)
- Nonalcoholic Bitters (e.g., orange bitters, Angostura bitters, chocolate bitters)
With these ingredients, you can make amazing nonalcoholic cocktails, from fruity and refreshing drinks to rich and creamy ones.
Don't Fear Bitter Or Herbal Flavors.
If you're not used to drinking cocktails, adding bitters or herbal flavors to your drink may seem a bit... daunting. But don't worry! These ingredients can add depth and complexity to your drink while preserving its balance. For example, a small amount of orange bitters can help to enhance the flavor of a citrus-based mocktail. And a sprig of rosemary can add a refreshing touch to a fruity drink.
And while we're on the topic of bitters, don't be afraid to add them to red nonalcoholic wines too. This might sound crazy, but you'll thank us later. Adding a few drops of bitters to your nonalcoholic red wine adds complexity and fruity tones that will take it to the next level.
Mocktails > Cocktails: How to make a killer mocktail takeawaysNow you're ready to make your own assortment of amazing mocktails. But...if you're looking to get comfortable before getting creative, check out our favorite mocktail recipes. And remember, experimentation is an essential part of the process. Who knows you might just create a fantastic original mocktail all on your own! Cheers!