For many people, the holiday season means a sharp uptick in their alcohol intake. But the abundant flow of booze at this time of year can sometimes feel like too much. So why not try some deliciously crafted mocktail recipes?
There are plenty of good reasons to pass on alcoholic drinks, from diet and fitness priorities to being actively in recovery; or perhaps you simply want to avoid a hangover or the chance of an embarrassing scene at the end-of-year office bash. It’s a good time of year to try a “mocktail,” a cocktail made without alcohol.
In the past, choosing not to imbibe meant ordering a soda or juice at a bar and feeling decidedly uncool. But thanks to a growing mocktail movement, today’s alcohol-free consumers have a much wider range of options. The Associated Press reports that alcohol-free mixed drinks have grown 35 percent as a beverage type on the menus of bars and restaurants since 2016.
Today’s mocktail recipes are mixed with a level of craft, creativity, and complexity once reserved for high-end cocktails.
British-based Seedlip describes itself as the creator of the world’s first distilled, non-alcoholic spirits, and in the words of founder Ben Branson, the brand exists “to solve the dilemma of, ‘what do you drink when you’re not drinking?’”
Branson first began experimenting in his kitchen with recipes he’d found in a 17th-century book of non-alcoholic, distilled herbal remedies. Now his elixirs are being served at iconic London bars, restaurants, and hotels like the Clove Club, the Savoy, and the Ritz.
What Charlotte Drinks When She’s Not Drinking
The FruitGuys Magazine spoke with Todd Carnam, beverage director and lead bartender at San Francisco’s The Interval at Long Now to learn what he’s serving in the way of zero-proof cocktails—and why. The Interval is a unique combination of a bar/cafe, library, museum, and event space located at Fort Mason in the city’s Marina district. The bar menu features a “Low ABV/No ABV” section with a diverse range of low or no-alcohol by volume drinks, complete with clever names like “What Charlotte Drinks When She’s Not Drinking” and “Araya Sunshine.”
Although the Interval bar is well known for serving up sophisticated and highly creative ‘classic’ cocktails, Carnam says non-alcoholic options are a natural fit for the venue, which features a floor-to-ceiling collection of books and mechanical objects, and bills itself as “an inspiring venue for great conversations and delicious drinks.”
“It’s meant to be a space for contemplation,” Carnam says of The Interval. They’re also open from 10 am to midnight daily, a schedule that lends itself to a broader range of beverages than many traditional bars and pubs.
6 Delicious Mocktail Recipes
The Interval’s Orgeat Lemonade – from The Interval at Long Now
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz Small Hands Foods orgeat syrup
- 4 oz sparkling water
Fill a 12-ounce Collins glass with ice; stir.
The Interval’s Jamaica Cooler – from The Interval at Long Now
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz Small Hands Foods pineapple gum syrup
- 3 oz cold hibiscus tisane
Add contents to cocktail and shake to incorporate; strain into a tall glass and top with soda water.
Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine – from bbcgoodfood.com
- 20 oz pomegranate juice
- 5 teaspoons golden caster sugar
- Handful of frozen blackberries
- 10 oz apple juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 orange, quartered
Combine pomegranate juice, sugar, blackberries and apple juice in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and orange. Heat gently until simmering. Taste for sweetness, then strain into heatproof glasses.
Cran-Raspberry Martini – from delish.com
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice and a pinch of sugar (for garnishing the glass)
- 1 tbsp. crushed raspberries
- 1/2 cup all-natural cranberry juice
- 1 splash raspberry-flavored sparkling water
- Raspberries to garnish
Wet rim of martini glass with a small bit of lime juice and dip into sugar. Shake the crushed raspberries with the remaining lime juice and ice in a cocktail shaker. Add cranberry juice and sparkling water and pour it into a glass using a strainer. Garnish with raspberries skewered on a cocktail spear.
Seedlip Spice Toddy – from seedlipsdrinks.com
- 1.75 oz Seedlip Spice 94
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz ml honey
Combine in a glass mug, top with hot water, garnish with a lemon slice.
Black Currant Cider Sparklers – from MarthaStewart.com
- 1/4 cup black-currant juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups chilled sparkling cider
- Lemon peels, for garnish
Combine black-currant juice with lemon juice. Add sparkling cider. Divide between 2 glasses, and garnish each with a lemon peel.
An Alcohol Diet
It’s not just pregnant women or teetotalers ordering non-alcoholic drinks, Carnam says, but all kinds of customers. “It’s very common to hear someone say: ‘I’m taking a week off, or a month off [alcohol], or whatever,’” he explains.
In his view, having non-alcoholic offerings makes good business sense, and speaks to the tastes and preferences of a broader clientele. “People are definitely happy when they see that we have other options,” he says. “So often I’ll hear ‘Thank you so much—this allows me to drink something fizzy and interesting, while other people enjoy their cocktails.’”
Elisabeth Flynn is a freelance writer who lives and works outside Philadelphia. She writes about food, fitness, workplace culture, and personal finance.