Just because you’re sober curious doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a fun, refreshing beverage. Alcohol-free alternatives to cocktails, a.k.a. virgin cocktails or mocktails, are a serious upgrade to your sober evenings.
What is a mocktail? A mocktail is a non-alcoholic drink made with alcohol-free alternatives. These drinks are typically fun, sweet, and great for sober parties.
Liquor-free mixed drinks can add a healthy dose of fun to events like baby showers, children’s parties, or simple get-togethers with sober curious friends. And it’s no surprise, as the market for non-alcoholic beverages has more than doubled since 2018.
Whether you’re looking for Sober October or Dry January inspiration or joining the ever-increasing crowd of people who are cutting back on alcohol year round, it’s time to brush up your mixology skills.
We’ve rounded up some essential tips for making your own sophisticated mocktails, as well as 9 delicious mocktail recipes you have to try. Your new obsession is here!
Table of Contents
Before You Start: How to Make a Mocktail
Before You Start: How to Make a Mocktail
Pro Tip 1: Start With Quality
Here’s the problem with some mocktails: too many rely heavily on mediocre ingredients, coming out syrupy, sugary, or feeling like a kids-only substitute. No one wants to drink a syrupy Shirley Temple all night.
Low-quality mocktails can kill your vibe. So, elevate your options.
- Bubbles. Instead of an off-brand soft drink, try Spindrift, Q Mixers, or one of your local craft soda brands.
- Produce. Instead of bottled lime juice, dried herbs, or pre-cut/frozen fruits, opt for fresh ingredients.
- Syrups. We recommend making them at home, from scratch, for the absolute best flavor. If not, choose a well-crafted option.
- Glassware. Don’t pour your mocktail into a mug — what would your grandmother say?! Putting your non-alcoholic beverage into a beautiful piece of barware increases the enjoyment. (We promise.)
Once you’ve committed to quality, it’s time to find your faves.
Pro Tip 2: Choose Your Base
To find your favorite mocktails, look to your favorite flavors to guide the way.
- Maybe you love fruit juice or a fizzy main ingredient like a craft soda or high-quality ginger ale.
- Perhaps you like a non-alcoholic beer paired with grapefruit juice (called a Radler) or Bloody Mary mix (called a Michelada).
- You may love the taste of spirits without their effects. Try a zero-proof spirit like Lyre or Ritual for zero-alcohol classic cocktails with real tequila, gin, and other spirits.
Once you know your favorite mocktail base, you can find recipes you know you’ll enjoy. Personally, we love recipes with a bit of non-alcoholic rosé.
What are some popular mixers for mocktails? Some popular mixers for mocktails are juices, ginger ale, tonic water, and various sodas.
Pro Tip 3: Don’t Skip the Garnish
It’s one of a bartender’s best-kept secrets: Just like using the right cocktail glass, adding the right garnish can elevate the whole experience. The same can be said for your at-home mocktails. Some popular garnishes include:
- Edible stir sticks
- Flavored or herbed ice cubes
- Citrus slices or wedges
- Pineapple wedges or chunks
- Maraschino cherries
- Twisted or scored fruit peel
- Candied ginger or fruit
- Mint leaves
- Lavender sprigs
The options are virtually endless. It’s worth taking the time to add beautiful garnishes to take your non-alcoholic cocktails from tasty to tasteful.
12 of the Best Mocktail Recipes
1. Lady Lavender
This is the perfect springtime beverage, blending a fresh pastel purple color with a seasonal floral twist. This recipe from The Merry Thought is a great choice to sip while picnicking.
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp Lavender Simple Syrup (See below)
- 1/4 tsp Grenadine
- 3 dashes Bitters
- Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker.
- After shaking, strain into a glass — coupe is preferable.
- Top off with soda water to taste.
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender.
2. The Perfect Bellini
If you’re looking for a new brunch beverage with just a few ingredients, this non-alcholic bellini is your new go-to. And if a traditional bellini is your go-to, it’s super easy to swap out the raspberry purée for peach. Bonus: it use Surely’s sparkling rosé, which means your friends might not even believe it’s virgin! Ingredients:
- 1 bottle Surely Sparkling Rosé
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- Raspberries and mint for garnish
- Blend raspberries on high until smooth.
- Divide raspberry purée into champagne flutes.
- Pour in sparkling rosé.
- Garnish with fresh mint and fresh raspberries if desired.
3. Caramel Apple Pie
This Merry About Town creation is a fall favorite, with a beautiful rosemary sprig for an aromatic topping. Enjoy over a fire, and don’t skip the sugar rim for one of our favorite dessert mocktails.
- 6 cups apple cider
- ½ cup caramel syrup
- 3 cups sparkling water
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 apples
- 10-12 rosemary sprigs
- Golden brown sugar for rimming
- In a pitcher, mix the apple cider with the caramel syrup and add the cinnamon.
- Cut the apples into thin slices and add them to the pitcher.
- Add 6 rosemary sprigs and let them sit for 20 minutes.
- After letting the flavor marry, pour the sparkling water into the pitcher. Mix.
- Rim glasses with golden brown sugar.
- Pour the mocktail into the glasses.
- Garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs.
4. Non-Alcoholic Sangria
Nothing says a summer drink like a sangria. One of the best parts of the fruity mix is that it can be made with non-alcoholic rose, white, or red wine. Whatever you prefer, it’s the perfect pick for the refreshing drink.
- 4 cups white grape juice, or the same amount of non-alcoholic wine
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ¾ cup blueberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 limes
- 2 whole oranges
- 2 bananas
- 2 peaches
- Blend the white grape juice with ¼ cup blueberries (40 g).
- Pour this liquid mixture into a jar or bowl.
- Add the orange and the lime juice.
- Stir until it is well mixed.
- Place ice in a jar, add the liquid mixture, the chopped fruits (2 oranges, 2 bananas, 2 limes, and 2 peaches), and ¾ cup of blueberries.
- Let stand the sangria in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Variations: You could try many different types of juice that complement one another, including watermelon, cranberry, passion fruit, or apple juice. Depending on the season and your personal tastes, it’s possible to customize this non-alcoholic sangria to taste. We recommend sangrias for summer parties. Try our Non-Alcoholic White Sangria Recipe for different spin.
5. White Wine Spritzer
We like sauvignon blanc for our spritzer. It’s light bodied, but acidic for a refreshing mocktail.
- 1 bottle Surely Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 ounces lemon-lime soda (we like Zevia — to keep the calories down)
- Lemon slices
- Pour 4 ounces of Surely Sauvignon Blanc into a wine glass.
- Add lemon juice.
- Top with Zevia.
- Garnish with fresh lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.
6. Rose Lemon Spritzer
If you’re looking for a girly alternative, Half Baked Harvest has the perfect fizzy mocktail recipe for a girl’s night or baby shower — with its pink color and a girly garnish, it’s got all of the fun and none of the alcohol content.
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoon honey or to taste
- A few drops of pomegranate juice for color (optional)
- ¾ cup sparkling water or club soda to taste
- Fresh roses for garnish (optional)
- Combine all the rose water, fresh lemon juice, vodka, honey, and pomegranate juice (if using) in a cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice.
- Shake until combined and then strain into a glass.
- Pour in the sparkling water.
- Garnish with fresh roses.
Pro tip: This could be delicious with a non-alcoholic sparkling rosé instead of the seltzer water if you want a more flavorful variation.
7: Mango Mule
This tropical twist on a classic Moscow mule comes from Danielle Walker. If you love a fruity island feel, this is the mocktail for you.
- 4 to 5 slices of cucumber
- 1 ounce honey syrup*
- 1 1⁄2 ounce mango puree (blended fresh or frozen mango)
- 1 1⁄2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 1⁄2 ounce ginger beer
- Muddle cucumber and honey syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Add the mango purée and lime juice.
- Shake with ice, covered, vigorously for 10 seconds.
- Strain into a tall glass of fresh ice.
- Top with ginger beer and stir to incorporate.
8. French 75 Mocktail
This non-alcoholic version requires zero prep time. Traditionally made with gin, we like using a brut champagne. Champagne flutes or coupe glasses work best as your stemware of choice.
- 1 cans Surely Brut
- 1/4 cup pear juice
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pear for garnish
- Pour pear juice and lemon juice into a glass.
- Top with Surely Brut.
- Garnish with fresh pear if desired.
Have fun with garnishes. A lemon twist or lemon peel is traditional, but we’ve also seen rock candy swizzle sticks if you’re feeling flirty. If you want to show off what you learned in Cocktail, throw the pear and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice before straining into your glassware.
9. Whiskey Smash
Perfect for summer nights, it’s no wonder this refreshing cocktail has been popular since the 1800s. Thanks to Ritual Whiskey, you can now enjoy this classic without needing a designated driver.
- 2 oz. Ritual Whiskey Alternative
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- Half of one lemon, cut into wedges
- 8 mint leaves
- Mint sprig for garnish
- Place mint leaves, lemon, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
- Smash those ingredients (otherwise called muddling).
- Add the Whiskey Alternative and ice.
- Shake for 30 seconds.
- Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice.
- Slap the mint sprig to express its oils and garnish.
10. Virgin Mimosa
Feeling like brunch? The mimosa is one of the simplest cocktails to make, and our virgin mimosa recipe tastes just like the real thing — because it is. (Just without the booze.)
- 10 ounces orange juice
- 4 ounces Surely Sparkling White
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 2 strawberries
- Fill each champagne flute ⅔ full with orange juice.
- Fill to the top with Surely Sparkling White.
- Garnish with orange slices and strawberry.
11. Virgin Pina Coladas
Take your party straight to the islands with this fun take on pina coladas.
If serving just for adults, replace rum in this classic recipe with non-alcoholic wine. Choose a sparkling variety to keep fizz part of the fun. This recipe is for one serving.
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar/sugar substitute
- ½ cup lemon lime soda or pineapple juice
- Whisk coconut milk and sugar until sugar has dissolved.
- Pour soda or NA wine into the mixture and stir.
Prefer a slushie version? Add crushed ice! Garnish with pineapple wedges and maraschino cherries.
12. The Devil's Margarita
Try this delicious NA spin on a Devil’s Margarita, thanks to Liquor.com, and top with Surely’s non-alcoholic pinot noir.
- 1 ½ ounce Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative
- 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- ½ ounce non-alcoholic pinot noir
- Combine Tequila alternative, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake until chilled.
- Pour into your cocktail glass.
- Top with a dash of red wine for color.
What do mocktails consist of?
Mocktails consist of non-alcoholic drinks that are made with alcohol substitutes and are designed to look and feel like fancy drinks, just sans booze.
Why is it called a mocktail?
The word mocktail is a portmanteau of “mock” and “cocktail.” Mocktails emerged as a sober-friendly option for a night out, or in, that was a little more interesting than a glass of soda.
These elevated drink recipes look and taste similar to classic cocktails but leave out the booze. There are even sober bars dedicated to crafting the best mock cocktails around.
What are examples of other non-alcoholic beverages?
You can try great non-alcoholic beers, like Athletic Brewing, Surreal Brewing, or several others.
And let’s be honest… we know your non-alcoholic favorite for wine lovers: Surely Sparkling rosé (which makes a great addition to mocktails).
Which mocktail is best?
The best mocktails include virgin plays on popular cocktails like mojitos, bellinis, margaritas, and sangrias. There are also loads of delicious original recipes. Get creative!
How many types of mocktails are there?
There are countless mocktails — your imagination is the only limit. The varieties range from virgin versions of classics to innovative options like the Lady Lavender Mocktail or Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail
Mix It Up
As you can see, opting for mocktails does not mean cutting back on flavor or variety.
Unleash your creativity with these sober-friendly mocktail recipes, and don’t forget to grab some sparkling non-alcoholic rose for the days you just want a no-fuss NA beverage.
As you can see, reducing the amount of alcohol you consume does not mean cutting back on taste.
Unleash your creativity with these sober-friendly drinks, and don’t forget to grab some sparkling non-alcoholic rose for the days you just want something a no-fuss NA beverage.