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Mocktails and other non-alcoholic mixed drinks

Mockatils and non-alcoholic mixed drinks

Mocktails have become a must on menus and at parties, offering fun and flavour in a glass, without a drop of alcohol.

Refined, refreshing and oh-so gorgeous, cocktails are a favourite at restaurants and bars around the world. But many people choose to abstain – for one evening or as part of their lifestyle – for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they’re the designated driver, are participating in the Dry January challenge, or simply don’t like the flavour or effects of spirits. That’s why mocktails, the perfect combination of taste and festivity without any of the booze, have become a party essential.

The rules of mocktails

When it comes to mocktails, there are no rules except one: alcohol is not allowed. Other than that, anything goes!

At the same time, the unspoken rule of alcohol-free mixology is that the drink should never be boring. That was one reason the mocktail originally had a less-than-stellar reputation. People equated it with the Shirley Temple, an orange-pink concoction topped with a maraschino cherry, which was often much too sweet.

With surprising authenticity and elegant garnishes, today’s mocktails are virtually indistinguishable from their boozy cousins.

What replaces alcohol in a mocktail?

One way to make a mocktail is to take a cocktail recipe and simply skip the alcohol. That’s not a bad option, and is in fact how bartenders make virgin versions of many classic drinks. The base is usually club soda, tonic water or ginger ale, to which are added syrups, fruit juices, aromatics and garnishes.

However, many mixologists in upscale bars and restaurants like to go one step further with their non-alcoholic drinks, using craft ginger beers, tonic syrups and fruit nectars. There are also zero-proof alternatives to whiskey, gin, tequila, vodka and rum, giving mocktails the note and complexity of the original versions – but without the after-effects.

How to make and serve mocktails

For your next house party, add mocktails to the drinks menu. Invest in artisanal ginger beer, zero-proof spirits and non-alcoholic sparkling wines. Don‘t forget to assemble a collection of high-end mixers. Besides fruit juices and purées, try more unusual choices like grade A maple syrup, coconut water, unpasteurised apple cider, lychee syrup and cold-brew coffee. Note that most bitters contain 35%-45% alcohol, so opt for a glycerine-based version if you want a 100% boozeless drink.

It wouldn’t be a mocktail without the garnish! Have on hand fresh mint, orange peels, fresh fruit, cucumber ribbons and good olives with their brine.

When to drink mocktails?

One of the great things about mocktails is that you can enjoy them day or night. A virgin mimosa or Bloody Mary is the ideal accompaniment at brunch. Hosting a luncheon? Be sure to offer your guests a raspberry mojito or cucumber-basil lemonade. For a convivial yet responsible night out, opt for the nightclub’s non-alcoholic mixed drinks.

Conscious consumption is in, so raise a glass (or two) to the mocktail!

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