Guide to Making the Best Mocktail Recipe

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A simple guide to making the best mocktail recipe! Using modern zero-proof spirits and our basic formula, you’ll learn how to create a fresh drink without alcohol that truly resembles a cocktail! This is your guide to making the best mocktail recipes.

Learn how to create your own mocktail recipe using our tips, formula and fresh ingredients to make the best no alcohol cocktails.

drink with straw and no alcohol

If you’re wanting a weekend free of booze or you’re jumping on the dry January bandwagon, maybe hosting a baby shower or family party and looking for the perfect alternative to a traditional mixed drink, keep reading this guide to making the best mocktails.

It’s always nice as a host to be able to whip up a festive and impressive drink without spirits for a guest who doesn’t “drink.” Knowing how to make a quick mocktail will not only be impressive but thoughtful for those who don’t want to consume alcohol.

What is the Difference Between Cocktail and Mocktail?

Mocktail drinks are mixed drinks minus the alcohol. Cocktails are mixed drinks containing alcohol.

Sometimes people want a fancy drink without spirits and prefer the non-alcoholic version. Also known as a virgin drink.

mocktail with rosemary, zero proof spirit and simple syrup.

How to Make the Best Mocktail Recipe

The secret to making a mocktail is using fresh ingredients, just as you would with a cocktail. Using a non-alcoholic, botanical alternative is one of the best things you can do when making a drink without alcohol. Then you need a citrus base and a simple syrup.

It’s simply doing the same thing you would for a cocktail, but instead of using vodka or gin, you replace it with a Zero Proof spirit instead. 

It’s very easy to switch out gin and vodka drinks. It can get a little trickier when trying to substitute for dark spirits like bourbon and tequila since they have such a distinct taste. We recommend  sticking to the lighter zero-proof spirits like gin and vodka for a refreshing and delicious mocktail.

Ritual Zero Proof Gin Alternative for Mocktails

Zero Proof Spirits

Here are a few of our favorite non-alcoholic spirits. These are spirits that are made to be mixed with other ingredients. Use these spirits to make our mocktail recipe.

Ritual Gin

Ritual is what we used in this recipe. It’s made from spices and distilled essences like juniper, angelica root, and cucumber for a fresh, clean taste. It really works well when using our basic formula.

Ritual Tequila

Ritual tequila is another great option for making non-alcoholic margaritas! If you have a favorite recipe, just swap out tequila for this and I promise it will be somewhat similar!

Amass

Amass is a non-alcoholic spirit formulated with 14 natural botanicals for a complex flavor. It is also vegan and gluten-free with 0% Alcohol and zero calories. It comes in many different varieties like Botanic Vodka and Dry Gin.

Lyre’s American Malt

Dark liquors are much harder to get a similar flavor to an aged whiskey or rye. However, Lyre’s has created a formula that captures the American classic bourbon malt. This is perfect for winter cockails.

SEEDLIP

Seedlip makes three versions of non-alcoholic spirits, garden, grove, and spice. Garden has an herbal flavor profile, grove is citrus-forward and perfect for spring and summer drinks and spice is a blend of allspice berry and cardamom.

MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin

Monday Zero Alcohol Gin is another great option. It’s zero carbs, no sugar, and zero-calorie non-alcoholic spirit. It’s made with juniper, natural botanicals, and citrus.

Three Spirit

Three Spirit is a company that creates plant-based alternative spirits that stimulate the mind, body, and palate. They worked with scientists, world-class bartenders, hedonists, herbalists, and artists to make these non-alcoholic spirits the best they can be.

Wilfred’s Non-Alcoholic Aperitif

If you’re a fan of a refreshing Aperol spritz on a hot summer day, then Wilfred’s Aperitif is for you! It’s made with natural botanicals, made with zesty bitter orange, aromatic rosemary, and just a hint of rhubarb.

Pair it with tonic water, over ice for a refreshing summer mocktail.  It’s made in Britain, but you can buy it from Food52 in the United States.

Pressing fresh lemon juice into a bowl.

Citrus

Choose citrus to act as the base of the cocktail. You’ll want to make sure these are fresh-squeezed for the best results. Squeeze a jar full and store in the refrigerator so you can make quick cocktails!

  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Grapefruit Juice
Ingredients to make a mocktail with lemon juice, rosemary, muddler.

Sweeteners

Simple Syrup – Used often to sweeten cocktails, Simple syrup is made with 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar. The ingredients are simmer on a stovetop until the sugar has melted, leaving you with a sweet syrup. You can also make flavored syrup like rosemary, blueberry, mint… the list goes one. Check out our guide to making simple syrups. It’s very informative!

Honey Syrup – A great alternative to simple syrup, but made with honey and water. This is a healthier option to sweeten a mocktail.

Maple Syrup – For winter mocktails, maple syrup is a wonderful option to sweeten mocktails. It goes great with flavors like cranberry and vanilla.

Agave – A low glycemic sweetener option.

rosemary in cocktail shaker

Herbs + Berries

Herbs and berries are a great way to easily layer flavors. Simply, choose a fresh herb like rosemary or mint and add it to the bottom of the cocktail shaker.

Next, muddle it with the simple syrup and citrus juice to let the aromas out. You will strain the cocktail leaving any full herbs behind. Here’s a list of herbs and berries that work great!

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Mint Leaves
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lavender
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
Pouring lemon juice into a cocktail shaker with rosemary.

Basic Formula for Making a Mocktail

The same basic formula we use to make our mix and match cocktails is also what we use to make a perfect mocktail. The best part is that you get to choose your own flavors and drink! It’s an easy mocktail recipe to follow but allows you to create your own flavor combinations.

Mocktail Ingredients

1 oz citrus juice

1 oz simple syrup

2 oz non-alcoholic spirit

Optional – fresh herbs or berries

Muddling herbs in a cocktail shaker.

Directions

  • In a cocktail shaker, add the citrus juice and simple syrup. If you’re muddling any berries or herbs, also add those. 
  • Add in the non-alcoholic spirit and a handful of ice.
  • Shake for 25 seconds.
  • Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish.

Mocktail Garnishes

Add some charm to non-alcoholic drinks with a festive garnish. It’s all about the presentation so put in the extra effort to make a fun drink.

  • Maraschino Cherry
  • Cocktail Umbrellas
  • Dehydrated Citrus

Tips for Making a Mocktail

It’s all about presentation so use garnishes to make it look pretty and festive like a cocktail.

Shake with ice and strain just as you would a cocktail. This will give it the fresh, cold taste that a cocktail has.

Use non-alcoholic bitters to give the drink even more flavor depth.

Make fun simple syrup recipes like cranberry or hibiscus.

Add in fun ice to keep it cool. Try our pink ice, blue ice or strawberry ice cubes.

Mocktail Mixers

Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer – These are both non-alcoholic mixers that will add a ginger flavor and bubbles to a mocktail.

Club Soda – This helps dilute a drink and adds some bubbles.

Tonic Water – A sweeter and flavored version of soda water. It’s made with quinine and with served with an ounce of fresh lime juice it becomes an instant, easy mocktail!

Fruit Juice – We like to use organic fruit juice to make mocktails. Try our watermelon juice, lime and a dash of soda water.

Pineapple Juice – This and some cream of coconut will give you something similar to a virgin pina colada.

Cranberry Juice – A classic mixer that pairs nicely with zero-proof spirits. Follow our recipe for a cranberry thyme gin and tonic by using Ritual gin.

When to Serve a Mocktail

Mocktails can be served at happy hour, for brunch or on any of these special occasions: 

Pool Party 

Beach Bonfire 

Birthday Party it’s also perfect for a last-minute birthday party!

Carnival Party

Garden Party 

Tropical Party

Kentucky Derby Party

Cookies and Cocktail Party

Pouring a mocktail into a glass.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Types of Mocktails?

Arguably, the most famous mocktail is the Shirley Temple. However, they have come a long way since the invention of the Shirley Temple. Some bartenders take the mocktail to a new level, carefully crafting them like they would a mixed drink. Like our recipe below.

Some mocktails are popular drinks, like a margarita, but without the tequila. Other types of mocktails are drinks like a mango mule, an Arnold Palmer, lavender lemonade, or any other interesting combination of ingredients. 

Mocktails are made with juices and sodas with herbs and syrups sometimes added in for an extra kick. Follow our guide to see how we make the best version!

Why is it Called a Mocktail?

The word mocktail comes from the combination of the words mock and cocktail because they mimic cocktails but without using spirits like vodka, rum, or gin, for example. They are no alcohol cocktails which is where the word mocktail comes from.

What Makes a Good Mocktail Recipe?

A good mocktail recipe is one that combines a sense of sophistication with various delicious ingredients. Using fruit pureé, sparkling water, muddled herbs, and flavored syrups, you can create the perfect drink without the worry of waking up with a headache! 

Do you have some rosemary or mint in your garden? How about some fresh blueberries or peaches? The sky is the limit on how creative you can get when creating a mocktail drink. 

Is there alcohol in mocktail?

A mocktail doesn’t contain any alcohol at all. It’s a fun and festive drink without any alcohol. There is an art to making a good mocktail and making it taste and look like a cocktail. If you follow our recipe and guide you will learn how to make the best mocktail using fresh ingredients.

How are mocktails served?

Mocktails can be served in cocktail glasses like a double-old fashioned glass, highball glass, martini glass, copper mug, or a festive coupe. Serving a mocktail in a cocktail glass is what makes it feel like a “mocktail” which is a cocktail without alcohol. You want this drink to feel special like a cocktail.

What is the difference between mojito and mocktail?

A mojito is a cocktail made with rum, lime, mint, simple syrup, and club soda. A mocktail is a drink made without alcohol. You can make a virgin mojito or mocktail version of a mojito by using a zero-proof rum to replace the rum in the recipe. 

Mocktail cocktail with a floral straw.

What Does Virgin Alcohol Mean?

Have you ever ordered a virgin Bloody Mary or a virgin Piña Colada? If you have, then you know that the virgin equivalent of these famous cocktails does not contain alcohol. 

There are also alcohol-free versions of wines, like Riesling or a non-alcohol Campari. 

Mocktail Recipes You’ll Love

Add a no-alcoholic spirit to any of these drinks below for a quick mocktail recipe:

How to Make an Arnold Palmer

Refreshing Honeydew Lemonade

Fresh Watermelon Juice

Agua Fresca Recipes

Hydrating Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

Homemade Lemonade

Topo Chico and Lime

You can also make virgin versions of these classic cocktails by replacing the spirit with a non-alcoholic spirit.

Whether you’re planning a holiday, celebration, or everyday party, we at Sugar and Charm have you covered. We have advice for everything you need for easy, fabulous entertaining. 

Let us know if you make this tasty drink by leaving a comment and review below!

You can also FOLLOW US on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious recipes, cocktails, desserts and parties!

A Basic Formula to Make the Best Mocktail!

An easy formula for making a fresh, classic mocktail! Try this recipe or switch it out to make your own by using our guide.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 mocktail
Calories: 83kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 1 oz lemon juice , fresh-squeezed
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz non-alcoholic gin spirit
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, add the citrus juice and simple syrup and rosemary.
  • Muddle the rosemary with the juice and simple syrup.
  • Add in the non-alcoholic spirit and a handful of ice. 
  • Shake for 25 seconds.
  • Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish. 

Notes

Use this basic formula to make your own flavors! Substitute any citrus and non-alcoholic spirit. You can also infuse the simple syrup or middle herbs and berries. 
It’s fun to think of new flavors and ideas, always using the 1-ounce citrus juice, 1-ounce simple syrup, and 2 ounces botanical non-alcoholic spirit.
Make sure you always shake the cocktail for 25 seconds with ice. 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin C: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
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