How to Make The Best Mocktail + Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes

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

Learn how to create the best no-alcohol drink using my tips, formula, and fresh ingredients.

drink with straw and no alcohol

If you want a weekend free of booze or jumping on the dry January bandwagon, hosting a baby shower or family party, and looking for the perfect alternative to a traditional mixed drink, keep reading this guide to make the best mocktail.

It’s always excellent as a host 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 be impressive and thoughtful for those who don’t want to consume alcohol.

What is the Difference Between Cocktail and Mocktail?

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

Sometimes, people want a fancy drink without spirits and prefer the non-alcoholic version. It is 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. 

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

Basic Formula for Making a Mocktail

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

  • 1 oz citrus juice: This can be fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice or fresh grapefruit juice, 
  • 1 oz simple syrup: Make your own by combining sugar and water in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil until the sugar melts. You can also use agave nectar to sweeten a mocktail. 
  • 2 oz non-alcoholic spirit: Any non-alcoholic spirit will work. 
  • Fresh herbs or berries: These are optional, but you can muddle them into the cocktail shaker to create different flavor concoctions. 
Ritual Zero Proof Gin Alternative for Mocktails

1. Choose a Zero-Proof Spirit

Choose a zero-proof for the mocktail. To give you ideas, here are a few of my 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 I used in this recipe. For a fresh, clean taste, it’s made from spices and distilled essences like juniper, angelica root, and cucumber. It works well when using our basic formula.

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

Amass: 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 more challenging 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 cocktails. 

Seedlip: Makes three versions of non-alcoholic spirits: garden, grove, and spice.

Monday Zero Alcohol Gin: Another excellent option and has zero carbs, no sugar, and zero-calorie non-alcoholic spirit. It’s made with juniper, natural botanicals, and citrus.

Three Spirit: 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.

Wildfred’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, zesty bitter orange, aromatic rosemary, and 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 in the United States. 

Pressing fresh lemon juice into a bowl.

2. Add Fresh Citrus Juice

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 it in the refrigerator to make quick cocktails!

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

3. Add a Sweetener

There are several ways to sweeten a mocktail. I’ve covered all of the options below:

Simple Syrup: Used often to sweeten cocktails, Simple syrup is made with 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar. The ingredients are simmered on a stovetop until the sugar has melted, leaving you with a sweet syrup. 

You can also make flavored syrup like rosemary, blueberry, and mint… the list goes on. Check out my 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 beautiful option to sweeten mocktails. It goes excellent with flavors like cranberry and vanilla.

Agave – A low glycemic sweetener option.

rosemary in cocktail shaker

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

5. Muddle and Shake

  • In a cocktail shaker, add 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.
Muddling herbs in a cocktail shaker.

Mocktail Recipes You’ll Love

If you want something more elevated, try any of these booze-free cocktails:

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.

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 iceblue ice, or strawberry ice cubes

Mocktail Mixers

Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer – These are non-alcoholic mixers that add 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 served with an ounce of fresh lime juice, so it becomes an instant, easy mocktail!

Fruit Juice: I like to use organic fruit juice to make a mocktail. 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 using Ritual gin. 

Lemon-Lime Soda: This is a great mixer to top off a mocktail.

When to Serve a Mocktail

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

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 a mixed drink. Like our recipe below. 
Some mocktails are popular drinks, like a margarita, but without the tequila. Other mocktails are drinks like a mango mule, an Arnold Palmer, lavender lemonade, or any other exciting combination of ingredients. 
Mocktails are made with juices, sodas, 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 mock and cocktail because they mimic cocktails without using spirits like vodka, rum, or gin. These are no-alcohol cocktails, which is where the phrase mocktail comes from. They’re also called virgin drinks. 

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. Following our recipe and guide will teach you 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 makes it feel like a “mocktail,” 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 using 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, you know these famous cocktails’ virgin equivalent does not contain alcohol. 

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

Turn These Drinks Into Mocktails

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

And check out all of our non-alcoholic drinks for Halloween!

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

Now that you know how to make non-alcoholic cocktails, you’re ready to start! Grab your shaker and cocktail jigger, and get going! 

Whether you’re planning a holidaycelebration, 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!

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.
4.88 from 8 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


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


  • 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. 


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


Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin C: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
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How to make a mocktail.

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