Whether you are choosing to cut down on alcoholic drinks for Dry January or abstain altogether as a lifestyle choice, or simply want to avoid getting caught out with a hangover the next day, our expert mixologist friends at The Mixer have put together some useful advice on how to swap out your alcohol without losing out on taste.
We can’t help getting excited about the growing mocktail trend that offers a delicious sipping experience, minus the alcohol.
Once you find the perfect mocktail recipes to add to your repertoire, it makes it a lot easier to go alcohol free, or to consume alcohol more intentionally as less of a regular thing.
It’s no secret that mocktails are popping up everywhere. But not every drink is created equal. What makes one mocktail better than another?
In this post, we’ll cover 3 of the most popular mocktail hacks to help you perfect your mocktail game.
How to Turn Your Favorite Cocktail into a Mocktail
Whether you’re going sober or just keen to try something different, making mocktails is a great way to build out your drinks repertoire at home.
When you’re building a cocktail, it’s all about the balance. Your tastebuds register five flavor profiles — sweet, salty, sour, bitter and the umami.
An alcoholic spirit can offer a few of these profiles, but how do you get by without? The trick is to include a few key ingredients that can transform your drink:
Balance your sweet and sour
For your sweet, keep a simple syrup to hand. It’s easy to make at home and blends well in a mocktail.
If you like, you can add additional flavor profiles to your simple syrup, like orange zest or rosemary. For the sour part, add some freshly squeezed lemon, lime or grapefruit juice, some cranberry juice or even just a dash of vinegar.
If you’re a fan of an aperitif like a Negroni or an Old Fashioned, then adding that bitter element is a must. Adding a dash of bitters does technically mean that you’re adding alcohol but it’s a fraction, about the same as adding vanilla extract into a cake. Alternatively, if adding bitter is not an option, then brew some black tea for longer than usual, resulting in a tannic bitter liquid. Add a zest of orange and a dash of this mixture can sub in for your bitters.
Creating Texture for your Mocktail
By texture, we mean bubbles, club soda, sparkling seltzer or tonic water, which often includes a faint hint of saltiness too.
Adding texture to a mocktail makes it “thicker” on the palate and helps to slow down one’s sipping. Blending or muddling fruit can also add texture.
Take a Mojito: when you muddle mint and sugar with lime zest, it gives the drink its classic texture.
The Best Alcohol Substitutes To Use For Mocktails
Mocktails are not just about the taste – they’re about the social aspect of enjoying drinks, and going alcohol free does not mean you have to miss out.
When you ditch the booze in a cocktail, you’ll need to make sure you add in the kick of flavor and texture that spirits give. Here are some of our favorite substitutes:
Adding unsweetened club soda or seltzer is an easy swap that gives the all-important texture and savory profile.
A ginger beer or lemonade are ideal substitutes that give the palate a kick. If these are too sweet for your taste, tone it down with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a top up of soda water or sparkling water.
Kombuchas and bitter ice teas
Look out for unsweetened teas and kombuchas, which add a serious amount of acidity, and some have a good fizz too.
Kombucha is a fermented drink that will add a serious depth of flavor to your mocktail but, watch out as some can have marginal alcohol content, so check the labels before you buy.
A trendy product that’s a great switch for a spirit is a non-alcoholic spirit, flavored with botanicals like gin. You’d mix this classically instead of gin, but they work for vodka too.
Health-Boosting Mocktail Ingredients and Garnishes
Healthy mocktails are just as delicious, but with added benefits!
Here are a few fun ingredients and garnishes you can add to the mocktails you make at home to also give you a health boost:
Pomegranate juice and pomegranate pips (also called rubies) are full of antioxidants that can help to support urinary health and keep inflammation at bay. It may also improve exercise endurance and boost heart health.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries all contain fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants that are associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They are also quite low in calories.
Ginger is an age-old remedy that is used in healing mixtures and tinctures around the globe. It contains a bioactive compound called gingerol that may help the body fend off day-to-day sicknesses, as well as chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy aging.
Watermelon is an incredibly hydrating fruit that contains loads of fiber as well as nutrients like lycopene that can promote skin health and keep you nice and regular.
Cherries are also low in calories and contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a nice amount of fiber. Also, how lovely do they look draped over the rim of a mocktail glass?
Fresh herbs and flowers
Fresh herbs and flowers like mint, lavender, rose, rosemary, sage, and basil not only look pretty as a garnish and smell divine, but they also impart essential oils into a drink that can be very beneficial in these small doses.
Here are a few simple mocktail recipes try out when you’re in the mood for some fancy beverages, minus the alcohol.
These seasonal refreshing alcohol free cocktails are sure to be a hit!
For even more drinkspiration please visit: https://www.themixer.com/en-uk/
We hope you enjoyed these hacks to help put together some refreshing alcohol free mocktails, through dry January and beyond.
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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.