Mocktails, or non-alcoholic cocktails, are the sophisticated alternative to the carton of lukewarm orange juice that designated drivers and other non-drinkers are so used to being offered.
The key is to a successful mocktail is to think about the three ingredients that a lot of cocktails have – citrus, sweet, and sparkling - and to play around with your favourite ingredients accordingly. Mocktails might take a bit more effort to make than serving most soft drinks but they taste so much better that they might even lure you into a booze-free evening.
Presentation is important, so invest in some cocktail umbrellas, maraschino cherries, and short straws to give your mocktails the professional touch.
Find out about the rise of grown-up soft drinks.
For sweetness we’ll be using honey syrup, which is a healthier and more delicious version of the traditional sugar syrup that most recipes use.
Just add equal quantities of clear honey and hot water, heating slowly in a pan until the honey dissolves. Leave to cool, bottle and store in the fridge for up to a month.
You can make flavoured honey syrups by adding an extra ingredient after the pan has been removed from the heat. Why not try lemongrass, cinnamon, lavender, mint, or lemon zest? Simply leave to infuse in the syrup for a couple of hours before straining and bottling as normal.
The Fluffy Bunny
- 550ml lavender honey syrup
- 25ml lemon juice
- 75ml apple juice
- 2 egg whites
- 2tbs caster sugar
- Popping candy
I’m indebted to the wonderful Jekyll and Hyde pub in Birmingham for giving me the idea of using toasted meringue and popping candy in this delicious mocktail. Despite what you might think, this goes down equally well with adults who love the trip down memory lane that the popping candy gives.
Whip the egg whites and the caster sugar together. Shake the lavender honey syrup, lemon juice, and apple juice together with ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with the meringue mixture. Brown carefully with a culinary blowtorch before sprinkling with popping candy. Serve with a smile and accept the compliments gracefully.
- 50ml honey syrup
- 50ml freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6-8 fresh mint leaves
- Slice of lime
- Soda water
Short and intense, this non-alcoholic Mojito is utterly addictive. (It probably counts as one of your five-a-day too. Maybe…)
Add the mint leaves and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Add the lime juice and shake again. Strain into a short tumbler filled with ice. Add a dash of soda water and garnish with mint and a slice of lime.
Add limeade to a tall glass filled with ice. Add a dash of the grenadine syrup (available from all good supermarkets), letting it trickle down through the ice to produce a graduated effect. Top with a maraschino cherry on a stick – or a cocktail umbrella if you’ve got one.
- 50ml ginger syrup (taken from a jar of preserved stem ginger)
- 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
- Soda water
- Stem ginger
Warm and sweet but never cloying, the Ginger Zinger is simply made by pouring the ginger syrup and lime juice into a tumbler. Stir thoroughly and top up with soda water and garnish with ice and a slice of stem ginger.
Cheery Cherry Fizz
- 150ml cherry juice
- 150ml ginger ale
I’m a huge cherry fan, and now that cherry juice is so widely available in the supermarket there is no reason not to enjoy that fabulous fruity taste in a mocktail.
Don’t be fooled by its simplicity; few drinks are as complex in the mouth as this. Simply mix and serve in a tall glass over ice.
Elderflower and Mint Sparkle
- 100ml elderflower cordial
- 1lt apple juice
1lt still or fizzy water
- Small handful mint leaves
This can be served in a jug for everyone to help themselves, leaving you free to entertain your guests. Simply mix and serve in a jug with ice and mint leaves.
- 50ml chamomile tea
- 50ml ginger ale
- 25ml lavender syrup
- 10ml lemon juice
For a more refined and complex cocktail, why not try a Chamomile Martini? Simply fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the chamomile tea (just make it as normal and leave to go cold), lemon juice and lavender syrup. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top up with ginger ale and serve.
Hosting a festive party? Read our ideas for Christmas party drinks.