Cocktails are wonderful things, and are an ideal indulgence on a hot summer day (or in fact, on plenty of other occasions too). But if you don’t drink alcohol, need to drive, or are otherwise not in the mood for the hard stuff, mocktails are a great substitute.
We’ve compiled this list of great mocktails so that, even if you’re staying stone-cold sober, you won’t miss out on that cocktail feeling.
1. Mango Mule
A Moscow Mule might have vodka in it, but this version simply leaves that out. Rest assured that this drink doesn’t lack for flavor – the mango, cucumber, simple syrup, and ginger beer mean that it’s a very lively drink that anyone can enjoy.
If you change your mind and decide you want a cocktail after all, it’s as simple as adding in a little bit of vodka.
Yes, there’s whiskey in the title but don’t worry, there’s no alcohol. Instead of whiskey, this recipe calls for an alcohol-free whiskey alternative.
There are a few different brands of this available now, the idea being to preserve the flavor, mouth feel, and burning sensation of whiskey without the booze.
That makes it perfect for this alcohol-free whiskey sour. Aside from this change, the recipe is a standard whiskey sour one, so you might not even notice the difference.
The virgin mojito is a classic mocktail. It preserves the sweet, minty, and tart flavor brought by the sugar, mint, and lime, just leaving out the rum that usually completes the picture. It’s easy enough to add the rum in if you decide you want an alcoholic drink after all.
Quite possibly the first mocktail ever, the Shirley Temple is a great choice for anyone of any age who’s in the mood for a non-alcoholic drink.
It’s named after the child actress of the 30s and 40s who later went on to become a diplomat. It’s a simple mixture of ginger ale, lime juice, and grenadine that feels just as sophisticated as any cocktail.
This mocktail is named after the American golfer Arnold Palmer. It’s a refreshing mixture of tea and lemonade, with a little bit of honey added in.
If you’re making some lemonade anyway, it might be a nice idea to save some of it to mix with some tea for an Arnold Palmer. The tart lemonade cuts through the slight bitterness of the tea to create a perfectly balanced flavor.
6. Roy Rogers
There are a lot of mocktails named after people for some reason, aren’t there? This one is named after the 40s and 50s actor and singer Roy Rogers. You might have seen him in more than a few Westerns.
The drink itself is simply cola (choose your favorite brand) with a splash of grenadine (a pomegranate sugar syrup), garnished with a maraschino cherry.
The grenadine adds a lovely, refreshing tang to the cola that makes it taste sharp and summery. Don’t forget to eat the cherry when you’re done with the drink!
You can probably guess which famous cocktail this is riffing on – yes, that’s right, the tequila sunrise. It’s actually a very similar recipe, except for the omission of the tequila in favor of orange bitters for an extra burst of flavor.
It’s a sharp, fruity concoction that works brilliantly as a summer drink. You can always add the tequila back in if you want to make it alcoholic, too.
8. Virgin Mary
No, not Jesus’ mother – this is an alcohol-free version of the notorious Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary – yes, the one with vodka in it – has a reputation as a hangover cure, but this alcohol-free version might be more advisable for that.
With or without the vodka, this is an ideal brunch drink that can be adjusted to any individual’s tastes – more or less lemon juice, more or less hot sauce, it’s up to you.
This is another mocktail that doesn’t just omit the alcoholic component but replaces it with a faux alcoholic ingredient. In this case, it’s the rum in the original recipe that’s replaced with mock rum syrup.
You can easily make this yourself from muscovado sugar and some spices. With the pineapple juice, lime juice, and coconut milk, this all creates a wonderfully tropical concoction of flavors that will feel like anything but a step down from the genuine article.
10. Baby Bellini
This version of the classic peach and champagne cocktail simply swaps the champagne for sparkling cider (the non-alcoholic kind, that is).
It’s a different flavor, to be sure, but it keeps the pleasant fizz of the champagne and depending on the cider you choose to use, you can make it sweeter or dryer, as you prefer.
11. Hot Not Toddy
Where a hot toddy traditionally contains whiskey, this version is more like a heavily spiced sweet tea, with honey and lemon juice mixing with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to produce the perfect drink to have before you turn in on a cold winter’s night. It also goes well with a slice of rum cake or fruit cake.
12. Citrus Fizz
This sharp drink of twinned lemon and lime juice sweetened with sugar is a perfect hot weather refreshment. Don’t forget the crushed ice to keep it nice and cold.
Of course, you can adjust the ratio of lemon to lime juice depending on which one you like best, and on how sour you like your mocktails.
This elegant, sophisticated mocktail is a bit like a non-alcoholic recreation of a sparkling wine drink like champagne or prosecco. It’s a mixture of white grape juice and soda water, with a nice sprig of mint for garnish.
White grape juice is definitely around, though it’s less common than red grape juice. If you want to use red grape juice instead, feel free, though it will obviously be a pretty different drink.
This one is something a bit more unusual. The main ingredient here is apricot nectar, but it’s paired with a little agave nectar too. A dash of grapefruit juice adds a touch of citrus bitterness and it’s topped up with lavender soda for a wonderfully floral finishing touch.
This drink really is unique – there’s nothing else like it – and it’s wonderfully refreshing. Drinking it will make you feel like you’re sitting in a beautiful garden on a relaxing day.
15. Sangria Mocktail
Sangria is a classic summer drink with red wine as its base, great for sipping during a picnic or a party. However, it’s easy to make without red wine too! All you need to do is replace the wine with grape juice. You can pick red or white, as you prefer.
Of course the red grape juice will come closer to the authentic sangria color, but the recipe also has cranberry juice for that, so don’t feel restricted. You’re also free to add whichever fruits you like to the drink.
Not only does this drink not contain any alcohol, but funnily enough, it doesn’t contain any lemon either. What it does contain is limes – they’re quartered and blended, peel and all, to allow the full flavor of the lime into the drink (the peel’s filtered out later).
The next main ingredient is condensed milk, setting this drink up as a tale of sweet and sour. Served over ice, this is another ideal beverage for relaxing on a hot day.
17. Steve McQueen
This sophisticated mocktail is an alcohol-free version of the classic cocktail called the sidecar. It includes an acidic ingredient called ginger gastrique to bring a ginger flavor and acidity.
The ginger is combined with apple and orange flavors to make this a delightfully tart, fruity, and spicy concoction. Note that the recipe does include bitters, which are alcohol based.
However, they’re entirely optional, so you can leave them out if you want to keep your drink totally alcohol-free.
This is a wonderfully fruity mocktail. It includes lemon, orange, and pineapple juices, along with grenadine and ginger ale.
It’s wonderfully fruity and tart and is sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by anybody, young or old. If you’re not a fan of ginger ale, you can replace it with soda water to neutralize the taste and emphasize the fruit a bit more.
19. Lime Rickey
A gin rickey without the gin. The combination of lime juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water goes down a treat and is sure to perk you up and help you relax on a summery day.
Adding alcohol is always an option if you want to turn this mocktail into a cocktail. Remember the ice, too!
You might have heard of butterbeer as one of Harry Potter’s favorite drinks. Harry and his friends are often seen drinking this beverage in the books about everyone’s favorite boy wizard and now you can too!
Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s no beer in this sugary concoction, just sweet treats. The whipped cream and butterscotch topping is essential for making it look right, so don’t skip it!
21. Chicha Morada
This one isn’t a traditional mocktail in that it’s not specifically trying to copy the style of a cocktail. This is a traditional cold beverage from Peru and the key ingredient is dried ears of Peruvian purple corn.
Other types of corn won’t do as a substitute, so check out your local Latin American market, or look online. To this you’ll add fruit, sugar, and spices to create an invigorating drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.
This delightful summer beverage is quite similar to a non-alcoholic version of Pimms and is the perfect thing to drink on a sunny, carefree day spent with friends.
The fruit and mint evoke relaxation while the sparkling lemonade adds a solid body of sweetness in the background.
Is there anything more refreshing on a summer afternoon than a slice of cool, fresh watermelon? In fact there is – it’s this watermelon lemonade!
The marriage of juicy watermelon and tangy lemon juice, tied up with a little sugar to balance the sweetness levels, is definitely a very happy one, and this is a drink where you won’t mind drinking the whole jug.
You probably already know that “agua fresca” is Spanish for “fresh water”. Aguas frescas come in many different types and are all popular summer drinks in Mexico. This version takes a particularly summery fruit, pineapple, as its main ingredient.
The pineapple is joined by a bit of lime for a wonderful sharpness and the drink can be sweetened with whatever sweetener you like – sugar will work, but you can also try honey, agave nectar, and so on.
Iced tea is a delicious summertime treat, and raspberry iced tea is a great take on it. The recipe lets you choose your own favorite tea.
Black tea, or a blend featuring it like Earl Grey, is a good choice because the boldness of the flavor compliments the fruitiness of the berries so well, but if you’d prefer a softer flavor like green tea you can go for it.
The mixture is livened up at the end with a little lemon juice to make it the perfect summer drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a mocktail?
If a cocktail is a mixed drink that includes an alcoholic component, a mocktail is a mixed drink that doesn’t contain any alcoholic ingredients. Mocktails copy the style of cocktails but leave out the alcohol so they can be enjoyed by anyone, including people who cannot or choose not to drink alcohol.
Some of them are drinks that were created without any alcoholic ingredients, while others are modified versions of alcoholic cocktails. Just about any cocktail you can name will have a mocktail version available online.
What is a mocktail made of?
The only thing that’s common to all mocktails is that they’re mixed drinks that don’t contain alcohol. That being said, there are some things that are often seen in mocktails. Probably the most common is fruit juice of some kind.
Citrus juices like lemon and lime are popular, but orange, pineapple, apple juice and various others are also used. Many also use some kind of syrup, such as simple syrup or grenadine.
That’s far from all, though – some mocktails include ingredients more exotic than these. Some used in cocktails on this list include black pepper, cloves, and lavender soda.
What replaces alcohol in mocktails?
That depends on the mocktail. In some mocktails, the alcohol is simply left out. This works perfectly well in a virgin mojito, for example.
In others, this wouldn’t work at all – a baby Bellini with no replacement for the champagne would just be a glass of peach nectar.
Sometimes the alcohol is swapped for something that imitates its flavor, sometimes it’s just replaced with something else that adds a nice touch to the drink.
Now that you’ve read this article, you should be overloaded with great ideas for mocktails. Whether the drinks are for you or for someone else who isn’t drinking, you’ll be able to enjoy any party or event to the fullest with these delicious recipes to call upon!