Can we celebrate sober?
Embarking on a social affair usually means meeting at a bar or restaurant for happy hours where the cocktails and conversation flow. But what if you’re looking to pump the brakes on the alcohol and explore more health-conscious alternatives to your drink-of-choice?
Enter mocktail — your solution to indulge in good company without compromising mental clarity. Mocktails are nothing new; you were drinking them before your 21st birthday. These sober-friendly social beverages have come a long way since the Shirley Temples and root beer floats of your slumber party days.
Obviously there are pros to celebrating a group function with the traditional libations. Alcohol has become a guest of honor in our gathering customs for a reason. Some people feel that alcohol brings out their fun side, others enjoy the momentary shedding of anxieties, and some simply savor the flavor of a glass of wine or a crisp martini. There are myriad reasons people reach for a glass, and all of them are valid. There are equally as many reasons that someone may feel compelled to celebrate sans spirits. Opting for a mocktail offers benefits beyond side-stepping the headaches and indigestion of a hangover. These fizzy, fruity concoctions are more versatile schedule-wise, not to mention much safer behind the wheel.
There’s a misconception about mocktails that non-alcoholic drinks must be underwhelmingly flat or overwhelmingly sugary. Nothing could be further from the truth! Since there’s no need to balance the taste of strong spirits, mocktails open the door to more possibilities when it comes to flavor combinations, with bases, seasonings, garnishes, and edible pairings all fair game to play with. The innumerable options in temperatures and textures — not to mention nutrition benefits — add endless novelty to any party-planner’s refreshment menu.
Enjoy the experience of being fully present to taste the subtle flavors of these winning mocktail recipes as you sip, and maybe extend your mindfulness beyond the rim of your glass.
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ½ cup green grapes halved
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup diced granny smith apples
- 1 bottle of sparkling grape juice
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl. Slowly pour in the sparkling grape juice. Serve in fancy glasses with the garnishes floating on top.
Blushing Virgin Martini
- 1 oz. sweetened cranberry juice
- ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
- Dash of orange extract or a pinch of orange zest
- 2-3 oz. citrus flavored sparkling water, chilled
- Add the first 3 ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with chilled sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Virgin Strawberry Gimlet
- 1 ½ oz. club soda
- 1-2 strawberries depending on size, stems removed
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup or a sugar cube
- Muddle the strawberries and simple syrup or sugar cube in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice and lime juice and stir. Top off with club soda, garnish with a lime wheel and a strawberry, if desired.
Spiced Apple Cider
- 1 gallon apple cider
- ¼ cup brown sugar, if desired
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. whole cloves
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise, or 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
- 1 orange sliced, plus more for garnish
- Bring everything to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve in mugs, making sure to avoid whole cloves. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange wheel, if desired.