Here are all the best mocktail recipes to try! These non alcoholic cocktails make virgin drinks just as delicious as the real thing.
Looking for mocktail recipes? Turns out, you don’t need alcohol to make a tasty drink! In fact, you can make mixed drinks that are just as delicious as a signature cocktail: with no alcohol at all. Here are all our tricks to building stellar mocktails: both free-form drinks and virgin drinks based on classic cocktails. You’ve just got to have a few tricks in mind when building your drinks: so they don’t just taste like fruit juice! Here’s what to know.
What is a mocktail?
A mocktail is a non alcoholic cocktail: a mixed drink without the liquor! Mocktails are the perfect choice for people who are pregnant or avoiding alcohol. With a little know, you can make drinks that are just as tasty as the real thing.
Looking for mocktail recipes? Scroll down to the list of our top mocktail recipes: virgin drinks based on the classics. Or, keep reading for how to make a free-form mocktail using a few tips we’ve learned through experimentation.
Tips for how to make a mocktail
How to make a mocktail? It’s easy to mix something together: but often with no alcohol it ends up testing like fruit juice. Instead, here are a few tricks for adding complexity to the flavor of your free-form mocktails:
Use bubbly mixers. Soda water, tonic water, and even ginger ale or ginger beer and great for adding lift to your mocktails with carbonated bubbles. When in doubt: add bubbles!
Consider a “mock” alcohol to add complexity. Here’s a cool mocktail trick: a teaspoon or two of caper juice or pickle juice can taste like alcohol! It sounds weird, but it actually works. Our Virgin Margarita recipe below has a hint of pickle juice, which gives a finish that tastes oddly like tequila.
Consider non-alcoholic bitters. A few dashes of bitters add herbal complexity to cocktails. There are some non-alcoholic brands that you can experiment with for mocktails, too!
Load up on fancy garnishes and clear ice. It’s all about presentation! The fun thing about our cocktail recipes is not just that they taste good: they look beautiful, too! Try clear ice, artisan style crystal clear ice that makes your drink look like it came from a fancy bar. Depending on the drink, load up on cocktail cherries, citrus wedges, or fresh herbs.
Best mocktail recipes!
Ready for some mocktail recipes? These are all non alcoholic cocktails that are virgin drinks based on classics from the Margarita to the Mojito!
Craving a margarita but can’t drink? Or serving a crowd and need a non-alcoholic option? Enter the Margarita Mocktail! It’s tangy and refreshing, punctuated by that classic salt rim. Even better, it’s got a surprise that brings a bit of “funk” to the flavor that’s reminiscent of tequila. It’s the non alcoholic mocktail spin on our Classic Margarita.
Are there any cocktail drinks more refreshing than a mojito? This iconic Cuban drink is one of the greats. Here’s a recipe for it that’s spot on perfection: not too sweet, bubbly, and minty fresh. For the mocktail version, just omit the rum! Or for our favorite version, substitute double the simple syrup for orgeat, an almond flavored syrup that adds a delicious complexity.
Ingredients: Lime juice, fresh mint, soda water, simple syrup or orgeat
A virgin piña colada is really just a fancy name for a pineapple smoothie…but giving it a mocktail moniker makes it all the more fun! It comes out frosty and tropical, with a hint of fruity coconut and just sweet enough. It's the mocktail spin on our Frozen Piña Colada: hold the rum.
Here’s a bubbly drink that’s equally as refreshing as a cocktail or mocktail: the Lime Rickey! This refreshing drink is a cousin of the classic Gin Rickey, with no alcohol. Take one sip and it’s fizzy, bubbly, and ultra tangy: with effect of jumping into a cold pool on a hot summer day.
Ingredients: Lime juice, simple syrup or caper juice, soda water
Here’s everyone’s favorite mocktail: the Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri! Hands up: who ordered as a tween to feel sophisticated and grown up? This recipe makes a beautifully fruity version of the classic drink, no rum required. There are a few secrets to avoid tasting like a strawberry smoothie This delicious homemade mocktail is berry-forward, sweet tart and fruity, with a hint of intrigue on the finish.
Ingredients: Frozen strawberries, lime juice, simple syrup, tonic water or lemon lime soda
Here's the most famous mocktail of them all: the Shirley Temple! This isn’t the overly sweet, syrupy version of this drink. The classic way is actually made without soda: just three ingredients and totally clean flavors. It’s not just for kids! This mocktail works for anyone looking for a bubbly, refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Even better: try our all-natural homemade grenadine that skips the artificial flavors and colors.
Ingredients: Grenadine, lime juice, ginger ale or ginger beer
Here’s a great mocktail trick that works for people of all ages: the Non Alcoholic Mimosa! This drink is so simple to put together, and it’s totally customizable for kids or people avoiding alcohol. You can make this virgin drink at the same time as the classic Mimosa, and it works for a crowd! It tastes surprisingly balanced: citrusy and bubbly with a hint of ginger on the finish.
Craving a Bloody Mary but can’t do alcohol? Make this Bloody Mary mocktail, aka the Virgin Mary, and you’ll hardly know the difference! It’s so full of flavor: savory, tangy, spicy, and salty all at once! You’ll hardly believe it’s a mocktail. In fact, we almost like this one even better than our classic Bloody Mary, especially because you can drink as many as you want.
Here’s an iconic drink that’s more than the sum of its parts: the Arnold Palmer! It’s simple, but somehow it stuck: a mix of zingy lemonade and earthy iced tea. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day! This works well as a party drink or mocktail.
Here’s a bright, beautiful mocktail: the Cherry Lime Rickey! Something about the combination of cherries and lime is pure genius, where the tart of the citrus perfectly accentuates the sweet berry. So combining it into a homemade mocktail or cocktail? Well, it’s pretty darn perfect. Here you’ll take a lime rickey mocktail and add a cherry syrup to bring in that candy-colored flavor. (You can also add gin for the alcohol drinkers!)
Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
In the serving glass, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and pickle juice (adds just the right funky flavor to mimic tequila). Add the tonic water and ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.