Non-Alcoholic Mixology: Elevating the Art of Mocktails

Non-Alcoholic Mixology: Elevating the Art of Mocktails

Non-Alcoholic Mixology: Elevating the Art of Mocktails banner

In recent years, the number of adults choosing to abstain from alcohol has increased. In fact, according to Cleveland Clinic research, 28% of college students reported that they abstained from alcohol in 2018, compared to just 20% in 2002. Combine this with recent sobriety trends like “dry January,” and it’s easy to see why mocktails have gained popularity.

So, what exactly is a mocktail, and what role does creative mixology play in this emerging trend? We dive into this and our top picks for some of the best seasonal mocktails below.

What Is a Mocktail?

A mocktail simply refers to a non-alcoholic beverage typically consisting of fruit juices, soft drinks, and other mixers. Often, mocktails are served in cocktail glasses, so they have a nearly identical appearance to an alcoholic cocktail but with zero alcohol content.

Rising Trend of Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Recently, restaurants and bars across the country have seen a greater demand for non-alcoholic beverages. This includes non-alcoholic beers, wines, and creative mocktails that allow patrons to indulge in their favorite flavors without the alcohol.

In fact, according to a 2023 Forbes article, the past year marked the biggest growth in non-alcoholic beverage sales in five years, citing a 31.2% increase in sales compared to 2022. If you’ve strolled down the beer and liquor aisle at the grocery store in recent months, you’ve probably noticed an influx of non-alcoholic options yourself.

Creative Mixology’s Role

Where does creative mixology come into play here? Whereas most people think of creative mixology as being directly related to alcohol, the reality is that mixology does include the creation of non-alcoholic beverages as well.

As the demand for non-alcoholic versions of fan-favorite cocktails has grown, so has the role of creative mixology. Through experimentation and a little trial and error, mixologists have found ways to use ingredients like non-alcoholic gin, simple syrup, and fruit juices to concoct delicious virgin drink recipes.

Entrepreneurial Opportunity

As more bar and restaurant patrons continue ordering mocktails in lieu of traditional cocktails, there exists a huge opportunity for restaurant owners and other entrepreneurial spirits. Those who run their own restaurants and do not already have a dedicated mocktail menu should consider adding a few signature mocktails to their list of offerings, even if they have liquor licenses and a full bar.

Meanwhile, beverage developers stand to gain a lot of new business by offering zero-proof versions of popular drinks, including beers and wines.

Seasonal Mocktail Recipes

Looking to experiment with some delicious mocktails for yourself? We’ve got a few tried-and-true seasonal mocktail recipes to try throughout the year.


During the warmer months of summer, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing cocktail to keep you hydrated. Check out a couple of our favorite recipes below:

  • Summer Cup Mocktail – This fruity mocktail features berries, fresh mint, lemonade, and cucumber for a truly refreshing flavor you’ll be sipping guilt-free all summer long.
  • Homemade Lemonade and Mint Cooler – If you’re looking for a more sophisticated version of your favorite lemonade, this lemonade and mint cooler is a must-try. Featuring fresh lemons, sugar, mint, and soda water, you won’t miss the alcohol in this one.


With the cooler temperatures of autumn come the cravings for warm and cozy mocktails that you can enjoy all season long:

  • Autumn Apple Spice Mocktail – This recipe is a little more complex, requiring the creation of a spiced syrup in addition to the actual mocktail. However, with flavors of honey and cinnamon mixed with crisp apples and bubbly seltzer, this is a drink you’ll be reaching for all fall.
  • Virgin Cinnamon Pear Mocktail – If you’re seeking something a little simpler, this mocktail calls for just four ingredients (apple cider, cinnamon bitters, ginger beer, and apple slices for garnish) and is absolutely delicious in a classic rocks glass.


Warm up during the frigid winter months with one of these tasty mocktails:

  • Winter Wonderland Punch – Incorporating classic winter flavors like cranberry and orange, this non-alcoholic punch is perfect for a holiday party or just a snowy day in!
  • Tropical New Year’s Sparkler – Looking to escape the cold? This tropical sparkler mocktail is ideal for ringing in the new year while daydreaming of the warmth that summertime brings. The best part? This recipe is completely customizable, so you can make it with mango, pineapple, or any other festive flavor that floats your boat.


Celebrate the arrival of spring and warmer weather with these inspiring mocktails:

  • Mountain Fizz – Perfect for sipping in the great outdoors, this creative Mountain Fizz recipe incorporates fresh lime juice, club soda, honey, and mint to create a refreshing drink you’ll love.
  • Fiery Golden Mango Tonic – For something that packs a little more of a punch, this golden mango tonic is a must-try. With flavors of chamomile, mango juice, apple cider vinegar, and fresh ginger, we recommend whipping up a large batch of this in a pitcher to share with your favorite people.

Why Opt for Mocktails?

It’s no secret that mocktails have become more popular over the past few years, but why? There are many theories about this, beginning with the reasonable assumption that people are becoming more conscious about their health and wellness. Making the occasional (or permanent) switch to non-alcoholic beverages is a great way to avoid the unwanted side effects of alcohol consumption or overconsumption. Mocktails also help cut calories by using fruit juices like lemon and lime, which have fewer calories, adding sparkling water and flavoring with herbs and spices instead of sugary syrups.

Additionally, mocktails cater to different dietary preferences, especially for those who may be unable to consume alcohol due to allergies or other health conditions. A mocktail allows you to enjoy that feeling of indulgence and celebration without any of the adverse effects of alcohol.

Making Mocktails at Home

If you’re interested in making mocktails in your own home, you’ll want to begin by stocking up on some of the essential ingredients. This includes a variety of sodas, such as club soda, seltzers, and tonic. Likewise, fruit juices (such as fresh lemon and lime juice) are a popular staple of many mocktail recipes. You might consider buying this juice already squeezed or fresh-squeezing it yourself with each drink you make.

There are also various syrups you can buy (and even make) to elevate your mocktails to the next level. Grenadine is just one example of a popular syrup you can add to many mocktails for both color and flavor.

Interested in making your own simple syrup? It’s easier than you might think! All you need to do is combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Then, bring the mixture to a boil and stir frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved. You can then transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store it in your refrigerator for up to a month, using it in your mocktail recipes to add that perfect touch of sweetness.

In addition to these basic mocktail ingredients, don’t forget your garnishes. Some popular garnishes to consider include fresh fruit slices, mint leaves, cinnamon sticks, and citrus peels. Sugar and salt are also great for garnishing the rims of a drink glass.

For the most realistic mocktail experience, serve up your non-alcoholic beverages in classic drink glasses. Martini glasses, wine glasses, and rocks glasses are all must-haves to keep stocked at your mocktail bar for an authentic experience.

Begin Your Career in the Food and Beverage Industry

The mocktail and non-alcoholic beverage trend appears to be here to stay, making this an ideal time to get into this unique niche of the food and beverage industry. If you’ve been looking for the right food and beverage program to launch your career, Johnson & Wales University has you covered with our Bachelor of Science in Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship program that can be completed 100% online. This degree program could help prepare you for a rewarding, exciting career in the dynamic food and beverage industry—so get in touch to learn more or get started with your online application today.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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