Whether you’re abstaining for health reasons or just because you want to, it can be hard to sip on sparkling water when everyone around you is enjoying an adult beverage. However, there is no reason you can’t spice up your sober life with some amazing mocktail options.
What’s going to set your mocktail apart from just another sip of sparkling water is texture, explains Spindrift.
“In mocktails, texture is more important than most home bartenders realize! Utilize bubbles like sparkling water for an elevated homemade mocktail. Spindrift’s eleven flavors offer a wide variety of tangy and sweet, low-sugar options for getting started,” the brand says.
Doug Metchick, acting CMO of Regatta Craft Mixers, says that while sparkling water and club soda are great starts to building a mocktail, he encourages the use of ginger-based bases for more depth of flavor right off the bat.
“Ginger-based alternatives — like ginger ale and ginger beer — offer more depth of flavor and complexity for more unique and better tasting drinks,” he says.
The next step to creating a mocktail that will knock all its alcoholic counterparts out of the water is determining the style of mocktail you want to create — carbonated and refreshing, savory and full bodied or smooth and fruity. From there, create flavor pairings that work well together and add your mixer base.
“Like it’s full alcohol counterpart, an enjoyable non-alcoholic beverage must maintain a balance between sugar and acid, depth and complexity. Once you have established your flavor profile, it’s time to add the mixer. Whether tonic, soda, seltzer, ginger beer, juice or other, the mixer should complement, not overwhelm the flavors in the drink,” Metchick says.
And, notes Spindrift, building the perfect mocktail has the same steps as building a great cocktail, starting with muddled or freshly-squeezed fruit and ice, as well as a sweetener, if desired. From there, is as simple as shake, strain and top with your choice of bubbly mixer.
Getting creative and fun with herbs, fruits and other ingredients is the last step to making a mocktail you will want to drink again and again. Use fresh herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and even botanicals to create fuller, more unique flavors.
“A great tip when building a mocktail is to muddle two or more ingredients together — like cucumber and jalapeño, or watermelon and mint — to marry the flavors creating a more interesting drink,” adds Metchick.
Spindrif says that using syrups and getting creative with flavorings can also up the ante on your non-alcoholic sipper.
“Depending on if the mocktail you have in mind is sweet or salty, experiment with adding simple syrup, agave nectar, raw sugar or salt to really maximize taste. You can sample along the way to make sure you’re sweetening your drink for your flavor preference,” the brand says.
And, notes the brand, don’t forget the garnishes. They can help make it feel like a cocktail, even though you’re abstaining from imbibing. Just make sure the garnishes carry a complementary flavor to the mocktails being served.
“Garnishes and other ingredients are a great way to enhance the overall taste experience because they usually sit right on the edge of the glass where the drinker can interact with them as they drink. We love to finish mocktails with fresh fruits, peels, mint leaves or sprigs of herbs because they add aromatics as well as a little complexity to the taste of the mocktail,” Spindrift says.
If all else fails, though, and your creative energy has been zapped, Spindrift reminds that with just a few tweaks, almost every cocktail can be made into a mocktail, so relying on some of your classic go-tos can work just as well.