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What Are the Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails by Type?

toasting with mocktails

There’s no doubt alcoholic cocktails are great but there might be times when you crave a non-alcoholic beverage that’s just as flavorful and refreshing. Luckily, there are so many options that don’t include booze – and it’s easy to find something for every occasion.

Whether you’re looking for a new flavor combination to try or you’re considering a career as a Bartender, it’s good to know what the best non-alcoholic cocktails are.

In this article, we group them by type and discuss what it is that makes them special.

Introduction to the World of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

Non-alcoholic cocktails or mocktails gained momentum during the Prohibition era in the U.S. The government imposed a ban on alcoholic beverages and people still wanted drinks that deliver the sophisticated flavors they’ve gotten used to. That’s how they started experimenting with combinations that don’t include liquor.

Mocktails continued to stick around even once the Prohibition was over. They remained a popular choice in bars and restaurants and have since evolved from sugary mixtures into more complex drinks.

Today, mocktails are often served as a way to create an enjoyable drinking experience for those who don’t want to consume alcohol.

Classic Mocktails Everyone Should Know

Some of the oldest mocktails have stood the test of time. Although introduced in the early days of mocktails, these drinks are still present on menus in most bars and restaurants. If you want a classic mocktail, here are some of the options you can go for:

Roy Rogers

The Roy Rogers mocktail is a non-alcoholic drink made with cola and grenadine. Usually, it’s garnished with a maraschino cherry and served with ice.

This drink is also often called a cherry cola, even though it’s not cherry-flavored. In this case, “cherry” refers to the garnish.

Created in the 1940s, it was named after American actor and singer Roy Rogers who also didn’t drink alcohol. This drink was frequently ordered in bars and restaurants even before the term “mocktails” was introduced.

roy rogers mocktail

Shirley Temple

Another famous alternative to alcoholic cocktails is the Shirley Temple. It’s a combination of ginger ale and a splash of grenadine. To complete the look, Bartenders often garnish it with maraschino cherries. The drink is known for its pink hue and fizzy look.

When the famous 1930s child actress, Shirley Temple, attended parties with other celebrities, they had to prepare non-alcoholic cocktails for her. That’s how this staple mocktail was born.

(However, Temple herself wasn’t a fan of the drink. She even filed a lawsuit to prevent companies from selling a bottled version of this mocktail.)

Pink Lemonade

This popular variation of the traditional lemonade is made by combining lemon juice with another fruit – typically raspberry, strawberry or watermelon. The recipe isn’t set in stone and people often experiment with different fruits.

Although the origin of this drink isn’t entirely clear, one story suggests that a circus worker created the first version of the pink lemonade by accidentally dropping in red cinnamon candies.

The pink lemonade is also often sold in stores, but this variation is made by simply coloring the drink with dyes or grape juice.

Popular Contemporary Mocktails

People continue to look for tasty and sophisticated non-alcoholic alternatives to traditional cocktails. In the past few decades, many new combinations have emerged that deliver the same flavors but without liquor. Here are some of the best drinks that belong to this category:

Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary is a non-alcoholic version of the popular Bloody Mary cocktail. It removes the vodka from the original recipe and is made with tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper and celery salt.

The recipe is highly adjustable and you’ll sometimes see Bartenders add other ingredients such as paprika, nutmeg and garlic powder.

One of the reasons why this mocktail is so popular is that it’s also quite nutritious given that tomato juice is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

virgin mary mocktail

Lime Rickey

This refreshing mocktail is made with lime juice, simple syrup and seltzer. The traditional version is made with gin but the drink tastes just as good without it.

Since the lime rickey is all about carbonation, it’s always made with a fresh bottle of seltzer. Bartenders often use small bottles to avoid using seltzer that has gone flat.

It’s also possible to add a different touch to this drink by adding ginger syrup, which is generally a good combination with lime. A variation called raspberry lime rickey also includes a few muddled raspberries.

Peach and Strawberry Fizz

The peach and strawberry mocktail is made with fresh peaches, fresh strawberries and sparkling water. If fresh fruit isn’t available, peach and strawberry syrups can work as substitutes.

The mocktail is often garnished with peach or strawberry slices for further visual appeal. You may often see Bartenders add a sprig of mint as well.

The drink is bright and colorful and it works well with glass straws or purple umbrellas that complement its hue.

Best Seasonal Mocktails

Certain alcoholic cocktails go well with hot summer days and sunny spring as they are refreshing, light and made with seasonal fruits and other ingredients.

Many of these drinks have their non-alcoholic versions, some of which became true classics while others emerged from the rich imagination of Bartenders and Mixologists.

Below is a list of some of the best seasonal mocktails.

Virgin Mojito

The virgin mojito is a non-alcoholic variation of the traditional mojito, which is one of the most popular cocktails of today.

It’s made with drinks like Sprite or 7Up, along with club soda, fresh limes, mint leaves and sugar. Like the traditional mojito, it’s served with ice for a more refreshing and cooling effect.

It’s also common to put the serving glass in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving to keep the drink chilled for longer.

Virgin mojito has plenty of variations which include adding ingredients such as crushed strawberries and watermelon slices to the mixture.

virgin mojito mocktail

Virgin Piña Colada

The virgin piña colada is an ideal cocktail for spring and summer parties. The drink is so refreshing that one sip will transfer you to a tropical beach without having to pack your bags.

While the traditional piña colada includes rum, this variation is made with pineapple juice and coconut cream. Ice is added to cool the drink and to reach the perfect consistency when blended.

To complete the look, Bartenders often garnish it with a slice of pineapple or a maraschino cherry.

Virgin Paloma

The virgin paloma derives from the classic paloma but omits the spirit. It features grapefruit juice, agave syrup, lime juice and a splash of club soda. The purpose of adding agave syrup is to sweeten the drink while club soda gives it a nice fizz.

Bartenders sometimes also include a branch of rosemary to give it an herbal touch.

This cocktail is typically served on ice with a lime wedge, making it a perfect choice for beach and other outdoor settings.

What Are the Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails by Type: Final Thoughts

Who needs alcoholic cocktails when there are so many mocktails that offer the same delightful tastes? These drinks have carved out their own niche over time and there’s no doubt we’ll see more new booze-free combinations emerge.

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