Full of flavor with none of the booze, these NA cocktails are perfect for brunch, parties, and happy hour at any time of the day.
Whether you prefer to call them mocktails (we don't, for the record), zero-proof, or spirit-free drinks, we'd like to encourage you to dive deep into the world of non-alcoholic mixed drinks, which can be every bit as complex, delicious, and worth getting excited about as its boozy counterpart. The traditional principles used to craft alcoholic mixed drinks – finding balance in flavor, picking thoughtful garnishes, glassware, and ice – apply to NA cocktails as well, and while some of the recipes we enjoy the most call for a few additional steps, like making a syrup or a tincture, you'll be surprised by how easy many can be used again to add extra flavor to everything from ice cream to coffee. Read on for some of our favorite non-alcoholic cocktails, from the caffeinated and citrus-forward Coffee Cooler, to a cherry soda-esque Cherry Red. These are drinks you'll want to make long after Dry January is behind us.
In the Green Refresher, one of our favorite NA concoctions from master distiller and mixologist Sebastian Reaburn, the herbaceous, earthy notes of Japanese sencha tea perfectly complement the sweet, tart flavor of apple juice.
Love an Espresso Martini, but don't want the booze? The Coffee Cooler scratches any itch for caffeine with added sweetness from freshly squeezed orange juice.
Ghia is a Campari-lover's booze-free best friend, and this simple spritz shows off the complex botanicals and herbs in one of our favorite NA aperitifs.
Mixologist Sebastian Reaburn uses black cherries when he makes this cocktail, which was inspired, he says, by "classic American flavors like Big Red chewing gum and Cherry Coke."
This refreshing nonalcoholic cocktail from Bryan Dayton is featured in Julia Bainbridge's book, Good Drinks. It is sweet and mildly bitter from Seedlip Garden 108 with botanical notes that shine with the addition of fragrant, herbal tonic water.
The Shift Drink is a combination of freshly squeezed grapefruit and lemon juices, an intensely fragrant spiced honey syrup, ginger beer, and one of our favorite non-alcoholic spirits, Amass Riverine.
Chicha morada, a refreshing sweet-tart Peruvian drink, gets its gorgeous hue from dried purple corn. Garnished with chunks of pineapple and apple and spiced with cinnamon and cloves, this sangria-like mocktail is the perfect summer drink.
Oriole's G&T Tisane
From Chicago restaurant Oriole, this chilled tisane calls for juniper berries, coriander seeds, osmanthus flowers, Szechuan peppercorns, white peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
Mango Hibiscus Cooler
Let guests choose their own adventure with this make-ahead mixer flavored with sweet mango nectar and sour-tart hibiscus syrup. It’s especially delicious on the rocks with sparkling water.
Verjus adds a pleasant kick of acidity to this non-alcoholic cocktail from mixologist and author John deBary.
Sangrita is the traditional chaser for shots of tequila. This recipe comes from Arunas Bruzas, the bartender at the Adobo Grill in Chicago.
John deBary uses both ginger juice and ginger syrup in this mocktail. "Ginger replicates that pleasant burn from the vodka in the original," he says.