Our 8 Favorite Mocktail Recipes for Dry January and Beyond

Finally, non-alcoholic drinks that actually taste good.

<p>Maryna Voronova/Getty Images</p>

Maryna Voronova/Getty Images

Mocktails, or non-alcoholic cocktails, are on the rise at bars and restaurants throughout America. These libations are designed to be balanced, flavorful, and enjoyable to sip, and are often presented like a cocktail itself, but without the ABV (alcohol by volume). “I’m a big believer that people who choose not to drink, for any reason they might have, deserve an elevated beverage that also brings a smile to their face,” says Sara Emami, mixologist at Laurel Tavern in Studio City, California.

Whether they’re made with alcohol-free spirits (also on the rise), or a combo of juice, sodas, bitters or syrups, these drinks are tempting to consume, and easy enough to make at home if you’ve cut out alcohol. What makes some of these drinks so special is a hand-crafted element—typically a flavored syrup—which can easily be created in a home kitchen. Here are some of our favorite mocktail recipes provided by professional bartenders across the country.

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The Raleigh

This refreshing, slightly sweet non-alcoholic drink from Steve Bayusik of Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill is perfect for a day at the beach. If you like mojitos, give this zero-proof beverage a try.

Ingredients:
3 cucumber slices
5 mint leaves
1 oz. simple syrup (one part sugar dissolved in one part water)
3/4 oz. lime juice
Club soda, to top

Directions:

  1. Combine the cucumber slices, mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime juice in a shaker with ice.

  2. Muddle quickly, then shake and serve in a highball and top with club soda.

  3. Garnish with sugar cane and a whimsical straw to evoke a beachy vacation, if desired, and serve.

Nonna’s Garden

This non-alcoholic beverage, from Phil Collins—beverage director for TableOne Hospitality—uses a zero-proof offering from Seedlip that's made with spearmint, rosemary, and thyme.

Ingredients:
2 oz. Seedlip Garden
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. honey
Handful of basil leaves
Elderflower tonic water (or regular tonic water) to top

Directions:

  1. Shake Seedlip, lemon juice, honey, and basil in a cocktail shaker with ice.

  2. Strain and top with tonic, and serve.

Moonlight Sonata

Seedlip strikes again in this alcohol-free drink from Ryan Williams, bar lead at Poka Lola Social Club. Here, it's paired with homemade ube and thyme syrups, as well as lemon juice and pineapple juice.

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. water or Seedlip Garden
½ oz. ube syrup (see below)
½ oz. thyme syrup (see below)
1 oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. pineapple juice

Directions:

  1. Start by making the ube syrup. To do this, add ¼ oz. ube extract to 32 ounces of simple syrup. Stir to incorporate and set aside.

  2. Next, make the thyme syrup. Add 13 sprigs of thyme to a 1-liter pot of water and heat on an induction burner or stove. Simmer for 20 min, strain water, and add equal parts granulated sugar by volume (approximately one liter). Set aside.

  3. Add Seedlip, ube syrup, thyme syrup, lemon juice, and pineapple juice to a mixing tin with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass and serve.

Persimmon-Spiced Citrus Spritz

The persimmon-spiced syrup is the star of this non-alcoholic drink from Jess Stewart, Bar Manager at TRUST Restaurant Group.

Ingredients:
5 persimmons, sliced
2 cups water
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Soda water, to top

Directions:

  1. Start by making the persimmon spiced syrup. Add the persimmons, water, and garam masala to a pot and simmer until the persimmons are soft, about 15 minutes. Blend it using an immersion blender right in the pot, then strain it into a bowl. Whisk with equal parts sugar. (Note: You can store the persimmon-spiced syrup for up to three weeks.)

  2. To build the drink, shake 1.5 oz of the persimmon syrup with lemon juice. Pour over ice and top with soda water.

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Lemon & Herbs

As this drink's moniker suggests, it's packed with lemon and fresh herbs. This simple recipe is courtesy of Laz Jiminez, Bar Lead at Herb & Sea.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Handful of thyme
2 lemons, charred in the oven for 10-15 minutes
1 oz. lemon juice
3 oz. club soda
¼ oz. Grenadine, to float
1 lemon wheel, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Starr by making the charred thyme lemon syrup. To do this, combine the sugar, water, thyme, and charred lemons in a pot. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for an hour. Fine strain and set aside.

  2. Add the lemon juice and 1 ounce of the charred thyme lemon syrup to a glass and stir. Fill the glass to ¾ with crushed ice and add club soda. Top with Grenadine, which will sink to the bottom of the glass. Garnish and serve.

Lavender Fields

If you like lavender, give this non-alcoholic drink from Sara Emami, mixologist at Laurel Tavern, a try. 

Ingredients: 
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. lavender simple syrup
1.5 oz. lemonade
1 oz. Fever-Tree Club Soda
1 oz. Sprite
Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, to top

Directions:

  1. Shake and strain the lemon juice, lavender simple syrup, and lemonade over ice into a wine glass. Add the club soda and Sprite.

  2. Top with ginger beer and stir, then serve.

Sweater-Weather Sangria

This fruity, non-alcoholic sangria recipe yields four drinks and can be packed with fresh fruit of your choice. The recipe comes from Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge.

Ingredients:
16 oz. sparkling white grape juice
16 oz. ginger beer
Ice
Choice of garnishes, including 1/4 pineapple, peeled, cut into wedges, 1/2 small orange, cut into wedges, 1 passionfruit, quartered, or 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Directions:

  1. Pour equal amounts of juice and ginger beer into a pitcher and stir. Serve over ice in festive glassware (or in a wine glass).

  2. Top with your choice of garnishes, stir again, and enjoy! If you want more fruit, feel free to add pomegranate seeds, sliced strawberries, red and white grapes, and apple slices.

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Fire On The Mountain

If you're a fan of spicy foods and cocktails, this mocktail recipe from Scott Larson, of EDGE Restaurant and EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver, is for you.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-4 chili peppers
3 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Handful of basil leaves
Lime wheel, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Start by making the spicy simple syrup. To do this, bring one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add chili peppers to the syrup and let cool. Set aside.

  2. Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, basil leaves, and ¾ oz. of the spicy simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake.

  3. Serve in a rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Garnish with lime wheel, if desired.

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