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How to Make a Mocktail: The Cheat Sheet

In this article

It’s National Mocktail Week, so let’s celebrate delicious, non-alcoholic beverages! 

Booze can seem ever-present at pivotal life moments. When you limit your drinking or quit entirely, it can suddenly feel like you’re cut off from an important part of a lot of experiences, from toasts at weddings to beers at the beach. But you don’t have to be cut off! Mocktails are just as celebratory and fun as any potent potable.

What is a mocktail? It’s usually defined as a mixed drink with no alcohol. There are recipe books and blogs full of wonderful mocktail recipes crafted by master mixologists, but what if you want to create your own? There are a million ways to do that, so there is no hard and fast rule. But to make it easier if you’re new to mixing alcohol-free beverages, here’s one easy way to design your own, custom mocktail:

The basics

Basic mocktail recipe

  • Muddle berries, fruit, and/or botanicals in the bottom of a glass
  • Stir in 1 oz juice or sweetener
  • Add 4-6 oz base 
  • Chill or heat 
  • Garnish

Easy, right? Now pick out your ingredients.

First, think about flavors you enjoy. What you’re in the mood for can change seasonally. For example, in the summertime, you might be more excited about citrus, while near the holidays you might be into cranberry. Once you have a primary flavor in mind, add a complementary flavor to accent it. The options are limitless, but here are some classic, winning combinations:

  • strawberry + basil
  • coconut + pineapple
  • mint + lime
  • orange + ginger
  • raspberry + rose water
  • chile + mango

The Components

Fruits & Veggies

  • Berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry)
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Citrus (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, yuzu)
  • Peaches
  • Melon
  • Mango
  • Cucumber


  • Ginger
  • Herbs (mint, basil, rosemary)
  • Florals (lavender, rose water, orange blossom water)
  • Turmeric
  • Chile
  • Spices (cinnamon, anise, cardamom, celery salt)


  • Apple
  • Grape
  • Cranberry
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Tomato

Flavors and Sweeteners

  • Honey
  • Agave nectar
  • Simple syrup
  • Coconut cream
  • Grenadine
  • Maple syrup
  • Hot sauce (Tobasco, Sriracha)


  • Soda (lemon-lime, ginger ale, grapefruit, cola)
  • Seltzer
  • Tonic water
  • Tea (green tea, black tea, rooibos)
  • Coconut water
  • Lemonade


  • Cherries
  • Olives
  • Citrus twist
  • Celery
  • Umbrella

Putting it all together

To show how flexible this basic recipe is, here are several mocktails based on it:

Mocktail Mule

  • Muddle two slices of fresh ginger in the bottom of a glass. 
  • Add 1 oz lime juice
  • Pour in 4 oz ginger ale
  • Stir in ice (you can strain if desired)
  • Garnish with a twist of lime
  • Serve

Festive Fizz

  • Muddle a slice of lime in the bottom of a glass
  • Add 1 oz cranberry juice
  • Pour in 4 oz grapefruit soda (like Fresca or Squirt)
  • Stir in ice
  • Garnish with a cherry
  • Serve

Summer Sunshine

  • Muddle basil in the bottom of a glass
  • Add crushed strawberries
  • Pour in 6 oz lemonade
  • Shake with ice and strain into a glass
  • Garnish with a slice of strawberry
  • Serve

Pretty Pink Mocktail

  • Muddle raspberries in the bottom of a glass
  • Add 1 oz rose water and a splash of grenadine
  • Pour in 4 oz coconut water
  • Shake with ice and strain into a glass
  • Garnish with raspberries or rosebuds (edible when grown without pesticides)
  • Serve

Savory Mocktail

  • Muddle cucumber in the bottom of a glass
  • Add 1 oz tomato juice and a splash of hot sauce
  • Pour in 4 oz tonic water or unflavored seltzer
  • Stir in ice
  • Garnish with olives or celery
  • Serve

Make it your own

As I mentioned, there are a ton of ways to make mocktails—this is not the definitive recipe! Here are a few ways to take things to the next level:

Blend it up

A blender and ice or frozen fruit can open an entire world of frozen mocktails to you. The ice or fruit will take the place of your base in most recipes. 

Add zero-proof ingredients

Zero-proof spirits and alcohol-free bitters available can make your mocktails even fancier. Brands like Seedlip, Ritual, Lyre’s, Spiritless, and All the Bitter bring a complexity and a mouthfeel that your average mocktail may be lacking. Especially if you’re trying to recreate an old favorite cocktail in a non-alcoholic form, it may be worth it to you to invest in a zero-proof spirit or alcohol-free bitters. Your local stores may not carry these, so plan ahead and order online.

Rim your glass

Adding a salted or sugared rim to your glass brings in flavor, garnish, and a textural element, all at once!

Bonus: Ordering a mocktail at a restaurant or bar

Some businesses are embracing the zero-proof movement and already have exciting mocktails on the menu. But even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t order them! Here are some non-alcoholic drinks that are easy to order in bars and restaurants:

  • Shirley Temple – A classic made with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda with grenadine and a cherry. (If you know that people in your area regularly order these “dirty,” specify that you want yours non-alcoholic.)
  • Roy Rogers – The other classic! Made with cola, grenadine, and a cherry.
  • “Virgin” frozen drinks – Daiquiris, margaritas, and piña coladas are the mosy popular.
  • Sprite with cranberry juice
  • Club soda with lime
  • Ask the bartender to make you their favorite nonalcoholic drink. A lot of bartenders get really creative with this challenge!

Quitting or cutting back on drinking can be a major lifestyle change, but it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on events and celebrations, nor that you’re relegated to water for the rest of your life. Try out a mocktail and see how tasty non-alcoholic beverages can be!

Want to learn more?

Learn more about alcohol and alchol use disorder, read stories of recovery, and find helpful tools on our blog.

Alaine Sepulveda is a content strategist in recovery from alcohol. She believes that engaging people and sharing stories with them allows us to spread knowledge, and to help others in the path to recovery. She holds an MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University.

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