While the term “mocktail” alludes to a false cocktail, this hot beverage trend represents anything but simple drinks for the underaged. Think beyond near beers and non-alcoholic wines. Bye-bye sugary caffeinated soft drinks and artificially sweetened sodas. Forget virgin versions of heavy daiquiris and pina coladas. Modern mocktails aren’t generic or hyper-sweet like their outdated counterparts. Unlike juice and smoothie bars that offer dense, rich nectars as meal substitutes, these new beverages are for refreshment. But they offer more than just fewer calories without the alcohol.
For the health-conscious, some mocktail ingredients are functional (e.g. some claim to aid in immunity boosting, sleep aid, blood sugar management), rich in antioxidants, or contain probiotics. Others may help in the weight loss process. Some impart the feeling of relaxation. A spicy mocktail may contain chili powder, which activates the reward center in the brain by releasing endorphins and leads to feelings of happiness. Most are preservative-free and have no artificial ingredients. Homemade mocktails with fresh botanical ingredients are clean and natural. Of course, all are driver-friendly and, in general, less pricey than alcoholic cocktails.
Modern mocktails can be described as complex and unique with individual character. Earthy flavor profiles may be found in heirloom iced teas. Specialty coffee lovers may find a cold-brew combined with malt caramel and chai spices, such as cinnamon and ginger. Some are handcrafted or artisanal, while others are mass-produced and can be purchased at big grocery retailers. Whether you choose a sparkling/effervescent blend or an infused still water, chances are it’s been created by mixing some muddled fruits, vegetables and/or herbs into a base liquid with natural syrup.
Try tasting or making a creative concoction with one of these combinations:
- Cucumber Mint
- Lemon Ginger
- Watermelon Thyme
- Mango Lime
- Blackberry Sage
- Lavender Agave
- Strawberry Lemongrass
- Beet Ginger Turmeric
- Grapefruit Rosemary
- Pomegranate Lime
NOT ALL SPARKLING WATER IS CREATED EQUAL
For more festive fun, serve your homemade mocktails in fancy glassware, sugar the rim and garnish with fresh fruits and vegetables/herbs such as pineapple or mint. Cheers!
Here’s a breakdown of what you’re getting with those bubbles:
Carbonated water – carbon dioxide added to tap water
Seltzer – another name for carbonated water
Sparkling mineral water – naturally effervescent (or enhanced) spring water containing trace minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur compounds
Club Soda / Soda Water – contains small amount of sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride or potassium sulfate
Tonic – contains quinine and sugar or corn syrup to counteract the bitterness, as well as citric acid and sodium benzoate
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.