Okay, maybe we should define that word:
Mocktails are cocktails without alcohol.
Not everyone in recovery from alcohol use disorder (AUD) likes mocktails, for the same reason they don’t like non-alcoholic beer. It’s just all too familiar. Everything about non-alcoholic beer or mocktails reminds them of drinking. The act of making the drink, holding the drink, and consuming it in what might be an alcohol-friendly environment all conspire to form the ultimate trigger and increase risk of relapse to alcohol use.
On the other hand, some people in recovery aren’t bothered by any of that: it’s not the smell, sight, or feel of the drinks that triggers them, it’s other things, like life stress, challenging relationships, or various emotional states that put them at risk. For them, mocktails and/or non-alcoholic beer are no problem.
If you’re in the former camp, though, skip the mocktails – but we do encourage you to recognize the utility of holding a beverage in your hand while you’re at a social event.
It keeps people from offering you a drink, and keeps you from having to explain why you decline. Which is something almost everyone in recovery understands: sometimes people are rather insistent you have a drink, and handling that kind of pressure is no fun, no matter how many years you’ve been in recovery.
If mocktails and non-alcoholic beer aren’t for you, then navigate to the blog section of our website and read this article:
That’s advice we originally wrote – clearly – for use during the summertime, but anyone can modify the red cup trick to any situation where others and drinking they don’t want to, nor do they want to explain why they’re not drinking: they just want to be social and not talk about the issue.
However, if you’re good with mocktails, they don’t trigger you, and they don’t threaten your recovery, read on: we have some excellent mocktail recipes for you to try.
Mocktails: Impress Your Friends and Enjoy the Party
Reminder: this article – and these recipes – are for people who know mocktails do not threaten their recovery. If you’re early in recovery, or if holding a drink in your hand that resembles a cocktail elicits powerful cravings for alcohol, then – at risk of giving advice without having met you – avoid this while mocktail thing.
But if you know you’re solid – give these a try.
- About: If you really want to go for it, start here. This one takes about 20 minutes to get ready, start to finish. Makes one cocktail.
- Ingredients: ½ grapefruit 1 orange slice, sugar, crushed cardamon, coriander seeds, red food coloring, white grape juice, ice.
- How to Make It: Chop up the grapefruit and combine with orange slice, sugar, water, and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes: that’s your syrup. Next, strain the syrup, add to a tumbler filled with ice and equal parts water and grape juice. Garnish to taste. Enjoy!
- About: A great way to use up the leftover rhubarb from making deserts. This takes about ten minutes, start to finish. This recipe makes about 4 cocktails.
- Ingredients: ½ pound sugar, zest and juice of one orange, zest and juice of one lemon, 1 pound rhubarb, one section of fresh peeled ginger root
- How to Make It: Put sugar, water, orange/lemon ingredients, and rhubarb in saucepan and cook on medium heat until rhubarb falls apart. Strain through muslin, allow to cool, and store in fridge until needed. This will keep for a month.
Hot Tea Not Toddy
- About: This is an alcohol-free version of the classic winter beverage. Often used as a cold remedy, this combination is soothing on the throat, and great when you feel a little under the weather. This recipe takes about five minutes and serves two.
- Ingredients: 20 oz water, 1 large tea bag, 3 tsp honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 lemon, 2 cloves.
- How to Make It: Cut the lemon in half, split the juice of one half between two coffee/tea cups/mugs, add honey. Make tea as usual, pour into cups with honey and lemon juice. Add cinnamon stick and cloves, serve immediately. This is a perfect cold-weather comfort mocktail.
Summer Berry Mix
- About: This is a refreshing mix that’s like fruit punch, but with no alcohol of course. This recipe makes one cocktail.
- Ingredients: Slice of cucumber, sprig of mint, frozen berries of your choice, clear sparkling lemonade, water.
- How to Make It: Bring about 16oz water to boil, add mint and cucumber, let sit. Add berries, crush, mix, and strain. Store in fridge. When ready, combine syrup with lemonade, and fresh berries as desired. Add mint for garnish. Enjoy!
- About: A fun take on an old classic, this is a delicious and refreshing drink. This recipe is for one mocktail.
- Ingredients: 1 clementine (a little seedless orange), 1/ tsp sugar, 1 chopped lemon wedge, ice, little bit of mint, orange blossom water, sparkling water.
- How to Make It: Juice half the clementine and chop the other half into fine bits. Pour juice in glass, add sugar, add chopped fruit, crush it all up. Add ice, mint, orange blossom water, then finish with sparkling water to taste.
- About: This is a great new take on the Irish classic. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people.
- Ingredients: 5 oz double cream, 1 oz evaporated milk, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 oz espresso, pinch of cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, pinch of orange zest, ice.
- How to Make It: Combine all ingredients in a jug with plenty of ice. Shake it up baby! Strain, serve over ice, or add to coffee.
New York Sour
- About: In a New York State of mind? We got you covered. This is a non-alcohol take on the classic Big Apple cocktail. This recipe takes about 10 minutes and makes enough for one cocktail.
- Ingredients: 1 tsp assam tea leaves, dash of vanilla extract, 1 ounce lemon juice, 3 tsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp egg white, ice, ½ ounce pomegranate juice.
- How to Make It: Boil water, pour over tea leaves, strain immediately, do not steep. Add vanilla, allow to cool. Add lemon juice, maple syrup, and a shot of tea. Add egg white. Shake well, add ice, strain again, add pomegranate juice and water to taste. Serve over ice – egg white will float to top to form the iconic look.
Virgin Pina Colada
- About: Do you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain? Whether you do or not, a virgin pina colada is a fun drink for any occasion, made even better when it’s alcohol free. This recipe takes 10 minutes and makes one mocktail.
- Ingredients: 5 oz pineapple juice, 2 oz coconut milk, 1 oz lime juice, ice, cherry, 20 tsp sugar, 1 pineapple, 5 black peppercorns, 5 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon.
- How to Make It: Add sugar and 8 oz water to saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Add small amount of pineapple skin, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, bring to boil. Turn of heat, let sit until cold. That’s the syrup. Then add pineapple juice, coconut mill, and lime juice to tall glass of ice. Add syrup, let it sink to bottom. Top it off with a cherry!
Cranberry Gin Fizz
- About: This delicious recipe takes about half an hour to prepare and makes enough to serve 8 mocktails.
- Ingredients: ¾ cup of sugar, 1 ½ cups of cranberries, 12-16 oz non-alcoholic gin (it exists), 1 liter soda water, 1 orange cut in slices, ice
- How to Make It: Put sugar and water in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Turn up heat a little, add cranberries, cook until cranberries start to fall apart. Set aside, leave to cool, puree in food processor. Serve: add 1 tbsp of the cranberry puree to a glass, stir in non-alcohol gin as desired, finish with soda water to taste. Garnish with orange and add ice. Or, shake it all up in a jug and serve as desired.
- About: As you probably know, scores of alcoholic beverages include lemonade. To help your lemonade reach mocktail status, use this recipe. It takes about ten minutes and makes about a liter of delicious, refreshing lemonade. Serve it in a tumbler with a garnish, and everyone will think you have a fancy cocktail, when you really have a humble lemonade mocktail.
- Ingredients: Three peeled and chopped lemons, 2/3rd cup sugar, 1 liter water.
- How to Make It: Puree lemons and half the water in a food processor. Add the other half of the water and sugar to saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Strain processed liquid, add to rest of water. Serve cold, over ice, garnish to taste.
Pineapple Ginger Punch
- About: If you’ve never had the pineapple/ginger combo, you’re in for a treat. Sweet with a little spicy bite: yummy. This easy recipe takes about five minutes to prepare, and makes enough punch for 6-8 thirsty humans.
- Ingredients: About 1 liter pineapple juice, juice of 1 lime, chopped mint, ice, 1 liter ginger beer, 1 cup apple juice. Mint sprigs and star anise for garnish.
- How to Make It: Put pineapple juice, lime, apple juice, ice, and mint in blender. Blend it! Serve in tumbler over ice, topped off with ginger beer. Garnish with mint and anise, and enjoy.
- About: This is another fun take on the classic mojito. This recipe takes about 10 minutes and makes about a liter and a half of mocktail.
- Ingredients: 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds, bunch of mint, 2 limes cut in quarters, 1 liter pomegranate juice, 16 oz lemonade.
- How to Make It: One before serving, separate pomegranate seeds evenly in the spaces in an ice cube tray, add water, put in freezer. Set half the mint aside for later. Take the rest of the mint and lime and smash it all together with a rolling pin. Add pomegranate juice and lemonade. Place prepared ice cubes in glass, strain juice/lemonade over ice to serve. Garnish with mint and lime as desired.
Halloween Mocktail: The Eyeball Snot Tail
- About: The name is too good to leave off this list. Designed for kids, this would also be very fun for a recovery-friendly Halloween party. This recipe takes about an hour including chilling, and serves 10-15 scary humans.
- Ingredients: 1 pack lime jello, 16-20 oz apple or pear & pear juice, 12 oz lemonade, can of lychee fruit in syrup, dozen cocktail cherries, dozen raisins, cocktail sticks/stirrers.
- How to Make It: Make and set aside the jello. Combine juices and store in fridge. Eyeballs: pole a hole in a lychee fruit. Put a cherry in the lychee, put a raisin in the cherry – repeat until finished. Put the fruit eyeballs on the end of a cocktail stirrer. Whisk the set, cooled jello into little chunks (that’s the snot). Add juice and jello to glass, place eyeball in glass or keep on end of stirrer. Now enjoy that creepy, gross, spooky mocktail.
- About: The original mocktail named after the legendary star who was far too young to drink alcohol
- Ingredients: 8-10 oz ginger ale, 1-2 oz grenadine, 1 maraschino cherry, lime slice.
- How to Make It: In a tall cocktail glass, our ginger ale and grenadine over ice, add cherry, and garnish with a slice of lime – or as desired. Serve cold, serve with confidence: this is the original!
- About: This is an easy, classic cocktail to make. Think of it is the male companion to the Shirley Temple.
- Ingredients: Your choice of soda – most often dark soda, not clear or lemon/lime. Grenadine, maraschino cherries.
- How to Make It: Pour 11 oz soda over ice, add 1-2 oz grenadine, garnish with maraschino cherry. Enjoy!
- About: After the Shirley Temple and the Roy Rogers, this is probably the best-known mocktail out there. It’s yummy, easy to make, and perfect on any occasion, but especially great during the warmer months.
- Ingredients: Iced tea, lemonade, lemon slices.
- How to Make It: Easy! This drink is half lemonade and half iced tea, served with any garnish you wish, but typically with lemon slices. If you’re from the Southern United States, serve with sweetened iced tea. If you’re anywhere else, unsweetened tea is fine – but word to the wise: never serve a southerner unsweetened iced tea – they’ll think you’re trying to poison them.
- About: We hate to break it to you, but a margarita is really just a lime Slushie with triple sec and tequila. This recipe is easy, and makes enough for one mocktail.
- Ingredients: 1 lime, 16-18 oz lemonade, pinch of orange zest, ice.
- How to Make It: Peel lime, cut into sections. Put in blender with ice, lemonade, orange zest, ice. Blend until the consistency of a frozen 7-11 slushie. Serve in a tall, cold glass with a slice of lime as garnish.
- About: This is a delicious, creative recipe that makes a nice change from the typical fruity mocktails. It’s got fruit, but it’s different. This recipe takes about an hour to make, including cooling, and serves 4 people.
- Ingredients: 4 cups water, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup lime juice, 4 star anise, 12 crushed cardamon pods, 8 whole black peppercorns, 8 cloves, 2-3 inch piece of fresh sliced ginger, 4 sticks cinnamon, 1 vanilla bean, 1/8 tsp nutmeg. lemon twists, 2 bags chai tea, ½ cup orange juice, 12 oz carbonated water.
- How to Make It: To make the chai syrup, mix everything but the tea, lemon twists, and carbonated water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add tea bags and let steep for five minutes. Pour through strainer, throw away spices, store liquid in a tightly sealed container in fridge. When cool, combine chai syrup with carbonated water and orange juice and serve over ice, with garnishes as desired.
- About: This is another fun, healthy mocktail to make that’s rumored to have medicinal properties. When you want to change things up – and explore healthy alternatives – this is a great choice. This quick recipe makes enough for 1-2 people.
- Ingredients: 1 tsp honey, I tsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 bag black tea, 10-12 oz water.
- How to Make It: Add honey to bottom of coffee or teacup. Mix in lemon juice, turmeric, and pepper. Make hot tea as usual, add to mixture at bottom of cup(s). Enjoy!
PG Singapore Sling
- About: This is a fancy mocktail for fancy people. Don’t worry: you can totally be fancy and be in recovery at the same time. This recipe takes about 5 minutes and makes enough mocktail for one fancy person in recovery.
- Ingredients: 1 oz non-alcoholic gin, 1 oz non-alcohol cherry brandy or cherry juice, 1 oz lime juice, sparkling water, pineapple garnish, ice.
- How to Make It: Granted, the original version of this contains liqueurs with distinctive flavors that are hard to replace, but this recipe works. Put everything except the pineapple juice, lime juice, and sparkling water in a mixing glass. Mix well and pour over ice. Add pineapple juice, lime juice, and sparkling water to taste. Garnish as desired.
- About: During the winter months, you can take your tea to the next level with this recipe. It’s yummy and comforting: just what the doctor ordered for the holidays. This recipe takes about 10 minutes and makes enough for 1 person.
- Ingredients: ¼ cup pomegranate juice, 1 tbsp cinnamon syrup, 1 bag black tea, ½ cup or ¾ cup of water, depending on how much you want, cinnamon stick.
- How to Make It: Pour pomegranate juice and cinnamon syrup into a coffee or tea mug, add tea bag, fill with hot water, steep 3-5 mins, remove tea bag, serve immediately.
- About: This classic taste is almost always associated with alcohol, but we found a non-alcoholic version that works perfectly, and lets you mocktail in style. This recipe takes about 5 minutes and makes enough for 1 person.
- Ingredients: 1 cup almond milk, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup orange juice, ¼ tsp almond extract, ice.
- How to Make It: Put everything in a mocktail shaker. Shake it up baby! Really: shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Serve over ice, garnish with cherry, orange/lemon slice, or mint.
- About: This is a non-alcoholic version of the well-known drink, the Blood Mary. This recipe takes about 10 minutes and makes enough to serve 1 person.
- Ingredients: 8 oz tomato passata (fresh tomato juice), 2 chopped scallions, juice of one lemon, ½ tsp Tobasco, ½ tsp Worstershire sauce, 2 big ice cubes, celery stick.
- How to Make It: This is very easy. Put it all in a blender, blend until smooth, serve in tall glass, garnish with celery stick.
Virgin Cucumber Gimlet
- About: Without alcohol, you may think a gimlet is nothing but lime juice. Think again: we have a good recipe here, where refreshing cucumber steps in to save the day. This recipe takes about five minutes and makes enough mocktail for 1 person.
- Ingredients: Juice of two limes, 5 oz simple syrup or lime syrup, 4-5 thin cucumber slices, 5 oz club soda.
- How to Make It: Put cucumber and simple syrup in a mocktail mixer. Mash them up. Add lime juice, and shake vigorously. Serve over ice, top off with club soda, and enjoy!
Citrus Peach Cooler
- About: Instead of sangria or another fruit punch, this peach cooler is a tasty, non-alcoholic version derived from the wine cooler craze of the 1980s. This recipe take about 10 minutes, and makes enough cooler for 4-5 people.
- Ingredients: Juice of two lemons, juice of two limes, 1 thin sliced lemon, 1 thin sliced lime, 10-12 oz peach nectar, 10-12 oz lemonade (with pulp), three sliced strawberries, sparkling water, several sprigs of mint.
- How to Make It: Add lemon juice and lime juice to large household pitcher. Add lemon and lime slices and ice cubes. Add peach nectar, then top off with lemonade and sparkling water to taste. Garnish with mint. Or, add everything but the sparkling water to a blender, blend well, then serve over ice.
That’s our list.
We understand navigating the upcoming holiday cocktail party scene might be tough – but with these mocktail ideas, you can take care of yourself and make it through the season. And remember: that red cup trick works perfectly well when you have a tumbler, coffee cup, or tall iced-tea type glass in your hand.
Take care of yourself, stay on your program, and if you feel your recovery is in jeopardy, call your sponsor – or call us here at Pinnacle Treatment Centers.