There’s something about the relaxed feeling of summer that makes it seem perfectly practical to indulge in a little cocktail to celebrate anything and everything. But when you’re toasting to mowing the lawn or finishing your latest puzzle on a Tuesday night, you might be in the mood for a little break. Drinks without alcohol (or as some say- mocktails) can still feel special and even better, taste delicious. It just takes some quality supplies and a little ingenuity. Not to mention, choosing not to imbibe means no hangovers, improved sleep, more energy, and even better skin. Whatever your reason for abstaining, here’s some smart ways to infuse all your summer drinks with a little fun:
explore non-alcoholic options
We’re not talking about non-alcoholic beer here. Lately, there’s been a major expansion in the market to cater to people who love the taste of a cocktail but don’t want to drink alcohol. Distilled non-alcoholic spirits have been popping up everywhere and they lend a surprising amount of complexity to even a simple soda, seltzer, or tonic. Seedlip’s offerings have beautiful packaging and come in three flavors: herb, citrus, and spice. Some other non-alcoholic spirits that have been recommended to me: Stryyk and Ritual Zero Proof. They make more than one variety, so a tequila, whiskey, and gin alternatives and more. How cool is that?
Use the same techniques
There’s no reason why your non-alcoholic drink needs to be simply poured into a glass with ice. Why not use a cocktail shaker to chill your drink or muddle fresh herbs to impart a garden fresh flavor. Use a more complex type of soda or tonic, the Fever-Tree brand of tonic is delicious and comes in flavors like elderflower, lemon, cucumber, pink grapefruit, and even ginger beer. Why not put as much effort into your mocktail as you would a cocktail. If you think about it, the majority of a drink isn’t even alcohol, so don’t skimp on a mixer or other fresh ingredients. I also love the Trader Joe’s Rhubarb and Strawberry soda and their Lemon Elderflower soda, they’re not too sweet and taste very fresh and summery.
don’t be afraid to add fruit
Fresh juice, especially in the summer when it’s peak fruit season, adds a delicious element to any drink. Whether you want a frozen fruit daiquiri or margarita type drink or if you wanted to just add a splash of fruit juice to some soda, keep some fresh juice on hand. Jess loves her Omega juicer and once you’ve had fresh juice, you’ll basically never want to go back to store-bought. Remember, when you’re doing a fruit based drink to add a splash of citrus, whether it’s lemon or lime, it really helps to brighten up the fruit flavors and can cut any cloying sweetness. I personally love anything with frozen watermelon in the summer, it’s so refreshing. Try this recipe for a watermelon cucumber cooler or this bubbly peach and thyme mocktail.
Make a simple syrup
Endlessly useful to have on hand, a simple syrup is so easy to make you’ll wonder why you didn’t whip one up sooner. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a small pot and heat until combined, the mixture will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. If you want to get a little fancy, try adding herbs to the water and sugar mixture and let the flavors steep before putting it in the fridge. Change the type of sugar for subtle differences in flavor. Raw sugar simple syrup has a slightly more caramel flavor than white sugar. You can even get creative with flowers from your garden and try something like a lilac simple syrup.
Add a playful garnish & glass
A beautiful glass makes anything inside of it taste better—it’s a rule. So please step away from the red plastic cups and make yourself a drink in a pretty coup or rocks glass. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t bust out your good glassware even if you’re not entertaining. Don’t forget to garnish your mocktail, summer is a great time for edible flowers, fresh fruit on a cocktail pick, preserved fruit, herbs, or even a playful drink stirrer. Presentation counts and adds more sophistication to your average mocktail.
Mocktail Ingredients And Barware
The non-alcoholic spirit everyone is buzzing about.
I love anything Elderflower, but this syrup does all the hard work for you. Just add seltzer or soda.
Edible flowers create a beautiful garnish. Just make sure they’re food grade.
Two in one, it’s great to make enough to share and the strainer on top makes it easy to pour.
A delicate glass like this makes any drink inside of it taste better.
This set covers all the basics—a jigger, bottle opener, strainer, muddler, and zester.
Never underestimate the power of placing a cherry on top. So delicious!
Fun cocktail picks aren’t reserved only for drinks with alcohol. Add one of these or a little umbrella to your summer mocktail.
This simple shape with just a hint of detail is a cocktail (or mocktail) shaped classic.