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What is a Mocktail?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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It’s always fun to offer something at parties that it is delightful to drink. For over a century now, many people have served a variety of cocktails which mix various flavors, juices and the like with alcohol in order to concoct delicious, but heady drinks. Of course not everyone drinks. Alcohol isn’t usually given to children, some people abstain from alcohol because they formerly were alcoholics, many must avoid alcohol for medical reasons, and others are teetotalers and have religious prescriptions against drinking. The mocktail is a perfect solution for such folk.

Essentially a mocktail is any cocktail without the alcohol. There are a number of drinks that easily convert to becoming mocktails, while others may not taste so good. For instance, not every palate appreciates tonic water served with a slice of lemon. Most mocktails rely on sodas, or fruity flavors in order to be appealing. There are also some mocktail types that were never originally cocktails, like the Shirley Temple, a combination of grenadine and lemon-lime soda.

Some of the best mocktail drinks are fruity ones. It’s easy to make virgin versions of most daiquiris or margaritas. People may not even miss the tequila in a strawberry margarita mocktail, or complain about the lack of rum in a virgin banana daiquiri.

The majority of mocktail beverages are served in places like restaurants with bars, especially those restaurants known for concocting fabulous drinks. Kids or teetotalers may enjoy a variety of different flavors. These can be sweet drinks, fairly high in sugar, depending on how they’re made.

Unless using only fruit or vegetable juice, mocktails may have high levels of corn syrup and other sugars that make them best as once in a while treats instead of everyday drinks. By using best ingredients, it is possible to make healthy mocktails. A virgin bloody mary could provide a serving of vegetables, but drinks with sodas or cocktail mixers usually aren’t particularly healthful.

At home people can be more selective in their ingredients, and serving a fun drink is a popular part of entertaining. Since many people do not drink, people who serve alcohol at home should provide a mocktail alternative for guests. There are some rules that apply, when serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that look the same, particularly if these drinks are mixed or blended.

When blending drinks, keep a separate blender for non-alcoholic versions, to make certain people don’t get the wrong type or residual alcohols from the blender, or alternately make mocktail versions first. To make sure that mocktails and cocktails stay separate, serve them in different styles of glasses. This will help people who choose non-alcoholic versions of a drink from sipping out of the wrong glass.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Jan 28, 2014

Good advice since not everyone drinks. At my house, we've often found it useful (and, perhaps, polite) to keep some fizzy grape juice on hand for people who don't drink when we are entertaining. There's nothing more impolite than throwing a party and not considering the needs of everyone in attendance.

Of course, in a pinch, some Coca-Cola and cherry syrup will do nicely. That drink, by the way, is known as a Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers in my neck of the woods.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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