11 Festive Mocktails for Your Alcohol-Free Holiday Guests
A holiday gathering is an opportune occasion to serve at least a few festive cocktails. But some people might not be drinking—and simply lobbing your sober guests a seltzer or soda may not be the best way to make them feel like an integral part of the party. From classic switchels to Cosmopolitans, here are 11 tasty mocktails that are sure to impress.
1. Grapefruit, Juniper, and Tonic Mocktail
We don’t know exactly how grapefruit got its name. Some believe it was inspired by the fruit’s tendency to grow in clusters—like grapes—while others think it was originally great-fruit, which people misheard as grapefruit. What we do know is that combining its juice with juniper syrup and tonic approximates the sharp-but-sweet flavor of a classic G&T. Here’s how to make that happen, courtesy of Rachael Ray.
2. Hot Not Toddy
Since you can fill a hot toddy with the spirit of your choice, it already lends itself to customization. For this “hot not toddy” recipe from The Spruce Eats, you keep all the classic elements—honey, lemon, cinnamon, etc.—and replace the alcohol with your favorite type of tea. Or, you could just heat up Dr. Pepper for a similar effect, which people actually used to do in the 1960s. (We’re not promising it’ll taste good.)
3. Classic Switchel
To the 18th-century farmer, switchel—also known as “haymaker’s punch”—was basically Gatorade; in other words, a restorative thirst-quencher packed with sugar and minerals. Its traditional ingredients include apple cider vinegar, ginger, water, and molasses, but you can swap out the molasses for your favorite sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar are all fairly common. Get all the details from Farmers’ Almanac.
4. Mock Champagne
Technically, all champagne is “mock champagne” unless it’s from the Champagne region of France. But unlike other sparkling wines, this one from Allrecipes user DOLFIN458 is alcohol-free—and a must-have for any toast-heavy party. All you need is ginger ale, pineapple juice, and white grape juice.
5. The Spiced Pear
Maine Spirits’ light spiced pear cocktail—with a club soda base and some brown sugar, cinnamon, rosemary, and more—is perfect for any hour of day or night. If you make it with Korean pears, the alcohol drinkers at your get-together might do well to have a couple, too: Korean pear juice has been known to mitigate hangovers. (But you do have to consume it before you start in on alcoholic beverages.)
6. Non-Alcoholic Irish Coffee
After inclement weather forced a New York-bound Irish seaplane to return to Limerick in 1943, a chef named Joe Sheridan served the tuckered-out passengers a calming new concoction of his own invention: whiskey-spiked hot coffee topped with cream, a.k.a. Irish coffee. To give this whiskey-less version a bit of a bite, 31 Daily used a teaspoon each of orange and lemon juice.
7. Pumpkin Pie Martini
With sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, and pumpkin puree (which isn’t all pumpkin, by the way), this pumpkin pie martini from Mocktail.net is less a martini and more a melted pumpkin milkshake. For a less dense version of the drink, try swapping out the half-and-half for some other milk.
8. Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine
Since mull just means, according to Merriam-Webster, to “heat, sweeten, and flavor [a beverage] with spices,” this recipe from BBC Good Food would more aptly be titled mulled pomegranate and apple juice. The sweetness comes from golden caster sugar, and the spices in question are star anise, cloves, and black peppercorns. While you’re mulling the drink, you can also mull over these snobby myths about wine.
9. Moscow Mule Mocktail
In the early 1940s, Heublein Inc.’s John G. Martin was trying to popularize the company’s newly acquired Smirnoff vodka, and the owner of Los Angeles’s Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub, John Morgan, was trying to popularize his ginger beer. The two reportedly tossed their products together with some lime juice and called it a “Moscow Mule,” which Martin later marketed to bartenders in its trademark copper mug. (As Newsweek reports, former Cock ‘n’ Bull bartender Wes Price later took credit for inventing the beverage, so the story isn’t without controversy.) Simply omitting the alcohol from a cocktail doesn’t always make for a great mocktail—but the Moscow Mule is a dependable exception. Here’s an easy recipe from Like Mother Like Daughter.
10. Harry Potter’s Butterbeer
Butterbeer does contain alcohol (albeit not much) in the Harry Potter book series. But since the different varieties—cold, hot, frozen, ice cream, and so on—served up at Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter are alcohol-free, most copycat recipes follow that precedent. This frosty, frothy one from Delish features cream soda, butterscotch syrup, heavy cream, butter, and more.
11. Alcohol-Free Cosmopolitan
Cranberry sauce may be a polarizing part of your Thanksgiving dinner table, but its juiced counterpart is a festive component of any holiday drinks table. Ocean Spray’s citrusy, alcohol-free edition of Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved Cosmopolitan will delight any non-drinking Sex and the City fans at your party.