Mocktails for all!

Replace the gin in your gin and soda for a healthy, refreshing summer drink. PHOTO: Commons

Remember the ‘Shirley Temple,’ the non-alcoholic drink that rose to fame in movies and television as the iconic imbibe for teetotalers? Well move over Shirley, soft cocktails – or “mocktails,” the hip modern name – have evolved, and they’re wonderful alternatives to alcoholic drinks. Literally hundreds of creative ones are out there, sure to quench any thirst.

The majority of these concoctions use flavoured soda, fresh juices, sparkling water or soda water, fresh or muddled fruit, infused syrups, herbs, and zippy garnishes. Here are some of my favourites.

If you’re a lover of green tea, check out the Iced Green Tea Elixir with Ginger and Lemon (Chinese green tea leaves, lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, ginger syrup, mint garnish, lemon slices and pomegranate seeds to garnish). Cool and refreshing!

I love Sangria in the warmer weather. It’s chock full of fresh fruit in every glass. Here’s a Virgin Sangria that’s hard to beat: black tea, cinnamon sticks, sugar, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange slices, lemon slices, lime slices, cubed apple, sparkling water.

Although the warmer weather is nigh, how about a beautifully coloured mocktail that’s really festive and reminds one of the holidays? Enter Pink Grapefruit and Pomegranate Soda (pink or red grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice, sugar, anise pods, soda or sparkling water, ice, pomegranate seeds for garnish).

Also pretty in the glass is a Watermelon Strawberry Cooler (cubed watermelon, hulled strawberries, peeled lime or juice, chia seeds, mint leaves).

Those of you who have been to Venice are probably very familiar with the Bellini, a beverage made with fresh peach juice and Prosecco. Try the soft version known as a Baby Bellini (chilled peach concentrate or purée, sparkling cider, raspberries). Yummy!

Gotta love a Blueberry Mojito (mint leaves, lime juice, sugar syrup, blueberry juice, soda or sparkling water, mint sprig and blueberries for garnish).

What about a nice, relaxing dinner drink like an Orange-Lime Relaxer (orange juice, lime juice, sprite, lime wedge)? Refreshing and thirst quenching!

Soda lovers will really dig a Strawberry Basil Soda (strawberries, lemon juice, basil leaves, sugar, sparkling water), especially with strawberry season soon upon us.

Pina Colada is one of my all-time faves, especially in the summer or when holidaying in the tropics. Try a Coco Colada (pineapple juice, coconut cream, ice, orange slice for garnish), the non-alcoholic version.

Get blown away with a Hurricane (apple juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, crushed ice, orange slice) or power up with an Atomic Cat (tonic water, orange juice, ice).

Check out a Ma Tai (orange juice, almond syrup, lime juice, sour mix, angostura, maraschino cherry, crushed ice) for a zippy taste sensation.

Here are a few so good even the kids will love them. Elimary’s Cocktail (pineapple juice, Grenadine, lemonade, raspberries, lime wedge) is yummy-doodles and a Fuzzless Navel (peach nectar, orange juice, slices of citrus fruit, ice) is not only hilarious-sounding, but supremely scrumptious. And if you simply must make the classic Shirley Temple, blend together ginger ale, Grenadine, an orange slice, and top with a Maraschino cherry.

When preparing any of these, don’t be shy to use stylish, chilled glassware complete with lots of ice, little umbrellas and fancy straws. They’ll look as good as they taste. Recipes for all of these fabulous, already existing mocktails can be found online. Or, you can put your imagination to work and create your own. I’m sure you’ll come up with some colourful, delectable sippers that are guaranteed to please.


Edward Finstein is a wine writer, award-winning author, TV and radio host, educator, judge

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