Think mocktails are always ultra-sweet and simplistically straightforward? Not necessarily! A mixologist worth their salt is sure to have some serious alcohol-free cocktails up their sleeve these days, using muddled herbs, layered syrups, fresh fruits, bitters and, optionally, zero-proof spirits. We’ve selected 13 mocktail videos that give you plenty of ideas for summer refreshers sans alcool.

Don’t Touch My Car Keys (And More)

Veteran bartender Leandro DiMonriva of the excellent mixology channel The Educated Barfly doesn’t mock the mocktail. Quite the contrary. In this video, he even declares that “the non-alcoholic cocktail revolution is here.” He makes this Don’t Touch My Car Keys with coconut syrup, lime juice and soda water, while his Salted Rosemary Paloma features fresh lime, grapefruit juice and salted rosemary simple syrup, and the Change of Address contains soy sauce. Intrigued? Check it out. 

The Grey Fox (And More)

Anders Erickson advises approaching mocktails the same way as cocktails: it’s all about balancing flavours and textures. Even though the video was created as inspiration for Dry January, it works just as well for dry (but hot!) days in August. A Spa Water with refreshing mint and cucumber, a Basil Orgeat Lemonade with almondy orgeat, The Devil’s Day Off with Italian bitter soda, and The Grey Fox with an Earl Grey tea simple syrup… we can’t decide which one we like best!

Zesty Ice Tea (And More)

We love Cara Devine’s channel Behind the Bar when it comes to learning all about drinks, and her mocktail suggestions don’t disappoint. She advises spending some time making syrups with fresh fruits, and layering them with herbs and spices to add complexity and interest. The Earl Grey tea in her Zesty Ice Tea contains tannins, which you would also find in wine or spirits, and adds structure to a drink. To it, she adds oleo saccharum (a type of sugared lemon oil), and a dash of peach bitters. Also, check out the Berry Spritz with spiced berry syrup, and the Pineapple Punch made with a delicious sweet-tangy pineapple shrub.

Summer Refreshers

Even if you do drink alcohol, doing so in the middle of a heatwave is not the best idea: it can lead to dehydration or exhaustion. So, do yourself a favour and swap out ‘regular’ spirits for zero-proof versions. The alcohol-free ‘liquor’ market is growing explosively, with mostly millennials and Gen Z driving the sales. Vlad the Slick Bartender uses zero-proof gin, rum and Italian aperitivo in combination with kiwi, mango and pomegranate to mix up some delicious summer refreshers.

Grapefruit And Rosemary Crush

Nat Battaglia started The Mindful Mocktail after she decided to live alcohol-free, but began missing that ceremonial drink to wind down after a long day. Plus, the mocktail options she found were pure sugar bombs. Her website and YouTube channel offer a lot of inspiration for zero-alcohol mocktails that are also good for you. For the rosemary simple syrup in this Grapefruit and Rosemary Crush, the sugar is replaced with monk fruit sweetener. The herbal-sweet flavours go well with zingy grapefruit juice, sparkling water and a pinch of sea salt.

Mango Strawberry Sunrise

Blogger Hajar Larbah of the popular food blog Moribyan shows you how to make a Mango Strawberry Sunrise that is sure to wow guests when you invite them for a summer feast. The secret is a strawberry simple syrup, which you make from scratch beforehand. Assemble the drink on the spot with fresh or store-bought mango juice (a tropical twist on the usual orange juice) and a bit of fizz in the shape of lemon or lime soda. 

Non-Alcoholic Classic Margarita

A classic, cool margarita captures the essence of summer, the perfect drink to sip on while you’re waiting for the barbecue to heat up. Bartender Carley Gaskin, a former winner of the Most Imaginative Bartender competition, makes the classic backyard favourite with lime juice, simple syrup, orange juice and a zero-proof tequila alternative, which adds smoky and spicy flavours. Final touch: rim the glass with chipotle salt and pop in a dehydrated lime slice.

Watermelon Margarita Mocktail

It’s hard to go wrong with super fresh, summery ingredients. For this recipe, you purée and strain fresh watermelon, add lime juice and agave nectar, shake until chilled, and top your glasses off with a rim of salt and Tajin seasoning. Simple and gorgeous. If you feel like cooling down with a frozen margarita mocktail, try this slushie recipe

Virgin Mojito

We need to add another summer classic to this list: the Virgin Mojito or ‘Nojito’. There are a lot of different recipes for the Cuban highball drink without alcohol, but this is our favourite. It uses a homemade rum alternative (here’s a recipe), which has spices for that bit of heat that you’d normally get from alcohol (you can use a store-bought brand as well). If you don’t want to use a rum substitute, try this recipe that leans on muddled mint, lime juice, cane sugar and soda water with lots of crushed ice: bursting with flavour and highly thirst-quenching. 

Blueberry Lavender Fizz

Not only is it an interesting flavour medley, but the combination of fresh blueberries with lavender instantly transports you to southern France. The basis is a homemade simple syrup made from fresh blueberries, lavender, lemon, sugar and water. Store it in the fridge and top up with soda water and ice before serving – its beautiful blue-purplish colour will stand out! Experiment with homemade simple syrups: This Mess Is Ours also has recipes for blackberry with orange blossom, strawberry with peppercorn or ginger and peach sodas.

De-Stress Raspberry Mocktail

Wind down with this pretty raspberry drink. Herbalist Rachelle Robinett uses a key ingredient, magnesium powder, which can help with relaxation. To a fresh rose tea, she adds magnesium, fresh raspberry purée, a squeeze of lemon juice and sparkling water. Sit back, relax, and sip it on a sultry summer’s night.

Non-Alcoholic Basil Cucumber Lime Gimlet

Cooling and invigorating, the marriage of cucumber and basil is always a happy one. This elegant Non-Alcoholic Basil Cucumber Lime Gimlet from FiddleSips gives us all the fancy Jazz Age vibes, minus the boozy component.

Spicy Ginger-Lemon Mocktail

Make yourself a grown-up mocktail that isn’t too sweet, has a nice kick to it, and takes only minutes to assemble. Pour lemon cordial (make your own!) over ice for acidity and sweetness, then add fresh ginger juice from the slow juicer for spice. To round it out, tonic water lends a bitter-tart component. Top your highball glass off with lemon peel.

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