Like it or not, alcohol is a major part of our daily lives. People enjoy wine with dinner, grab drinks with friends or co-workers after a long week, and raise glasses of Champagne to toast newlyweds. And while consumption in moderation (especially of wine) can offer a few benefits (it has antioxidants), too much alcohol can seriously put a wrench in your healthy-living goals. Enter mocktail recipes.
For those of us looking to drink less booze, the non-alcoholic drink options out there aren’t exactly exciting. And they don’t quite serve the same purpose that many alcoholic drinks can when it comes to elevating your food. After all, nothing quite goes with steak quite like red wine, or pretzels with beer.
That’s why we found 13 amazing non-alcoholic mocktail recipes that will work with your own cooking. These mocktail recipes are easy to make, delicious, and aren’t just juice.
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1. Lemongrass Iced Tea
Cals 24 | Fat 0G | Carbs 6G | Protein 0G | Serves 6
3 Lemongrass stalks
6 Green teabags
2 Tbsp Honey
6 Sprigs of mint, plus extra, to serve
Halve the lemongrass stalks lengthwise, then smash with the back of a knife (careful, now).
Pop them in a pan, add 1.4l water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Take off the heat, add the tea bags and honey, and allow to brew for 5 mins.
Strain into a jug and stir in 470ml of cold water. Serve over ice with mint. Zing.
2. Rosemarie Pear Spritzer
This pear variety is native to SA. Yay!
Cals 169 | Fat 0G | Carbs 41G | Protein 0G | Serves 2
1 Vanilla pod
5 Cardamom pods
2 Ripe Rosemarie pears
6 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
In a saucepan, bring the sugar, vanilla, cardamom and 125ml of water to a boil.
Cut a few pear slices for garnish and roughly chop the rest; add to the pot.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins, then let it stand for 30 mins.
Strain, then stir in the apple cider vinegar. Pop in the fridge to cool.
Line 2 glasses with the pear slices, add ice and divvy up the mixture. Top with sparkling water.
3. Cherry Crush
Cals 119 | Fat 0G | Carbs 30G | Protein 1G | Serves 6
1 Star anise
3cm Piece of ginger, sliced
1l Cherry juice
Crushed ice, to serve
Pour 125ml water and the sugar into a saucepan.
Stir in the cloves, star anise and the ginger, bringing gently to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer (refrain from stirring) until the sugar dissolves – it should take about 3 to 4 mins.
Once cool, strain the syrup into a jug and stir in the cherry juice. Fill your glasses with crushed ice and pour in your cocktail. Berry nice.
4. Tangerine Sour
Cals 74 | Fat 0.5G | Carbs 16G | Protein 2G | Serves 1
125ml Naartjie juice (you’ll need about 6 naartjies) plus some peel to garnish
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Real maple syrup
1 tbsp Egg white
3 Dashes orange bitters
Pop all the ingredients except the peel in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously (see, that hen do cocktail-making class wasn’t a complete waste of time) for 1 min.
Pour over ice and garnish with a sliver of naartjie peel. Voila.
5. Green Mary
Cals 75 | Fat 1G | Carbs 17G | Protein 2G | Serves 6
225g Tomatillos, husked (Can’t find them? Use green tomatoes or unripe red tomatoes with a squeeze of lime)
1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
4 Stalks celery, chopped
50g Fresh coriander
1 Jalapeño chilli, deseeded
115ml Lime juice
30g Fresh horseradish, squeezed of excess moisture
2 Tbsp Peppadew brine
1 tsp Green Tabasco
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
Celery, to garnish
Pepperoncini or jalapeño, to garnish
Aleppo pepper, to garnish
Pop the tomatillos or tomatoes, cucumber, celery, coriander, jalapeño and lime juice in a blender and whizz until smooth (about 1 min). Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a measuring jug, pressing to extract as much juice as possible.
Next, whisk in the horseradish, Peppadew brine, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
Serve over ice, garnished with celery and pepperoncini or jalapeño, in a glass rimmed with Aleppo pepper for max presentation points.
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6. Guava Margarita
Cals 78 | Fat 0G | Carbs 20G | Protein 1G | Serves 1
115g Guava nectar
3 Tbsp Orange juice
2 Tbsp Lime juice
Lime wedge, to garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the guava nectar and the juices and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Just chuck everything in a blender for a frozen version. (Don’t have a blender? Haai shame.)
Strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice. Serve with a slice of lime, as fancy as you like.
7. Ginger Hibiscus Spritzer
Cals 23 | Fat 0G | Carbs 6G | Protein 0G | Serves 8
5cm Piece of ginger, sliced
6 Tbsp Dried hibiscus flowers
3 Tbsp Agave syrup
Bring, the ginger, hibiscus, agave and 240ml water to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Remove from the heat and let it stand for 10 mins before straining into a jug and stirring in 480ml of cold water.
Pour a few tablespoons into each glass and top with sparking water or PURA Soda Cranberry. It’s low in sugar, natural and colourant free.
8. So-Cal Mule
Sylvie Gabriele, owner of Love and Salt, in Los Angeles created this mocktail recipe that pairs best with fish. | Serves 1
80ml sparkling lemonade
60ml pear juice
20ml fresh lime juice
20ml maple syrup
In a highball glass, combine limeade, juices, and maple syrup and stir.
Add ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.
9. Ginger Fizz
This mocktail recipe created by Sylvie Gabriele pairs best with chicken. | Serves 1
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 thin slices fresh mango
60ml mango juice
120ml ginger beer
In a tall glass, muddle ginger and mango slices.
Add mango juice and ginger beer and stir.
Add ice and garnish with a slice of lime.
10. Sparkling Tart Apple
Another Sylvie Gabriele creation. This one pairs best with steak. | Serves 1
150ml sparkling apple-grape juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Pour juice into a wine glass and add vinegar.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
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11. Lyre’s Penicillin
A modern classic with warm, soothing flavours of honey, citrus, ginger, and Lyre’s American Malt.
Shake briefly with ice.
Strain over large ice cubes and serve in an old-fashioned glass.
12. Lyre’s Amalfi Spritz
A tall refreshing, slightly citrusy beverage is perfect for those warm summer nights.
Add all ingredients in a glass.
Stir and fill with fresh cubed ice.
Serve in a large or stemless wine glass.
13. Lyre’s Mojito
What’s not to love about a classic mojito? Serve in a highball glass with a lime wheel and mint sprig.
Add all ingredients into the glass.
Fill with fresh ice cubes and stir.
Add soda and garnish.
Text: Jessie Van Amburg, Isobel Bridge and Trish Clasen | Photography: Chelsie Craig, Getty Images/iStockphoto | Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich More