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What Is a Mocktail?

Mocktails are non-alcoholic mixed drinks meant to replicate the presentation and complexity of craft cocktails, just without the alcohol. To make mocktails, bartenders mix combinations of sodas, juices, herbs, and syrups to create unique flavors. They also use the same mixology methods and tools they would use with regular mixed drinks. The final product is a non-alcoholic beverage that should be enjoyed and savored, just like a well-mixed cocktail. If you haven't jumped on this new bar trend yet, consider adding mocktails to your beverage menu.

Mocktail Drinks

Mocktail Drink

Virgin cocktails aren't a new invention. Drinks like the Shirley Temple, a blend of gingerale and grenadine, have been around for a long time. While this well-known drink is delicious in its own right, the new mocktail is an elevated version of the standard non-alcoholic drink. A good mocktail not only tastes great, it's also crafted with as much care as a standard cocktail. These are some attributes of a modern mocktail:

  • Presented in a cocktail glass that complements the drink
  • Contains garnishes, rimming salt, or rimming sugar
  • Blends multiple unique ingredients to create complex flavors
  • Uses mixology methods for entertaining preparation

Mocktail Recipe: Lemongrass-Basil Buss

Check out our take on the modern virgin cocktail with a refreshing lemongrass mocktail recipe. When preparing the lemongrass, be sure to peel away the tough outer layers and use the tender heart of the stalk. You’ll need at least 6 stalks to get 1 cup. You can buy lemongrass at Asian markets and sometimes in your local supermarket. If you can’t find lemongrass, you can substitute 1 Tbs. lemon zest.

Ingredients

Mocktail Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups fresh Thai or Genovese basil leaves; more for muddling and garnish
  • 1 cup lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sanding sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 4 oz. double strength brewed white tea
  • 4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Orange twists, for garnish

Directions

Mocktail Process
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, basil, and lemongrass or lemon zest and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 2 hours. Strain and chill. This simple syrup can be made ahead of time and kept chilled under your bar until you need it.
  2. Combine the sanding sugar, salt, and orange zest in a shallow bowl or plate. Lightly moisten the rims of two large rocks glasses with a wedge of lemon, lime, or orange. Press each glass rim into the sugar mixture.
  3. Add 4 basil leaves, white tea, 3 oz. of the simple syrup, lime juice, and orange juice to a cocktail shaker and muddle them together. Fill with ice and shake.
  4. Fill the prepared glasses with one large ice cube or regular ice. Divide the mixture between the glasses and garnish each with a basil sprig and orange twist.

Consider creating a mocktail menu to accompany your cocktail list. More consumers are choosing to limit their alcohol consumption or abstain completely, making mocktail recipes more prevalent in the bar scene. An exciting list of craft mocktails ensures that everyone can enjoy a flavorful, refreshing beverage when they visit your bar or restaurant.

By Michale Ferguson
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