Try These 3 Bartender-Approved Mocktails at Your Next Party

Christopher Testani

Not long ago, mocktails, or booze-free cocktails, were just that: too-sweet or too-sour drinks worthy of mockery. Today, though, bartenders are bringing the same precise execution and complexity of flavor to spirit-free drinks.

“We’re seeing a trend emerge that started with low-ABV cocktails,” says Naomi Levy, beverage director at Boston’s Better Sorts Social Club. “This is the next natural progression; you’re not making just flavored lemon- and limeades anymore.”



The category was also given a recent boost by a wave of new nonalcoholic “spirits” from companies such as Seedlip, which produces a series of bottled drinks flavored with things like orange peel and allspice distillates. With that in hand, mixologists are able to reproduce classics like a gin and tonic with the same textural heft and botanical bouquet, minus the morning-after headache. Combine that with the newfound trend of people going dry for a month, or alternating alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, and it’s almost imperative to have a booze-free option at your next party. Start with one of these.

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Tea Totaler Old-Fashioned

Better Sorts Social Club, Boston

3 oz oversteeped black tea

1 oz malt syrup*

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and mix well. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon slice.

*Combine 1 oz barley malt extract with 3 oz hot water and stir. Mix in 4 oz granulated sugar and stir until it’s all dissolved.


Hollow Trance

Navy Strength, Seattle

1 oz Seedlip Spice

1 oz coconut water

3⁄4 oz fresh lime juice

1⁄2 oz fresh grapefruit juice

1⁄2 oz cinnamon syrup*

Shake all ingredients with ice cubes and a twist of grapefruit. Strain into a chilled coupe or Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

*Combine 1 cup white sugar, 4 oz hot water, and 2 cinnamon sticks. Allow to infuse for 4 hours. Add a pinch of salt, and strain out the cinnamon sticks.


Eastern Star

Checker Hall, Los Angeles

1 cucumber

5 mint sprigs, plus more for garnish

1⁄4 oz yuzu juice

1⁄4 oz fresh lime juice

1⁄2 oz simple syrup

In a shaker, muddle 1⁄2 cucumber and 5 mint sprigs. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a mint sprig and cucumber slices.

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