Non-Alcoholic Drinks that Feel Like a Partyrhubarb-lemon verbena homemade soda

The holiday parties are upon us, with their never ending onslaught of food and drinks. For those who can’t or choose not to drink alcohol, the beverage options tend to be an afterthought. But teetotalers want to have fun, too. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, consider serving a mocktail so non-drinking adults don’t feel left out and the more adventurous kids have something other than a juice box to enjoy.

Mocktails have come a long way. Bartenders worth their salt are specifically creating non-alcoholic cocktails versus just excluding the alcohol from regular cocktails. (The reason “virgin” cocktails don’t necessarily work is that the alcohol tends to be the star and if you subtract it, the remaining ingredients are just accent flavors—or the drink is too cloying when not cut by alcohol). Below several quick mocktail tips and recipes from local chef Kathy Casey and the head barman at Canlis Restaurant, James MacWilliams.

Tips:

  • For an easy drink: Defrost frozen berries and puree with simple syrup (you can buy bottled simple syrup at the store) to taste.  Add puree to glass, top with soda water and ice.
  • You can multiply mocktail recipes to create a pitcher drink, if needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to use fresh herbs. Sage and grapefruit juice, for example, go well together.

PINEAPPLE MOJITO SPLASH

Makes 1 drink

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2 ounces Dish D’Lish Classic Mojito Cocktailor

2 tablespoons chopped fresh pineapple

4 ounces club soda

Lime wedge

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add Mojito Cocktailor and pineapple. Cap shaker and shake well. Pour into a tall glass and top with soda. Stir and garnish with lime. Recipe from Kathy Casey, www.kathycasey.com

RUBY CRUSTA

Makes 1 drink

½ ounce pomegranate juice

½ ounce ginger syrup

½ ounce fresh lime juice

2 ounces Rhubarb DRY Soda

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients and shake lightly. Strain into sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with a twist of lime.  Adapted from barman James MacWilliams, of Canlis

—Hsiao-Ching Chou