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Holiday Mocktails of the Moment

Holiday Mocktails of the Moment

The perfect holiday mocktail is one that makes you feel cozy and festive. It is an essential part of the holidays for those who cannot have or do not want alcohol with their festivities. Whether you are preparing the drinks for yourself and your closest family, or hosting a holiday gathering, having a mocktail ready to go is a top-shelf hostess move.

Who are holiday mocktails for?

Mocktails are for the friend or guest who is not consuming alcohol. We know of the term “cocktail” as a drink with mixed ingredients, at least one being alcoholic. A “mocktail” is the copycat of the alcoholic drink but without the alcohol.

These non-alcoholic drinks are great for anyone who has circumstances preventing them from having alcohol or those who have chosen the sober life or are sober curious this holiday season.

Some people are not able to safely consume alcohol due to circumstances such as pregnancy or medication. There is an increasing number of adults who are making the choice to be sober or are currently sober-curious due to the positive impacts of not consuming alcohol. While there are stigmas that these drink choices aren’t as “fun,” you can still bring the party and elegance with fancy holiday mocktails (especially if you serve your mocktails in fancy glasses).

It is each individual’s responsibility to make personal decisions around drinks of choice, but as a host, you can help your guests by having delicious mocktail options just like you have delicious alcoholic cocktail options.

Ingredients to have on hand for mocktails

Whether you are whipping up cocktails or mocktails, there are a few key ingredients to have on hand. Not only will the be fun for your holiday gatherings, but having them ready-to-use will encourage you to try new concoctions and find your favorite mocktails for every season.

1. Simple syrup

Simple syrup is a staple for any mixed drink. As the name entails, this is a syrup that is so simple to make. What I love most about simple syrup is the variety of flavors you can create. Once you get the base down, you can create a whole display of simple syrup options for hosting and simply spruce up any drink at home. Every day can be a little fancier with a splash of simple syrup!

How to make basic simple syrup

Add equal parts water and sugar to a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer with medium-high heat. Swirl or stir with a silicone spatula until the sugar has dissolved. Store your simple syrup for up to 4 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Variations for simple syrup

If you want to change up the taste, you can use brown sugar or honey in place of white sugar. You can also use fruits and fresh herbs to create simple syrup flavors perfect to add to a sparkling soda to concoct a mixed drink. My favorite flavors are vanilla cinnamon (perfect for coffees or hot chocolates) and blackberry basil (per for sprucing up a lemonade or sparkling soda!)

2. Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is an alcohol-free base for many delicious drinks. While it has the word “beer” in the name, it is non-alcoholic and is more of a strong soda.

3. Sparkling Water

Many variations of sparkling water are available now. The bubble effect of sparkling water makes your mouth pop with no alcohol needed. Keep a few variations on hand for any time you want to make a mocktail or just enjoy a change-up in your water.

4. Grenadine

While grenadine is part of many alcoholic drinks, it does not contain alcohol itself. Grenadine is made of pomegranate and lemon and can be made easily at home. Not only does it offer flavor, but it can turn any drink into a magical red color.

Hot Holiday Mocktails For All

Your guests will love these warm non-alcoholic beverages on a chilly winter day!

1. Non-Alcoholic Hot Toddy

What you need:

  • 1 cup hot tea
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon wedge

How to make it:

For one serving, brew your tea normally. In a small dish, mix the remaining ingredients. Once your tea has brewed, slowly stir in your mix. Add a lemon wedge for garnish.

2. Hot Buttered Rum (without the rum)

Makes four servings

What you need:

For the batter:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

For each mocktail:

  • ⅔ cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp. of batter
  • 2 oz. apple cider
  • ¼ cup whipped cream to garnish

How to make it:
Batter: Combine butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add in vanilla.

Cocktail: Combine hot water with the batter in a mug, stir. Add in the apple cider and stir. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

3. Gingerbread “Mocktini

Makes four servings

What you need:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. molasses
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. all spice
  • Whipped cream to garnish
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies to garnish

How to make it:

Dip the rim of your glass into maple syrup. Follow by dipping into crushed gingersnap cookies to line your rim. In a cocktail shaker, mix the brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Add milk and cream to the shaker to mix. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and the remaining crushed gingersnaps.

Chilled Holiday Mocktails Your Guests Will Love To Sip

These spirit-free beverages will still put your guests in the holiday spirit, just without the booze.

4. Salted Caramel Apple Spice

Makes four servings

What you need:

  • 1 cup homemade caramel sauce (for rim)
  • 1 cup homemade caramel sauce (for the drink)
  • 1 cup demerara sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider (chilled)
  • 3 cups ginger beer (chilled)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

How to make it:

Start by dipping the rim of your glass into the homemade caramel sauce. Quickly follow by swirling the rim in demerara sugar, coating the caramel. Next, add the remaining caramel sauce, cider, and ginger beer to the glass. Stir and serve.

5. Vanilla Ginger “Mocktini”

Makes one serving

What you need:

  • 1 can ginger ale
  • ½ tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Optional: mulled berries

How to make it:
In a shaker, combine honey, vanilla, lemon juice and berries with a splash of ginger ale. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with remainder of ginger ale.

6. Mint Julep Mocktail

What you need:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves (chopped)
  • 1 cup lemonade

How to make it:

Combine water, sugar, and 2 tbsp chopped mint in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool and strain leaves. Mix with lemonade and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh mint.


Choosing The Holiday Mocktails To Offer At Your Party 

When making your drink menu, I recommend having one hot holiday mocktail and one chilled holiday mocktail. Consider the food you will be offering and the flavors that would be complementary. Consider the time of your gathering to help choose the best drink options. Another factor to consider is whether the drinks you prepare need to be consumed right after being made, or whether they can be warmed or chilled throughout the party. These questions will help to make sure you can both offer delicious drinks and not be stressed about their preparation while you are hosting and enjoying your company.

Happy holidays!

Zulily Food and Wine Shop

About The Author

Chelsea Skaggs

Chelsea Skaggs is a postpartum advocate and coach who is committed to helping women kick the pressure to be "Pinterest Perfect" and have real, raw conversations to acknowledge and empower the postpartum experience. She provides small group coaching, eCourses, online communities and helps other women start motherhood-centered businesses. She believes that normalizing and empowering all the changes in life after baby can change the world and leads that effort at postpartumtogether.com

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