Non-alcoholic cocktails, or mocktails, are becoming more popular. Not only are sober lifestyles becoming more prevalent for health reasons, but abstaining from alcohol can also keep you out of legal trouble. In Maryland, DUI charges can be brought against anyone with BAC levels of 0.8 % and above for those over 21 years old caught drinking and driving.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up flavor or fun along with your booze. Mocktails can be a refreshing alternative as a way to avoid hangovers and add variety to your typical summer beverages of lemonade and soda. You can use fresh fruits, seltzer, or coconut water to create some refreshing beverages. Here are just a few recipes your whole family will love to sip and savor this summer.
Strawberry-Blueberry Mint Cooler
This is a refreshing way to use freshly picked berries to make a refreshing drink for hot afternoons and evenings at home. It uses fresh strawberries, blueberries, mint leaves, sugar, and seltzer.
- 1 pint of fresh blueberries
- 1 pint of fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 cup of water
- 2 bottles of seltzer or sparkling water
- 1/2 cup regular or coconut sugar
Wash the blueberries, strawberries, and mint leaves in a strainer. Remove green tops from strawberries and discard. Cut strawberries into smaller pieces. In a food processor or blender, add all berries and puree. On a cutting board, chop the fresh mint leaves.
In a medium pan on the stove, add the blueberries, strawberries, mint, water, and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture well with a whisk and reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Continue stirring and remove it from heat. Let it cool and strain it into a plastic container with a cover. Refrigerate when not using.
To serve, put ice in a glass and pour in the fruit syrup about 1/3 full. Add seltzer or sparkling water and sugar (if desired). Garnish with fresh blueberries or chopped strawberries. Serves four.
Pineapple Coconut Cherry Mocktail
This beverage uses coconut water, pineapple juice, flaked coconut, club soda, and fresh cherries. While coconut water was virtually unheard of in the early 2000s, it skyrocketed to popularity and turned into a global market valued at $4.27 billion in 2019. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation with this non-alcoholic beverage in your hand.
- 4 cups (or 1 bottle) of pineapple juice, chilled
- 4 cups of coconut water
- 1 bottle of club soda
- 1 tablespoon grated coconut per glass
- 12 bing cherries, washed with pits removed (cut in half)
- Sugar, to taste
In a pitcher, combine chilled pineapple juice, coconut water, and two cups of club soda. Stir well and add ice to a pitcher. Wash cherries, remove the pits, and discard. Cut them in half.
In a glass, add ice and pour the mixture into the glass. Add 1 tablespoon grated coconut and six cherry halves per glass. Serve immediately and have sugar available to add. Serves four.
Spring Spiced Apple Cider
Coffee, tea, dark soda, and red wine are known to stain your teeth. But this mocktail adds a twist to a beverage associated with fall that can take the place of your after-dinner indulgence. It is a refreshing drink for the spring and summer without the effects of alcohol. This beverage would be ideal after gardening or sitting outside enjoying the yard with family and friends. Apple cider is available all year and in the summer a variety of apple types are available to use as garnishes. This recipe makes a syrup to add to the apple cider and add seltzer or club soda.
- 2 tablespoons of Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups of chilled apple cider
- 2 cups sugar-free cranberry juice
- 2 Fuji apples (cored, washed, and sliced)
On the stove, add one cup of water and 2 tablespoons five-spice powder in a small saucepan on high. Bring to a boil and add sugar or honey. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until thick. Stir with a whisk. Pour in a bowl with cover and let cool and refrigerate.
Wash and core two Fuji apples. Leave on the skin and slice into pieces. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice to avoid browning.
Add ice to a glass and pour in 1 cup apple cider plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup cranberry juice in 12-16 ounce glasses. Mix one tablespoon of five-spice powder syrup into the glass. Mix well garnish by two or three apple slices in the beverage. Drink immediately. Serves four.
You don’t have to consume alcohol to enjoy a refreshing summer drink. These beverages are great for picnics, gardening parties, and club meetings in the warmer months. Sip with no unwanted effects or health concerns and savor the flavors of the season.