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Mocktails Deliver Refreshing Slices Of Summer

Suggestions For Sipping And Savoring A Summertime Drink

‘Tis the season! Festivities in the summer call for ice-cold drinks, but that doesn’t mean they have to include alcohol. Mocktails are increasing in popularity as many choose to forego alcohol for various reasons. Here are some of my favorite ways to jazz up a mocktail recipe, knowing the alcohol of choice always can be added, if preferred. Grab mixers, fun ingredients--maybe even some herbs from the garden--and other accessories to start building a delicious summer spritzer. Interesting cocktails are a fun way to create conversation, share recipes and get parties started.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling water is KEY when making mocktails. Adding fizzy bubbles is by far my favorite way to make a mocktail taste and feel like the real deal without the sugar and calories of soda. If the drink needs to be sweetened, try half soda and half sparkling water. Plain sparkling water will work with sweeter cocktails, but if you need extra flavor, add flavored sparkling water. Lime sparkling water is absolutely delicious in a spicy margarita.

Fancy Ice Cubes

Especially in the heat of summer, you’ll want cocktails to stay cold without tasting watered down. Freezing fruit in ice cube trays with water is a beautiful way to add flavor and visual interest to mocktails. Guests will want to Instagram these creations. If adding fruit to ice cubes isn't your style, try fun ice cube shapes. Large cubes or even sphere cubes are a fun way to add interest to a drink while keeping it super chilly.


Leafy greens are a great way to add a burst of finishing flavor to your creation, and the color contrast looks nice against a berry or citrus-flavored drink. Herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary or even lavender, are unique additions that take mocktails to the next level. If you're a gardener, these could be ready for you to clip fresh from your garden--a warm welcome to guests who will feel honored to enjoy some of your green thumb talents.

Flavor The Rim

Don’t forget about the rim of the glasses. My newest favorite is Tajin seasoning (which is dried mild red chili peppers, dehydrated lime juice and sea salt), adding spice to a drink. Other choices could be salt, sugar, cinnamon sugar or even sprinkles. For a birthday party, try a frosting rim with colorful sprinkles. 

Go Bold

Need a fun idea? Spicy drinks are my newest obsession, and I know many shy away from them. Give them a try. Go for a bold recipe, such as spicy margaritas, smoky Palomas or Bloody Marys. It doesn’t have to be overboard, but a jalapeño garnish can really punch up an otherwise tame drink. The level of spice can be light, or you can even let guests choose their heat intensity if mixing drinks on the spot.


Don’t forget about the extras. The type of glass and the straw used can set recipes apart. A drink can be made so fun with metal straws, paper umbrellas, edible glitter or even just some extra frozen fruit as toppers. Glass choices could be Mason jars, colored glassware or tall, skinny flutes. Cocktail napkins also are a way to add to themes with extra color or pattern.

Whatever the approach to or theme of mocktails, just jump in and have fun!