Looking for the experience of a cocktail without the hangover? Here, an expert mixologist shares her advice on how to make delicious alcohol-free cocktails at home, including a booze-free twist on the margarita and the mojito.
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As summer comes to an end, you may be feeling a little exhausted by what has probably been a busy, social (and often alcohol-fuelled) lifestyle.
Whether you have been spending weekends at the seaside, the park or your local beer garden, chances are lots of people around you will have been drinking alcohol. But research shows that millennials and Gen-Z are drinking less than previous generations and maybe you are trying to find ways to minimise your alcohol-intake without compromising on the things you enjoy.
Whether you’re cutting alcohol out of your life completely, or you’re trying to reduce the amount you drink, there’s no need to say goodbye to delicious cocktails. “Tasty doesn’t have to be boozy,” says Camille Vidal, the founder of La Maison Wellness, a platform dedicated to mindful drinking and non-alcoholic cocktail recipes.
Camille, who has perfected her booze-free cocktails over 15 years, has a mindful approach to drinking alcohol. This means she does drink, but less often.
“I try to help people empower their relationship with drinking,” Camille says. “People should know what their limit is and what feels good for them. For some people that means completely cutting alcohol out, but for others, it means reducing alcohol and drinking better ingredients.”
Here, Camille shares four non-alcoholic takes on classic cocktails you can make at home, as well as her tips for ensuring your non-alcoholic beverages are so good, you’ll never miss the real thing.
Camille’s non-alcoholic takes on classic cocktails
“Mockingbird is the first tequila-inspired, alcohol-free spirit made with blue agave and ashwagandha,” says Camille.
“You can have all the margaritas you want, without any migraines!”
- 60ml Mockingbird
- 30ml fresh lime juice
- 15ml organic agave syrup
- 1/2 tsp organic activated charcoal (available at most health food shops)
- In a shaker, add 60ml of Mockingbird, 30ml of fresh lime juice (around half a lime), 15ml of organic agave syrup and half a teaspoon of organic activated charcoal.
- Prep your glass before shaking. To make the salt strip, wipe agave syrup with a brush (or your fingers) on the side of the glass. Then sprinkle black and white salt over it.
- Add ice to your shaker, then shake all the ingredients together energetically.
- Pour over ice in your glass.
This cocktail is the perfect replacement for an aperitif – it even looks just like an Aperol Spritz.
- 50ml Martini Vibrante non-alcoholic aperitif
- 50ml rooibos tea
- 10ml lemon juice
- 10ml apple cider vinegar
- 5ml honey
- Sparkling water (for topping up)
- Bee pollen (optional, available at most health food shops)
- Add all the ingredients, except the sparkling water, into a shaker. Fill with ice and give it a good shake.
- Pour the mixed ingredients into a glass over ice (add more ice after so it’s filled to the brim).
- Top up with sparkling water.
- Garnish with a lemon wheel and bee pollen.
A mojito is a go-to summer drink for a reason: it’s refreshing and cooling, which makes it perfect for a hot day. Luckily, it’s easy to recreate without alcohol.
- 50ml Lyre’s non-alcoholic white cane spirit
- 20ml Gimber (or fresh ginger juice)
- 20ml fresh lime
- Sparkling elderflower water (for topping up)
- A generous handful of fresh mint
- Put all of the ingredients, except the sparkling elderflower water, into a highball glass (glass tumbler) over crushed ice.
- Crush a portion of the mint with a spoon and stir into the glass.
- Top up with the sparkling elderflower water.
- Add more crushed ice.
- Garnish with a generous amount of fresh mint.
This cocktail uses Crossip Fresh – a non-alcoholic alternative to gin – giving the drink a classic Cosmopolitan flavour.
- 35ml Crossip Fresh
- 50ml cranberry juice
- 25ml fresh lime
- Dehydrated orange (optional)
- Pour the Crossip Fresh, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice into a shaker and add ice.
- Give all the ingredients a good shake, then strain into a coupette glass or rounded cocktail glass.
- Finally, place a dehydrated orange on the top.
Camille’s expert tips for making delicious non-alcoholic cocktails
Understand the flavours you actually like
You might already have a favourite cocktail, but you need to understand what it is you really like about that drink to create a non-alcoholic version suited to your tastes.
“You’d rarely say, ‘I was drinking a cocktail and the vodka was amazing,’” Camille says. You may think you like rum because you like mojitos, but what you really enjoy might be the mint flavour, for example. If you can pinpoint the flavours you like in a cocktail, it will help you to recreate it in alcohol-free form.
You should also be able to find a booze-free alternative to your favourite spirit, too. “Non-alcoholic spirits are distilled in the same way and built with the same natural aroma,” Camille says. This is why it can be really beneficial to add them to non-alcoholic cocktails.
Build an at-home bar of non-alcoholic essentials
Just like someone might have a cupboard filled with all your favourite spirits at home, it’s also useful to build up a selection of non-alcoholic beverages, so you’re always able to make a non-alcoholic cocktail.
Camille recommends buying in your favourite alcohol-free spirits, as well as non-alcoholic aperitifs like Martini Vibrante or Everleaf.
High-quality ingredients are even more important to non-alcoholic cocktails, so “having good tonics and good mixers is also crucial,” says Camille.
Use fresh ingredients in non-alcoholic cocktails
“Making a cocktail is very similar to cooking,” says Camille. “The fresher it is, the better.”
“Fresh ingredients are the key to making great non-alcoholic cocktails,” she adds, recommending using fresh fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits. “Fresh herbs and spices that are in season are always a good thing to add too.”
Camille’s favourite drinks to add to non-alcoholic cocktails
Images: La Maison Wellness
Camille Vidal, mixologist
Camille is the founder of La Maison Wellness and creator of Mindful Cocktails.
She is a globally recognised bartender and drinks expert as well as a mindfulness, yoga and meditation teacher.