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Make Mine a Mocktail

Thu, 12/02/2021 - 11:24

All your guests will feel truly welcome when the drinks include a specialty sip that won't leave them tip-sy

Holiday drinks offer opportunities for fun with garnishes. Here, a Cranberry Sleigh Ride.
Styling by Sarah Alford. Glassware from Loaves & Fishes Cookshop, Bridgehamptom.
As we look forward to being spirited away for the holidays, we might opt to skip the alcohol in our cocktails while we celebrate. Shaken or stirred, an aromatic mocktail will stimulate the senses with seasonal ingredients.

Times have changed, as has terminology. What was once called a spritzer or a mocktail is sometimes now called a “soft cocktail” by the internet blogeratti. Call it whatever makes you and your guests happy. What really matters is that there’s something for everyone.

The recipes below stand on their own, but they could be fortified with alcohol. For those not quite ready to leave the party but looking to refill their glass while enjoying another conversation, an alcohol-free mocktail makes for the perfect nightcap.

Serving a pitcher of an inventive mocktail adds a festive vibe to any gathering. It’s welcoming to offer guests a nonalcoholic option on the bar cart, something that is easy and inspired. A relaxed pour to greet guests and eliminate the need for individually mixed drinks can streamline the tasks of a host, too. If the sound of a cocktail shaker with non-alcoholic mixers feels merry, then toss in some ice and shake it up.


Cranberry Sleigh Ride

This drink was inspired by one served at a holiday party at the James Beard House years ago. The original variation had bourbon and no rosemary, but the earthiness of the herb simple syrup works well in its place here.

2 ounces cranberry juice

Dash of rosemary simple syrup

Dash of maple syrup

Light squeeze of lemon

Seltzer water

Combine ingredients over ice, stir, and enjoy. 



Blood Orange Mock Smash

Bright and sunny, with honey for nuance, this drink offers a refreshing take on a traditional smash


Juice of one blood orange

Sprig of mint

Dash of honey


Muddle orange to extract the juices. Add a few mint leaves — to lightly bruise the leaves — and strain. Add honey. Pour over ice and fill glass with seltzer.


Ginger Beet Spritzer

While it may appear to be a dressed-up version of a juice-bar offering, the effervescence of ginger beer and seltzer elevates this drink (left) for a gathering with health-minded friends.

2 parts beet juice

1 part ginger kombucha or ginger beer

1 part seltzer

Generous squeeze of lemon or lime

Combine ingredients over ice, stir, and make a toast. God bless us, every one.

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