Fun without the buzz

Mocktails offer festive and refreshing beverages without the alcohol

Mocktails offer festive and refreshing beverages without the alcohol

December 24, 2008|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

I'm not that much of a drinker. I rarely partake in spirits, so that meant many times out with friends I spent the evenings as the designated driver sipping my Coke minus the rum.

But if you don't want to drink alcohol, that doesn't mean that your drink has to be blah.

If I were in a festive mood, there were usually only two "virgin" drinks on most bar menus: the Shirley Temple, made with ginger ale, grenadine syrup and orange juice and served with a maraschino cherry, and the virgin strawberry daiquiri, which is basically a daiquiri minus the rum.

So over the years, I've always been on the look out for mocktail recipes that made me feel like I was having a drink with friends.

What I've found is that any good bartender will be willing to mix a drink, with or without alcohol. What you need is to know the recipe.


One of my favorite Web sites for nonalcoholic drink recipes is, which lists drinks with names such as Spikey Hedgehog, which is a club soda flavored with grenadine syrup, cranberry and lime juice, and Supergirl Summer Smoothie, which is a blend of summer fruits and yogurt.

If you're planning on throwing a holiday party, you're often looking for some nonalcoholic alternatives to serve. Mocktails can give your nondrinkers a way to block those "Why aren't you drinking?" questions as they mingle, and they help ensure your friends are safe driving home.

And for friends who are taking medications that don't mix with alcohol, mocktails give them an option other than a carbonated beverage.

Darryl Sword, owner of The Corner Pub in Hagerstown, says he often has more requests for nonalcoholic beers such as O'Douls and St. Pauli. Those who are looking for something a little cooler often ask for a Bloody Mary without the vodka or a pia colada or strawberry daiquiri without the rum.

"It can be hard when you're looking for something that tastes like vodka and orange juice without the vodka," he says.

Although there isn't much call for the nonalcoholic mixed drinks at Hempen Hill Bar & Grill in Hagerstown, owner Kathy Reeder says they do offer some nonalcoholic versions of drinks.

Many of her nonalcoholic drinks are listed on the kid's menu. "We try to make it fun and make them feel special," Reeder said.

Reeder lists drinks with such names as Black Beard, a raspberry-flavored Coke drink, and the Mary Jane, which is a raspberry-flavored Sprite drink.

At Hempen Hill, Reeder says those who want virgin drinks such as a strawberry daiquiri or a pia colada she runs one of the three slushy barrels without alcohol. But for bartenders, the simple mixology of putting together a drink can pose a problem. Alcohol doesn't freeze, Reeder says, so it's not always as simple to make a mocktail from a drink with alcohol. "It can be quiet a challenge," she says.

Reeder says there are many more nonalcoholic drinks available. "Most people order virgin daiquiris because they don't know anything else to order," she says.

Black Beard

1 ounce raspberry syrup
16 ounces of Coke

Fill a pint-sized glass with ice. Pour in syrup and Coke. Mix and serve.

- Courtesy of Hempen Hilll BBQ Bar & Grill


4 ounces of mandarin orange juice
3 ounces lemon-lime soda
Dash of bitters
1 teaspoon raspberry syrup

Chill over ice and stain into a martini glass. Garnish with a thin slice of orange wheel, twisted.

- Courtesy of Hempen Hilll BBQ Bar & Grill

California Dreamin'

1/2 liter milk (a little more than 1 pint)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 half and peeled avocado

Blend milk, sugar, avocado on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Chill and serve in shot glasses. Great as a breakfast drink in chilled champagne flutes.

- Courtesy of Hempen Hilll BBQ Bar & Grill

Untouched Daisy

1 1/2 ounce lime juice
1 ounce sugar syrup
1/2 ounce raspberry syrup
1/4 ounce grenadine syrup
3 ounce soda water

Rim a rocks glass with salt/sugar mixture, add a spiral of lime and fill with crushed ice. Stir together lime juice and syrups and strain into glass. Add soda and sprinkle the grenadine on top.

- Courtesy of Hempen Hilll BBQ Bar & Grill

Virgin strawberry daiquiri

Strawberry daiquiri mix
Orange slice
Maraschino cherry

To blender add daiquiri mix, soda water, and ice and blend until ice becomes to constancy you like. Pour in glass. Top with whipped cream, a slice of orange and a cherry.

- Courtesy of The Corner Pub

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