V for Life

Happy World ‘Mocktail’ Day

Posted by Justina on 09/05/24 in Recipes

It might be strange to celebrate a day like this but let’s take it as an opportunity to hydrate. With especially warm days ahead of us, we might need to be a little more inventive if we’re caring for someone who’s less keen to drink water. You will learn some tips and tricks on how to make non-alcoholic mocktails to your taste and a little more than just a juice and ice.

What is a cocktail?

A cocktail is a drink that contains a minimum of three ingredients, while a mixed drink has only two.

Watch out for non-vegan mocktails

When ordering a drink, the ingredients will be clearly specified. Do check that there is no honey added to make the mocktail, nor ingredients such as egg whites or dairy, which could be added in an attempt to improve the mouth feel. Keep an eye on the label if buying pre-mixed drinks because they may contain non-veggie ingredients.

Some beer, Prosecco and cider brands are not vegan because of the products used in the filtration process, such as isinglass, gelatine and casein. The alternative alcohol-free versions could contain these products as well, so be mindful when shopping. If there is no vegan friendly label, try looking at https://www.barnivore.com

Not that much effort!

How about making your own? You don’t need Tom Cruise’s moves or all the shiny equipment. There are some great recipes online for individual drinks or pitchers to share, such as a Virgin Bloody Mary – substituting the Worcestershire sauce with Henderson's relish.

For another savoury treat, try Watermelon Crush: chill a watermelon, slice it in half and scoop out the inside. Blitz and mix with sea salt and dash of smoked paprika and lime juice. Pour back into the watermelon skin and add soda water to top up the ‘bowl’. For a sweet version use lemonade, Sprite or slimline tonic with mint.

Recreate a Pimm’s style mocktail using strawberries, cucumber, ginger beer, mint and ginger syrup.

For a fruity tasting mocktail, use cooled hibiscus tea – it will have a floral, fruity but acidic taste. Add some fresh ginger or ginger beer to make it spicier. Elderflower cordial or syrup would have a similar effect. Use lemongrass tea, cloudy lemonade and ginger ale to get lemony flavours.

Adapting to your taste and needs

Some mocktails might come with extra foam on the top, which usually is made from egg whites. Swap the egg whites for aquafaba (the liquid from a tin of chickpeas) to achieve the foam effect in drinks such as a Harvest Sour.

Grapefruit and cranberry juice might interfere with some medication, such as warfarin, so seek healthcare advice before trying new things.

If you are making a mocktail for someone who prefers a bitter flavour profile, try using tonic water or bitter lemon instead. Also, pu-erh tea blended with marmalade can give an extra deep bitter taste, as can orange zest. A red colour could be achieved using grenadine, which is quite sweet.

Make an ‘eggless-nogg’ mocktail for those who like sweet drinks and there are alcohol-free recipes online for Pina-colada or Mai Tai, if your tastes are more tropical. Coconut milk can be used for a more pleasant mouth feel.

The following recipe has been kindly written by Danielle who has been creating cocktails for a while:

Coconut Chai White Russian


  • 100ml cooled chai tea
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 10ml gomme syrup
  • Cocoa powder to garnish


  1. Build the cocktail in a lowball glass over ice.
  2. Garnish with cocoa powder.

Making mocktails for someone with swallowing difficulties will require the drink to be thickened. Do consider first which thickener is being prescribed. If it is starch-based, then you need to make your drink without bubbles. If using a gum-based thickener, then it will work with drinks that are carbonated.

Be mindful of the taste changing when thickened and perhaps practise the mocktail before serving, because you will not be able to add extra liquid afterwards. Always follow your speech therapist’s guidelines and the thickener's instructions for use. This also means no ice, no floaty mint, or any decoration to be added to this drink – not even a sugar-coated rim. Make sure to sieve the drink before adding thickeners, just to be on the safe side!

Uplift with pop-fizz

Simple drinks could be lifted just with dash of lemonade or soda water. Also, some sparkling water varieties have added flavour, such as peach or strawberry, which could be very refreshing, especially if used in a long drink.

Making mocktails with fizzy drinks could be cheaper if you make your own bubbles using a Soda Stream instead of buying in bottles.

Every cocktail can be a mocktail

There are red, white and even rose sparkling grape drinks. Add juices to these to make mimosas. Make alcohol-free sangria by mixing cooled brewed breakfast tea with pomegranate juice or red grape juice. Add apples, oranges, lemon and lime to make your sangria look great.

Try some interesting combinations such as basil and strawberry, blackberry and sage, pear and rosemary, grapefruit and thyme, pineapple and chilli, rosemary and orange or strawberry and balsamic.

Here are some more creative recipes from cocktail expert Danielle:

Cherry Bakewell


  • 50ml cherry juice
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 10ml gomme syrup
  • Soda water


  1. Shake ingredients over ice, pour into a highball glass and top with soda.
  2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Strawberry and Lemon Spritz


  • Frozen strawberries
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • Basil
  • Soda


  1. Crush frozen strawberries in a Boston glass.
  2. Add ice and lemon juice.
  3. Shake.
  4. Strain into a Prosecco glass and top with soda.
  5. Garnish with basil and fresh lemon.

Enjoying experimenting on this World Cocktail Day and stay hydrated!


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