(Watermelon Lime Slushie from Mocktail Party by Kerry Benson and Diana Licalzi)
By Julluam Dara / June 9, 2021
After a year of pandemic drinking, there’s been a shift in consumers’ relationship with alcohol. According to Bacardi’s Brand Ambassador Survey for 2020, the zero-percent ABV spirits category received more interest than any other spirits category for 2021 — for the second consecutive year.
“This has largely been fueled by the growth of the sober curious movement and challenges,” suggest Kerry Benson, MS, RD and Diana Licalzi, MS, RD, citing the likes of ‘Dry January’ and ‘Sober October.’ Benson and Licalzi are co-authors of Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based, Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Every Occasion. They say, “With more people joining the movement, mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks are being embraced and accepted as healthier alternatives to alcohol.”
In March 2019, the IWSR predicted that mocktails could further drive the non-alcoholic category. Today, mocktails are accurately driving the demand for non-alcoholic spirits, from new and notable brands, alike. In the U.S. last year, the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis reports that no- and low-alcoholic products grew in volume by 32.9 percent.
The top five best-selling non-alcoholic spirits, according to Drinks International Brands Report released at the beginning of 2021, are Seedlip, accounting for 77 percent of their global bars’ first choices, followed by Lyre’s, Everleaf, Aecorn and Ceder’s. The DI Brand report also recognized Three Spirit and Feragaia as top trending brands. The increase in these premium, non-alcoholic spirits have provided a quality base for mocktails, which, when mixed with healthful ingredients, negate the added calories, sugars and dehydrating qualities of a traditional cocktail.
“I like to experiment with how I can get doses of all the amazingly powerful nutrients from plants,” says Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS, and author of Vibrant, a 30-day program based on the principles of functional medicine, and a proponent of plant-based mocktails. Stephenson says using ingredients like lime or cranberry juice, ginger and chunks of fresh fruit are ways to increase your phytonutrient intake (phytonutrients are the chemicals produced by these plants, which offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits).
Whether you’re sober curious, preparing for ‘Dry July,’ or simply looking for a healthy alternative for weeknight sipping, Benson, Licalzi and Stephenson share eight summer mocktail recipes below, including the nutritious benefits of the plant-based ingredients.
(Sweet Wine-Not SLushie from Mocktail Party by Kerry Benson and Diana Licalzi)
“With this delicious version, you won’t need a designated driver, and you’ll get the added antioxidant boost of vitamin C from lime and grapefruit, as well as the calming, anti-anxiety properties in cilantro, meaning this mocktail could make you healthier and happier, and with no post-tequila hangover.” — Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS
Recipe: 6 destemmed cilantro sprigs; 4 destemmed mint sprigs; 1 cup Seedlip Grove 42; juice of 2 limes; 4 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice; 1 lime, sliced for garnish.
Method: In a small mixing bowl, muddle the cilantro and mint until fragrant. Add Seedlip Grove 42 and lime juice. Stir. Transfer mixture to a pitcher. Add the grapefruit juice and fill the pitcher with ice. Serve in margarita glasses with lime garnish. Makes one pitcher.
Sweet and Serene Sangria
“This fruity mocktail is bursting with antioxidants from the non-alcoholic red wine, cranberry juice (choose 100% cranberry juice, not the sugary variety), orange juice, apples, plums, and oranges. It’s got vitamin C and other free-radical-wrecking antioxidants, as well as flavonoids like resveratrol that have anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, blood-sugar-stabilizing, brain-strengthening properties, without burdening your liver with alcohol.” — Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS
Recipe: 1 bottle Fre non-alcoholic red wine; 4 cups cranberry juice; 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice; 1 apple (cored and diced); 1 plum (pitted and diced); 1 orange (sliced into discs). Optional: 1 cup sliced strawberries, blackberries, or a combination, for more color and sweetness.
Method: Pour non-alcoholic wine, cranberry juice, and orange juice into a large pitcher. Add diced apple, diced plum, and orange slices to the mixture, along with optional berries. Stir. Allow to steep in the fridge for at least one hour. Serve in wine glasses. Makes one pitcher.
Guiltless Gin and Tonic
“This alcohol-free version of the classic summer gin and tonic is even better for you if you choose naturally-sweetened tonic water, since regular varieties contain as much sugar as soda, and may be made with liver-taxing high fructose corn syrup. It’s easy on the sweet and heavy on the freshly squeezed lime juice, will dose you with immune-backing vitamin C, as well as calcium and potassium, instead of guilt.” — Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS
Recipe: 1 cup fresh lime juice; 4 tablespoons agave or honey; 3 cups tonic water of your choice; 1 cup Seedlip Spice 94; rosemary sprigs for garnish.
Method: In a small saucepan, heat the lime juice to a simmer. Slowly stir in the agave or honey until dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Pour the lime juice mixture into a pitcher. Add the tonic water and add ice to the pitcher, almost filling it. Add Seedlip Spice 94 and stir. Serve in cocktail glasses with a rosemary garnish. Makes one pitcher.
Apple Ginger Crush
“This fruity drink is full of soluble fiber, which can help keep you regular and also bring down cholesterol. It’s also brimming with polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties, so while this mocktail tastes like an orchard in a glass, it’s also good for keeping you feeling your best this summer.” — Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS
Recipe: 4 cups seltzer water; 1/2 cup fresh apple juice; 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed ginger juice; 1 apple, cored and sliced; 5 sliced strawberries; mint or thyme sprigs for garnish.
Method: In a large pitcher, combine seltzer water, apple juice, and ginger juice. Stir in apple and strawberry slices. Allow to steep in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, then serve over ice. Makes one pitcher.
(Pain-Free Pineapple Mocktail from Mocktail Party by Kerry Benson and Diana Licalzi)
“This alcohol-free take on the Painkiller cocktail, a classic and popular tiki drink, delivers fiber, vitamin C, and bromelain from the pineapple. Bromelain is an enzyme that may help reduce inflammation and swelling.” — Kerry Benson, MS, RD and Diana Licalzi, MS, RD
Recipe: 1⅓ cups fresh or frozen pineapple; 2 cups coconut water; 1/2 cup canned coconut milk; 1/2 cup orange juice; 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar; a couple dashes ground nutmeg; extra pineapple slices and ground nutmeg for garnish.
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Fill four lowball glasses with ice and divide the blended mixture among the glasses. Top with nutmeg and garnish with a pineapple wedge. Serves four.
Watermelon Lime Slushie
“This frozen mocktail is the perfect drink to sip on a hot summer day. Coconut water, which has electrolytes such as potassium, is hydrating and naturally sweet. Watermelon is over 90% water and also provides vitamin C, vitamin A, and lycopene, a carotenoid that has antioxidant properties.” — Kerry Benson, MS, RD and Diana Licalzi, MS, RD
Recipe: 5 cups watermelon, cubed and frozen for at least 3 to 4 hours; 1 cup coconut water; 1/2 cup lime juice; few dashes salt; lime slices for garnish.
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until well combined. Divide the blended mixture among four lowball or margarita glasses. Garnish with lime slices. Serves four.
“Ginger-flavored kombucha serves as a nutritious and functional swap for ginger beer, one of the main components of a Moscow Mule, in this mocktail. Instead of a sugar-laden drink, you’ll be sipping on one brimming with probiotics [which may be beneficial for gut health].” — Kerry Benson, MS, RD and Diana Licalzi, MS, RD
Recipe: 2 ⅔ cups ginger-flavored kombucha; 1/4 cup lime juice; 2 cups seltzer; lime wedges for garnish.
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher. Stir. Fill four copper mugs with ice and divide the mixture between the glasses. Garnish with lime wedges. Serves four.
Sweet Wine-Not Slushie
“When blended with coconut water, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar, you get a perfectly sweet, alcohol-free slushie that tastes like it was made with wine. Plus, since it is made with grapes, this recipe provides fiber with no added sugar.” — Kerry Benson, MS, RD and Diana Licalzi, MS, RD
Recipe: 4 cups frozen green grapes (you can buy fresh grapes and store them in the freezer for at least four hours); 2 cups coconut water; 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar; 2 cups ice.
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until the ingredients are well combined. Divide the mixture among four chilled stemless wine glasses. Serves four.