Hop On The Mocktail Trend With A Quick, Tasty Take On A Classic Summer Drink

There's no denying it: mocktails are on the rise. After a spike in alcohol consumption during COVID-19 lockdowns, the pendulum is now swinging in the other direction, creating a surge in popularity around non-alcoholic options from zero-proof spirits to faux wines (via The Washington Post). This includes a staggering new variation in creative and beautiful mocktails to delight your taste buds.

There are many reasons for this trend. Some people prefer non-alcoholic drinks for health or dietary reasons, while others may be watching their budget. The perceived fanciness of mocktails can also help non-drinkers feel more included in the revelry at an event, whether they are sober by habit or simply the designated driver for the evening.

Long story short, cocktails are a perfect option for anyone looking for an alcohol-free way to enjoy a refreshing and satisfying beverage. From reimagined classics to innovative new drinks, mocktails run the gamut of flavors, so there's something for everyone. Of course, making a satisfying mocktail is a little more complex than tossing lime and soda into a highball. So, what goes into making a mocktail that you'll want to revisit time and time again?

What makes a great mocktail?

If you're interested in jumping on the growing mocktail trend, you may be wondering, "What makes a mocktail different from any other non-alcoholic drink?" Is flavored iced tea a mocktail? What about a cola spiked with vanilla?

Delineating mocktails from other drinks is certainly more of an art than a science, but there's one key element: complexity. Not complexity in the sense that it should take 18 ingredients and 20 minutes to make but rather the fact that mocktails demand complexity of flavor.

The alcohol in regular cocktails tends to soak up flavors and aromas throughout its distillation process, such as from oak casks, subtle spices, or infused fruits. Even the amount of oxygen can subtly alter a liquor's final taste (via Serious Eats). So, to strike a similar chord, a high-quality mocktail should include layered flavors of its own. These can be incorporated through a blend of juices, concentrated syrups, herb sprigs, or even vinegar if you're into shrub-style drinks.

Because mocktails can (and should) include an array of flavors, they're an amazing canvas for experimentation and customization. These drinks are your opportunity to play around and create something unique to your own tastes — all without risking any expensive booze in the process. If you want to begin playing with your own mocktails, one great way to get started is by trying out mocktail recipes that evoke classic cocktail flavors. And as we head into the hottest part of the summer, there's no better cocktail to recreate than a bright and refreshing spritz.

How to make A Night at the Spritz mocktail

If your idea of summer relaxation is sipping at a sparkling drink while the Mediterranean breeze gently ruffles your hair, this mocktail is the one for you. Capturing the spirit of a bittersweet spritz, the aptly named A Night at the Spritz delivers a rapturously light taste.

This recipe, created by Ghia founder Mélanie Masarin, provides a touch of elegance to your mocktail experience. As Masarin explains in a tutorial video for The Zoe Report, "To me, a great non-alcoholic cocktail has a lot of complexity, depth of flavor ... it's not overly sweet. Unlike traditional mocktails, which really tend to have one note that's really a note of sugar, I like them to be complex and really feel like grown-up drinks."

To make A Night at the Spritz, you'll need 2 ounces of sparkling water, a sprig of rosemary, the peel of one orange, and 2 ounces of non-alcoholic aperitif Ghia. Begin by mixing the Ghia and sparkling water in a wine or cocktail glass with ice, stirring them together gently. Then garnish the drink with your fresh rosemary and a twist of orange zest. "A sprig of rosemary for herbaceous notes, and a little aroma, and also a little drama," Masarin says in the tutorial video. "Smells like the woods!"

Curious to try other mocktails with a Ghia base? There are plenty of options. You can even drink it plain over ice. There is also the classic Aperol Spritz recipe from our sister site, Mashed, if you want something simpler yet with a kick, though it, too, can be made as a mocktail.