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Nonalcoholic drinks are one of the biggest trends of 2023 in the restaurant industry. These fun, delicious beverages enable customers to enjoy special drink experiences, even if they’re trying to reduce their alcohol consumption. If your restaurant isn’t yet offering a mocktail menu, take a seat at the bar — we’re shaking things up with these essential nonalcoholic drink tips and tricks.
How to make a mocktail: essential ingredients to have in stock
A mocktail is a nonalcoholic version of a cocktail. Typically, it’s made by mixing a fizzy beverage, such as club soda or ginger beer, with fruit juices, fresh herbs, and flavored simple syrups. By adding these zero-proof drinks to your bar menu, you can give customers delicious nonalcoholic options.
Since mocktails are nonalcoholic beverages, you have plenty of freedom when it comes to ingredients. Don’t be afraid to swap lemon juice and lime juice, for example, or try replacing simple syrup with maple syrup. Your guests will love the variety, and your bartenders may even discover a new bestseller. These fresh drinks are especially popular in the summer; starting in the spring, prepare for the beautiful days ahead by having drinks everyone can enjoy.
No matter what mocktails you’re planning, it’s always helpful to have a few key ingredients on hand:
- Lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice
- Simple syrup
- Agave nectar
- Ginger ale and ginger beer
- Clear sodas
- Cranberry syrup
- Apple cider
- Tonic water
- Club soda
5 famous mocktails to add to your menu
If you’re new to mocktails, the easiest strategy is to start with familiar cocktail recipes and remove the alcohol. Your bartenders are already familiar with the preparation methods, so they can make quick adjustments. If you’re in need of inspiration, try making these fun, summery drinks into mocktails:
- Virgin mojito. Bright and fizzy, the virgin version of the mojito is just as refreshing as its alcoholic counterpart. This delicious mocktail blends lime juice, soda water, and muddled mint leaves with a touch of simple syrup; use a cocktail shaker for best results. For extra depth of flavor, swap the water for ginger ale. Or switch things up by using grapefruit, yuzu, or lemon juice in place of lime for a more prominent citrus flavor. You can even toss in cranberry juice to create a pop of color.
- Shirley Temple. Named after the beloved child actress, the Shirley Temple is a classic mocktail. It’s especially popular among young guests, thanks to the sweet flavor and brilliant color. To make it, fill a glass with ice and add Sprite or 7UP and a splash of grenadine syrup. You can also add ginger ale or orange juice for extra flavor. Garnish the drink with a cherry for an extra-special presentation. Maraschino cherries are the traditional option, but fresh cherries work, too.
- Arnold Palmer. For customers who love iced tea but want to avoid alcohol, the Arnold Palmer is the perfect fit. This fun, refreshing drink is made with iced tea and lemonade; it leaves out the traditional tequila. If you want a slightly elevated version, you can use freshly brewed English breakfast tea, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. Want a hint of fizz? Add a splash of sparkling water or lemon-lime soda.
- Nonalcoholic Moscow Mule. Making a nonalcoholic version of a Moscow Mule might seem as simple as leaving out the vodka, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Ginger ale can be a little too light for a virgin cocktail; instead, get a stronger flavor with a ginger beer. Start by muddling a few fresh mint leaves in a copper mug. Then add ice, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lime juice. Top it with a lime wedge and a mint leaf for a splash of color.
- Virgin piña colada. A piña colada is the ultimate fruity mocktail to beat the end-of-summer heat. In a blender, process frozen pineapple chunks and ice until smooth. Add cream of coconut and pineapple juice and blend again. If you want a tangy twist, you can squeeze in the juice of a fresh lime. Pour the smoothie-like mixture into a large-bowled glass and garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple.
Why include mocktails on your menu?
Alcoholic drinks are often popular with customers, but without mocktails, you could be missing out on several key audience segments. Beautiful, tasty nonalcoholic beverages appeal to kids, designated drivers, people who are cutting back on spirits, and customers who avoid alcohol entirely. By offering these customers a selection of tasty, colorful mocktails, you can improve their dining experiences and increase average order value.
Once your mocktail menu is complete, make sure to get it in front of guests. Don’t forget about your delivery customers — with Grubhub, it’s a breeze to update your online menu and market new mocktails to customers. To check out all the marketing and promotion tools, get started with Grubhub today.