By Marina Case
The new year is the perfect time to make a change – like shifting from cocktails to mocktails. These days, I prefer sipping on a thoughtfully crafted alcohol-free drink. For those of you who follow my blog and social media, you know that I’ve embraced blue zone living. I’ve cut back my sugar and alcohol intake and am feeling great; inflammation is down and so is my weight! This year, I want to continue on my journey to better health, so I’ve stocked my mocktail bar cart with all my favorite essentials. For me, it’s all about creating new drinks in flavors I love served up as pretty as possible. Below are some tips to build a mocktail bar that will bring joy whether you’re mixing something up for yourself after a long week, or entertaining family and friends.
Must Haves for an Alcohol-Free Home Bar
A tasty mocktail starts with a good base. Of course a seltzer or club soda are traditional go-tos, but right now my favorite starters are Spindrift fruit-infused sparkling water, Fever-Tree Mixers, and Recess sparkling mocktails. Spindrift in blood orange, which bursts with flavor, is one of my go-to’s. I also like to keep alcohol-free bitters on hand, such as Dutch’s Spirits Colonial Cocktail Bitters and Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters, to enhance the intensity and flavor of the drink.
With so many mocktail recipes out there, you’ll want to have the right tools on hand. I recommend a shaker, muddler, strainer, jigger, bar knife, cutting board, and a beautiful cocktail spoon.
Fresh Fruits and Herbs
I believe mocktails are meant to be memorable, so I liked to incorporate lots of aromatic and flavor infusing elements like raspberries, cranberries, Luxardo cherries, blood orange, lime, rosemary, and mint.
Everyday is a special occasion, so break out the good glasses. Mocktails are as pretty to look at as they are tasty, so you’ll want to highlight their beauty.
Some things are better served chilled, and that includes a mocktail. Keeping a stocked ice bucket on your bar cart allows you to have easy access to cubes.
As a designer, to me presentation is just as important as the drink itself. I like to use special napkins (embroidered, handmade, or pretty paper prints from Caspari), fancy straws, and fruit skewered on metal toothpicks – all served from gorgeous serving trays.
The Perfect Mocktail for the Winter Months
I love this delicious drink whipped up from the Colonial Williamsburg Holiday Fare cookbook.
What You Need
1 16 ounce can of whole-berry cranberries
2 cups sweetened cranberry juice
24 ounces of soda water
1 quart pineapple juice
2 limes, thinly sliced
Place the cranberries and juice in a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
Pour 2 ounces of soda water into each glass and top with the pineapple juice. Add 1-2 cranberry cubes, garnish with lime and serve.