Four simple mocktail recipes to make at home

Hot summer nights call for cool cocktails with plenty of tinkling ice, lush aromas and tastebud tingling flavour. And there is no need to have a drink that comes with a built-in hangover.

This summer the new kids on the alcohol-free block mean that some of the most classic spirit-based cocktails can be made into mocktails that shout out ‘kick back and relax.’

Designated drivers, the fit and healthy, the glowing pregnant people and those of us who just got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, all of us can enjoy some sophisticated summer mocktails, guilt- and hangover-free.

Here are four simple recipes that you can easily make at home. None of these are fruit juice based either, these are mocktails that taste very similar to the cocktail they emulate. These mocktails all require a bottle of something special to be purchased first. Start off with the basics and then spread your wings. These recipes are for single cocktails, all are easily scaled up of course.

Ersatz Aperol Spritz

The Ersatz Aperol Spritz is ideal for drinking with friends over summer and is made using Lyre’s Italian Spritz and de-alcoholised wine. This drink gives you a visual hit and is a taste sensation.

The classic Aperol Spritz contains Aperol, prosecco (the sparkling wine made in the Veneto region from prosecco grapes) and soda water, garnished with a slice of orange. The alcohol-free version requires a de-alcoholised sparkling wine, there are several types found in bottle shops, like McGuigan Zero Sparkling and Maggie Beer Non Alcoholic Sparkling Chardonnay.

The recipe below gives my favourite proportions, but this is a drink to test out for yourself, I do like quite a tasty, sharp spritz.


  • 60ml Lyre’s Italian Spritz
  • 100ml sparkling de-alcoholised wine
  • Soda water


  • Fill a tall balloon glass with ice cubes, as much as you like
  • Pour in the Italian Spritz and alcohol-free sparkling wine
  • Add a splash of soda, or more if you like
  • Decorate with slices of orange
  • Slurp

The Story of the Spritz

A spritz used to be what we called wine mixed with soda. More recently, the term spritz has become synonymous with the Italian aperitif Aperol. In fact, in 2018, the Aperol Spritz was ranked the ninth bestselling cocktail in the world by the website Drinks International.

Aperol was created in Padua in 1919 by the Barbieri brothers. The recipe is secret, but it is thought to contain gentian violets, rhubarb and cinchona bark, from which comes quinine.

Aperol is an aperitif. Aperitifs are dry drinks usually enjoyed before dinner with light snacks. Aperol is certainly dry, with strong, bitter orange flavours, as well as more complex herbal notes. Aperol itself is not high in alcohol, just 11 per cent, so you could use simply Aperol and soda water to make a low-alcohol spritz.

Aperol was bought by Gruppo Campari and has become super popular since. (Campari, by the way, is bright red, stronger in flavour and twice as high in alcohol as Aperol.) Lyre Spirits makes an equivalent called Orange Spritz.

The New Old Fashioned

Whisky cocktails were made in all sorts of ways during the 19th century, but the ‘old-fashioned way’ was to muddle sugar, water and bitters then pour in some whisky. The first written description of the Old Fashioned is in the 1895 book Modern American Drinks by George Cappeler.

I love this alcohol-free drink for its sweetness and simplicity. The New Old Fashioned is easy to knock up, yet feels very sophisticated. It is strong in flavour and smooth as it goes down.

There are several non-alcoholic bourbons and whiskies which can work well in this New Old Fashioned. Lyre’s American Malt is a bourbon equivalent, with vanilla and toasted nut flavours. It is also excellent alone over ice or served with simple mixers. Or try bourbons Whissin which is made in Spain, or Chicago’s Ritual Zero Proof’s Whiskey Alternative, and then there is Glen Dochus West Coast Blend from Scotland.


  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 60ml alcohol-free bourbon


  • Stir together the sugar, water and Angostura bitters until all the sugar has melted
  • Add in some ice then pour over the bourbon
  • Mix with a spoon
  • Garnish with a curl of orange peel. (Use a paring knife to cut a long strip of orange peel from a fresh orange then twist it around – it should hold its shape)
  • Sip slowly whilst thinking deep thoughts

Espresso Martini

If a short but sophisticated cocktail with a major kick is what you are after then try an alcohol-free Espresso Martini. And since it will not make you drunk, feel free to knock back a couple of these in the morning to get your workday going.

This cocktail uses Seedlip Aromatic Spice 95, a sparky alcohol-free spirit which has plenty kick but zero calories. Winner. Seedlip Spice 94 is distilled from the Jamaican allspice berry, cardamom and citrus fruits; and also oak and cascarilla bark, both used in traditional medicines. Seedlip Spice 94 also goes well with plain old Indian tonic water and a slice of lime.

It is super easy to knock up a simple sugar syrup for this recipe. Just mix 100g sugar with 100ml water and warm until the sugar is melted, then cool and store in the fridge.

The Opera Bar at Sydney Opera House does a different version using alcohol-free rums, and with salted caramel instead of sugar syrup. Sounds decadent and divine.


  • 50ml Seedlip Spice 94
  • 50ml cold brew coffee
  • 15ml sugar syrup


  • Shake and double strain
  • Serve in a coupe glass garnished with coffee beans

Cucumber Alt Gin & Tonic

The alcohol-free gin in this drink is made by ALTD Spirits and the name says it all. These spirits may be distilled in traditional copper stills, but their alcohol content has been altered, to zero per cent proof.

Based in Marrickville, Sydney, the ALTD Spirits microdistillery creates spirits which are not modelled on the flavours of alcoholic spirits – they have tastes unique to themselves.

The Green Grocer G&T ingredients include: lemon myrtle and lemon peel, green grapefruit, Tasmanian pepperberry, native thyme, rosemary, aniseed myrtle plus sandalwood and iron bark.

This is a powerful botanical alt gin which goes very well with Indian tonic or a cucumber tonic. Adding in plenty of cucumber and muddling the drink before adding ice gives a fresh feel and terrific aromas to a new, old favourite.


  • 40ml alcohol-free gin
  • 100ml tonic water, plain or try a cucumber tonic water
  • 1 small cucumber


  • Slice the cucumber lengthways using a mandolin or potato peeler
  • Carefully curl the cucumber into the drink, add the gin and then very gently muddle with a wooden spoon, not too much
  • Add ice cubes to glass
  • Pour in the tonic and give a gentle stir

The ALTD Spirits company was founded in 2018 by former barman and marketer Tim Triggs. The company sources all its ingredients from Australia, ethically and sustainably, and nothing artificial is used.

Of course you can make a cucumber gin and tonic with at least a dozen other varieties of alcohol-free gin. There seem to be more booze-free distilleries popping up than there are hangover-inducing ones.

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