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Mocktails Just Wanna Have Fun.

Updated: Jan 16

By Colleen Crawford

A drink is most simply an offering to whomever it is poured for. Why not offer a version to your guests that doesn't include alcohol?

Lately, I find myself talking with more and more folks who have taken a step back from the booze. We end up sharing references and reviews of good alcohol-free products on the market, be it an elixir, a mixer, a substitute, or even a premixed & canned mocktail.

People will choose to opt-out at the bar during your reception for many reasons, none of which warrant going empty-handed. So, while a soft drink will do the trick, why not treat your non-drinkers to something refreshing and exciting to sip on?

During my 12 years as a bartender, I made every drink under the sun and consumed them. Which is why I sit here writing this 854 days sober. (But who's counting??) This sobriety has helped me to fully deep dive into the world of mixing not-cocktails using in-season herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, etc. In the world of mixology, we follow a basic rule of balance; the baseline for this is if you're mixing in sweet, you should almost always mix in sour. The easiest way to start with something sweet is to make a syrup. To do this, you'll want to blend equal parts liquid and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Your liquid could be anything from the juice of an orange to lemongrass you let steep for a few hours or even a beet that you've juiced. Yup, I said a beet; trust me on this. But remember, while you experiment with your syrups, don't forget to add something tart! My go-to sour/tart component is most often freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Y'all, trust me when I say there are NO limits here. Think of flavors you love and get to testing!

The recipe below has a super simple and refreshing concoction that "tastes like coming home."


2 oz. chamomile syrup
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon peel
club soda
Combine syrup + juice in a glass.
Fill the glass to the brim with ice.
Add soda + stir.

Steep 1 cup of chamomile flower in 2 cups of water for 2 hours.
Strain out flowers and bring that chamomile tea back to a boil.
Add in 1 cup sugar, mixing until completely dissolved.
Let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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