From the best nonalcoholic substitutes to recipe recommendations and more, mixologists share their advice.

By Caroline Biggs
February 22, 2021
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Every bit as delicious as a mixed drink, but sans the side effects of alcohol, mocktails are becoming more and more popular at events with non-drinking guests—including those at baby showers. "The great thing about mocktails is they encourage inclusivity," notes Parker Boase, co-founder of Liquid Lab NYC. "They are not only great for those who don't or can't drink, but are also an exciting option for children." Interested in crafting a signature mocktail for your baby shower? From the best nonalcoholic substitutes to recipe recommendations and more, here's how a handful of mixologists create a one-of-a-kind, booze-free drink that's just as delightful as the real deal.

sparkling punch mocktail

Find a tasty replacement for alcohol.

The key to a delicious mocktail is finding a good substitute for the alcohol. "Luckily, there are many brands on the market offering non-alcohol distilled 'spirits,' such as Monday, Ritual, or Seedlip," says Igor Zukowiec, mixologist and founder of Alchemiq Catering. "There are also fantastic ready-to-drink zero-alcohol options like Bitters & Soda from Hella (I highly recommend the Spritz version) or Curious Elixirs." To bring depth and complexity to a non-alcohol drink with all-natural ingredients, Carly Di Santo, Production Coordinator at Mobile Mixologist, says you can't go wrong with fresh herbs and fruit. "A sprig of fresh mint or basil, dropped into a freshly squeezed juice that you like can taste wonderful," she explains. "You can also use seltzer or sparkling water as a non-alcoholic substitute for a spritzer-style drink."

Jazz up a pre-made mixer.

For a delectable signature mocktail you can make on the fly, Di Santo says you can punch up a pre-made nonalcoholic mixer. "Any good piña colada mix will taste great without alcohol, especially if you add fresh pineapple juice or coconut cream—or a dash of blackstrap molasses to draw out the sugarcane complexity," she explains. "Additionally, if you blend up some frozen strawberries with lemon syrup and a splash of water, you'll have the most wonderful nonalcoholic strawberry-lemon 'daiquiris.'"

Offer a coffee-style option.

Since most baby showers take place in the afternoon, Gregory Lucas, the other co-founder of Liquid Lab NYC, says having a coffee-infused mocktail on hand can be helpful for guests that need a little midday pick-me-up. "Add three ounces of cold brew coffee, one ounce of oat milk (or any non-dairy substitution), three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup, and a pinch of ground cinnamon to a cocktail shaker," he advises. "Shake vigorously until the shaker begins to collect frost; strain over fresh ice into your favorite rocks or wine glass and garnish with coffee beans, an orange twist, and a pinch of cinnamon." His team calls this sip "Momma's Pick Me Up," which is incredibly appropriate for this event type.

Consider a big-batch beverage.

According to Boase, punches and other big-batch beverages work well for post-pandemic gatherings. "This frees up time for the host to enjoy with guests (and not have to worry about making single-serving mocktails throughout the festivities)," he explains. Di Santo says big batches of tea-infused options are also delicious and easy to make. "If you mix your favorite juice into just about any type of iced tea, you'll create something fun, interesting, and alcohol-free," she says.

Have fun with glassware.

To ensure your guests have a memorable experience at your baby shower, Jason Livingston of Taylor Made Bartender Services suggests getting creative with your glassware. "Whether you serve your mocktails in a sippy cup or drop a pacifier in each, vessels with an element of surprise (and a sense of humor) can leave a lasting impression on guests, while upgrading the presentation of a nonalcoholic drink," he says.

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