The Ultimate Seasonal Mocktail & Healthy Cocktail Guide!

You might have seen some of the recent hashtags (#SoberLife, #SoberSaturday, #SoberIsSexy) or noticed talk of “Sober October.”  As more and more people—both older and younger alike—shun alcohol for a healthy lifestyle, mocktails and healthy cocktails are experiencing a popularity boom.  With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and easy adaptations to make them boozy for our friends who imbibe, these mocktail and healthy cocktail recipes are all you need to plan the beverage menu for your next get together.  Bonus?  The mocktails are kid-friendly so they don’t have to miss out on the fun!

 

Spring

 

Cherry Spritzer

If you are looking for a refresher after a hard workout or are a frequent gout or arthritis sufferer, this might be the drink for you!  The cherries in it are beneficial for all these things.  The addition of ginger provides further inflammation fighting power, and with the sparkling water and lots of ice it is the perfect mix of refreshing and zingy.  The sweetness of your frozen cherries will highly impact the sweetness in the final beverage, so if you use tart frozen cherries be prepared to add sweetener if needed.  Add more ginger for more zing, and dilute with additional sparkling water if you’re looking for something even lighter.

Ingredients

makes 5 servings

  • 2 cups no-sugar-added tart cherry juice (or tart cherry juice blend)
  • 1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups sparkling water (use cherry flavored if desired)
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 4 oz. gin (can use extra tonic water and extra lemon juice instead)
  • optional garnish: fresh whole cherries, burnt lemon peel

Directions

  1. Puree the cherry juice, cherries, lemon juice, and ginger in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour into a pitcher and add the sparkling water and gin, if using, and lots of ice.  Garnish with whole cherries (you can put them on a toothpick or drink skewer if you want) and burnt lemon peel, if desired.

 

Spring Green Cocktail

This drink features some of spring’s best: peas and cucumbers.  These green superfoods are often abundant in spring, but you can use thawed frozen green peas, too.  You get some vitamin C from this beverage, but the real delight is the refreshing, bubbly taste and pretty green hue.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 2/3 cup peeled and sliced cucumber
  • 4 Tablespoons green peas, fresh or thawed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 2 oz. vodka (can use 4 ounces chilled green tea instead)
  • optional garnish: fresh tarragon leaves

Directions

  1. Muddle the cucumber, green peas, and tarragon leaves in a cocktail shaker. 
  2. Add the lemon juice, agave nectar, ice, and vodka, if using, and shake for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Strain into 2 glasses and top each with an ounce of club soda.  Garnish with tarragon leaves, if desired.

 

 

Summer

 

Peach Iced Tea

When it gets hot, nothing hits the spot like iced tea.  The fresh peaches in this drink recipe add a healthy sweetness that keeps it light, while also adding a boost of vitamin C and extra hydration (peaches are juicy!).  Black tea is a superfood, too—it’s packed with antioxidants that fight cancer and keep your skin healthy.

Ingredients

makes 6 servings

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 6 cups peach slices
  • 10 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • optional alcohol: 9 oz. bourbon (can just omit or can replace with seltzer)
  • optional garnish: thyme sprigs and lemon slices

Directions

  1. Place honey, thyme, 2 cups water, and 4 cups of peaches in a pan, cover, and heat over medium-high heat until simmering.  Reduce heat to low.
  2. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Let cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until completely cooled.
  4. Strain the peach syrup mixture and set aside.
  5. Add 2 cups peaches and tea bags to a heatproof pitcher.  Add 6 cups boiling water and let steep for 20 minutes.
  6. Take out tea bags and mix in lemon juice, peach syrup, and bourbon, if using.
  7. Fill glasses with ice and pour peach iced tea over it.  Garnish with thyme and lemon, if desired.

 

Watermelon Daiquiri

Watermelon is a great snack when it’s hot out; its high water content makes it extra hydratingHoney is also a powerful superfood that promotes all kinds of healing in addition to providing sweetness, and the jalapeno gives it a nice kick (while providing its own health benefits).  Omit the tequila and add a fun crazy straw for a healthy summer treat for the kiddos.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 4 cups frozen seedless watermelon cubes or balls
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded (use more for more kick)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 1/3 cup tequila (can just omit, or can substitute seltzer)
  • optional garnish: mint sprigs, watermelon wedges, or lime wedges

Directions

  1. In a blender, process the frozen watermelon, lime juice, jalapeno, and honey until smooth.
  2. Add in tequila, if using, and stir.
  3. Pour into glasses filled with ice and garnish with mint, watermelon, or lime, if desired.

 

 

Coconut Island Punch

This drink will transport you right to a tropical vacation…with both coconut milk and coconut water as well as lime, it will remind you of white sands and palm trees.  You can easily double the batch for a larger party and add whatever garnishments you like for striking color contrast against this white cocktail.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • lime wedge
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk (not the canned type)
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 2 oz. coconut rum and/or 2 oz. white rum (can use extra 1/4 cup coconut water instead)
  • optional garnish: mint leaves

Directions

  1. Muddle the mint leaves, lime wedge, and sugar in a cocktail shaker. 
  2. Add coconut water, white rum, if using, and a few ice cubes and shake for 10 seconds.
  3. Strain into 2 ice-filled glasses and add lime juice, coconut milk, and coconut rum, if using, and stir to combine.  Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

 

Fall

Cucumber Cooler

Fennel is in season in fall and winter, but this drink is also refreshing in spring.  It’s a great choice when a hot day sneaks up on you in fall and you need to cool off a bit.  If you find yourself with more fennel than you know what to do with (or it just looks so good at the farmers market you find yourself buying too much), this drink is the perfect remedy.  The fennel helps with healthy digestion, and the cucumber and lemon both promote hydration and detoxing, too.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 1/2 cup limoncello (can just omit)
  • optional garnish: fennel fronds and burnt lemon peels or lemon wedges

Directions

  1. Juice the cucumber and fennel bulb in a juicer. 
  2. Mix in the club soda, honey, lemon juice, and limoncello, if using.
  3. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with fennel fronds and lemon peel, if desired.

 

 

Grape Fizz

If you’re looking for an antioxidant dose, try this grape-filled fizzy drink. (psst! The fizz comes from the kombucha.)  Grapes are in season in late summer and early fall, and they really shine in this drink when they’re at their peak.  Add gin (or not) and kick back with this cancer-fighting, brain-boosting drink.

Ingredients

makes 4 servings

  • 12 oz. or 2 cups seedless black grapes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 16 oz. kombucha
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 4 oz. gin (can use 8 oz. tonic water and 4 teaspoons lemon juice instead)
  • optional garnish: frozen grapes, fresh rosemary

Directions

  1. Combine seedless grapes, water, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Simmer until mixture is slightly syrupy, about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Let cool completely.
  3. Blend mixture until smooth, pulsing gently and avoiding continuous high speed.
  4. Strain through a fine sieve, extracting the liquid and discarding the solids.
  5. Pour 1/3 cup blended grape mixture in an 8-oz. glass filled with ice.  Add 4 oz. kombucha (including at the end preserves the carbonation) and 1 oz. gin, if using.  Garnish with frozen grapes and fresh rosemary, if desired.

 

 

Winter

Cardamom Coconut Milk

There are so many healthy ingredients in this creamy beverage: tahini is a good source of energy (healthy fats!) and contains lots of vitamins and minerals; cardamom can help with digestion (and ulcers!); cinnamon fights inflammation; and even maple syrup harbors antioxidants in its sticky sweet goodness.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups refrigerated, unsweetened coconut milk (not the canned can)
  • 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • optional alcohol: 1-1/2 oz. bourbon (can just omit)
  • optional garnish: cinnamon (ground or stick)

Directions

  1. Add coconut milk, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and maple syrup to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in tahini and cover the saucepan.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Strain into 2 glasses, reserving the cinnamon sticks for garnish, if desired.  Add bourbon to each glass, if using.  Garnish with ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick, if desired.

 

 

Turmeric Elixir

Turmeric is so good for you!  It fights inflammation, detoxes your body, boosts your immune system, and so much more.  You also get inflammation fighting goodness from the ginger and plenty of vitamin C from the pineapple juice, making this the perfect mocktail choice if you’ve had one too many cocktails recently.  Get rid of toxins, inflammation, and cold germs all with this one drink.  And if you do add some gin or vodka…well, we won’t tell.

Ingredients

makes 2 servings

  • 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup seltzer water
  • salt
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 2 oz. gin or vodka (just omit for mocktail)
  • optional garnish: lime slices or wedges and fresh mint leaves

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint, sugar, turmeric, ginger, and salt.
  2. Add pineapple juice and lime juice and about a dozen ice cubes.  Cover and shake for about 10-15 seconds.
  3. Fill 2 glasses with ice and strain the drink into it, dividing it evenly between the two glasses.  Add 1/3-1/2 cup seltzer water to each glass. Garnish with lime and mint, if desired.

 

Grapefruit Spritzer

This drink utilizes the effervescence and health benefits of kombucha.  A fermented food, kombucha has probiotics that improve digestion.  The grapefruit juice is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as antioxidants, which can help heart health and fight inflammation, among other things.  This one’s pretty basic if you omit the alcohol and opt for a mocktail, but it can work—just be prepared to tweak the ratios of grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and kombucha, and add a little sweetener if needed.

Ingredients

makes 4 servings

  • 12 oz. kombucha
  • 1-1/3 cups grapefruit juice
  • ice
  • optional alcohol: 8 oz. sparkling rosé and 2 oz. elderflower liqueur (can use 4-6 oz. seltzer and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice instead)
  • optional garnish: lemon slices

Directions

  1. Divide grapefruit juice among 4 glasses.  Add elderflower liqueur, if using.
  2. Add ice to each glass and top with kombucha and rosé, if using.
  3. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

 

 

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