Making a Mean Mocktail: A Zingerman’s Crash Course

The History of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails and Some of Our Favorite Recipes


Alcohol-Free, Flavor-Full 

Over half of consumers worldwide reported a higher consumption of non-alcoholic (N/A) cocktails over the past year, according to Bacardi’s 2022 Cocktail Trends Report. Many studies credit this trend to Millennials and Gen-Z drinkers, who often strive for a more conscious, moderate relationship with alcohol. Alcohol is not for everyone, and certainly not all the time! You shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality or experience when you decide to take the N/A route—whatever the reason—and mocktails are a great way to partake in social drinking without the alcohol. 

We’re big fans of non-alcoholic cocktails at the Deli. We’ve made sure to fill our shelves with lots of top-notch mixers, bitters and syrups, garnishes, and mixology tools! We also host a handful of tastings that feature mocktails as a refreshing beverage option, and mixology classes hosted by our mocktail experts. With our tools, ingredients, and expertise, you’ll be crafting some seriously tasty non-alcoholic cocktails in no time. 

Serving Up the Story of Mocktails


The sober-curious movement is definitely on the rise, but mocktails are hardly new—there isn’t a real invention date, since non-alcoholic drinks have been available as long as the alcoholic varieties, dating back farther than the infamous Shirley Temple of the 1930s. Modern mixology can be traced back to 18th-century English punch houses, and, later, Jerry Thomas’ book The Bar-Tender’s Guide from 1862. Thomas coined the original name for mocktails in a chapter dedicated to alcohol-free beverages: “temperance drinks” included things like fruity lemonades, ginger wine, and sodas. 

These recipes, while antiquated, could get quite complicated! Thomas’ recipe for lemonade, for example, goes beyond water, lemon, and sugar. Thomas adds orange, raspberry, or strawberry syrup, crushed ice, and many fruit garnishes. The first known use of the term “mocktail,” according to Merriam-Webster, didn’t come until 1916. During the Prohibition era, many bartenders flexed their creativity by creating non-alcoholic versions of traditional cocktails, which popularized beverages such as the Virgin Mary—a non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary. 

By the time Prohibition ended, the energy around both cocktails and mocktails had shifted. Many techniques and recipes were forgotten. Post-Prohibition cocktail books still acknowledged various types of lemonades, but that was the extent of it when it came to mocktails. Non-alcoholic drinks in bars were limited to sodas or overly-sweet kid’s drinks like the Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers. Nowadays, we thankfully have a much larger beverage lexicon to work from! 

Mocktail Flavor Profiles


When it comes to making a master mocktail, a basic understanding of flavor profiles is required: 

Sweet. Simple syrup, honey, molasses, fruit, and fruit juice can be added to brighten a drink and counteract strong sourness, bitterness, or spice. Try PinkHouse Tonic Syrup or any of the honeys we carry. 

Sour. Acidic ingredients such as tomato, citrus fruits, and vinegar add sourness. The 16-Year Balsamic has a wonderful sharpness as well as a raisin-like quality to balance, and would make a perfect spritzer. 

Bitter. Hops, coffee, cocoa, and grapefruit can help imitate the astringency normally added to a cocktail from alcohol. The astringency in a normal cocktail is caused by tannins, which can be found in red wine, of course, but also in a strong black tea. Using a black tea extract can enhance this flavor profile. Try any of Zingerman’s Coffee Company blends or teas!

Spicy. Spice will mimic the burning sensation that accompanies alcohol to make it smell and taste more like the real thing. Chili, ginger, wasabi, or even hot sauce can be used to add a bit of zing or the illusion of warmth! Browse our hot sauces and ground peppers.

Salty. Sea salt and olive brine will give your mocktail a salty kick. Salt will also enhance any other flavors you’ve added. You could even use some pickle juice…?

Cool, but what about the bitters?

Contrary to the name, bitters aren’t always bitter! These small bottles are spirits infused with different herbs and spices—so the flavor completely depends on what the bottle is going for! Our two faves are Hella Bitters and El Guapo, both beautiful hand-crafted bitters producers with a deep appreciation for the cocktail craft.

Remember to check the fine print! Bitters have different bases depending on the brand, so you’ll definitely want to read the label to ensure you aren’t buying something with an alcoholic base if you’re trying to make a truly non-alcoholic mocktail. For example: Hella Bitters is alcohol-based, while El Guapo is alcohol-free!

Not sure where to start? We’ve got a handful of mocktail recipes that we absolutely love, and the ingredients can be conveniently found in our Specialty Foods section at the Deli!

Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes

Our very own mocktail mixologist, Tessie Ives-Wilson, has a smorgasbord of non-alcoholic cocktail recipes for your mixing pleasure! Tessie has been hosting tasting events for years and although we do often pair cheese or other offerings with wine or beer, it’s a refreshing delight to pair mocktails with our foods and play around with flavor combinations. These recipes were developed by Tessie for one of her tasting classes and we we wanted to share them with you!

Peachy Sparkler

2 oz INNA Shrub Fiesta Peach

5 oz sparkling water

Combine all ingredients in a glass. If you want to kick this up a notch with a little spice, consider adding a few dashes of the Smoked Chili Bitters from Hella Cocktail Co. 


Lake Life Mock-a-rita

1 tsp American Spoon Blueberry Preserves

2 oz American Spoon Margarita Mix

3–5 oz Spindrift Grapefruit Sparkling Water


In the bottom of a glass, mix together the blueberry preserves and the margarita mix until combined. Fill the glass with ice and pour the sparkling water over top, mixing gently to incorporate. 

Mock Bee’s Knees

Spiced Honey Syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup water


1 Tbsp Épices de Crus Poultry Spice Blend


Mock Bee’s Knees Mocktail

2 oz Spiced Honey Syrup

4 oz Lemonade


Make the Spiced Honey Syrip by combining ½ cup of honey (we’re using the Moonshine Trading Company Black Sage honey) with ¼ cup water, 1 tbsp Epices de Cru Poultry Spice Blend, 1-2 inches of orange peel, 1-2 inches English cucumber, 1 bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes while occasionally stirring to ensure the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Strain and cool. Will keep in the fridge for around 1 month (makes 8 oz of syrup, enough for 4-5 mocktails). 

Mix the Spiced Honey Syrup and Lemonade together. Serve over ice. 

Cherry Balsamic Spritzer

1 oz 16 Year Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 oz Pink House Alchemy Dark Cherry Grenadine*

5 oz sparkling water

2–3 maraschino cherries

Toothpicks or skewers for garnish

In the bottom of a flute or wine glass, mix the balsamic vinegar and grenadine until combined. Pour the sparkling water over the vinegar/grenadine mix until the glass is full. Put the maraschino cherries on the toothpick/skewer and add to the glass to garnish. 

*Most grenadines are no longer cherry-based, and are instead made with pomegranate juice (right?!?!?!). Pink House Alchemy sticks to the original, cherry-based recipe.

Nocchiola Cafe Mock-tini


3 oz Cold Brew Coffee from Zingerman’s Coffee Company

1 oz Pink House Alchemy Hazelnut Syrup 

1 oz heavy whipping cream

2 dashes Chicory Pecan Bitters


Espresso, finely ground, for garnish (optional)

Add cold crew, syrup, cream, and bitters to a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake until chilled—you want to shake this hard as it will help the whipping cream to thicken and give an excellent mouthfeel for this mocktail. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with espresso, if using. 

Inspired? You’re in luck! We’ve got amazing mocktail ingredients on our shelves for you to peruse, online and in-person. If you’d like a bit more guidance, stop by the Deli and ask any of the friendly faces for a hand. Whether you’re looking to simply curate your personal non-alcoholic home bar or hosting a whole group, we’re here to help!