Mocktails: why every drinks menu should have them

Friday night is caipi night at the cocktail bar around the corner. For many, it’s the perfect way to start the weekend – and has been for years. But unlike in the past, it can now be alcohol-free. More and more people are switching to mocktails – they taste the same, but without intoxication. Non-alcoholic drinks are a growing trend, which is why no drinks menu should be without them.

Colourful mocktails

What's it all about?

👉🏼 Mocktails – more than just a pale imitation
👉🏼 Demand for non-alcoholic spirits is on the rise
👉🏼 What are good mocktails?

 

More and more people are turning to mocktails – cocktails without alcohol – and opting for ‘mindful drinking’. The longstanding lifestyle choice for beer and sparkling wine drinkers is now also trending on the spirits market: more and more producers are offering non-alcoholic alternatives to gin, rum, etc. or specialising in them altogether.

Mocktails – more than just a pale imitation

But what does mocktail actually mean? The term is a portmanteau of the words ‘mock’ and ‘cocktail’. Mocktails are alcohol-free alternatives to traditional cocktails, featuring the same flavours, textures and presentation elements, but without alcohol. While these drinks originally started as alcohol-free imitations, they have evolved into creations in their own right. Classics like the ipanema or the mojito are top mocktail favourites, but the possibilities are endless. By combining different ingredients such as fresh fruit, juices, herbs, syrup and soda, new taste experiences are created that can rival traditional cocktails.

Demand for non-alcoholic spirits is on the rise

More and more people want to consume more responsibly, but do not want to give up enjoying delicious drinks. Athletes, pregnant women, designated drivers or teetotallers – many people prefer mocktails, particularly the younger generation. ‘Especially at company or industry events, mocktails allow everyone to raise a glass without being excluded. This was unthinkable a few years ago when the only alternatives to alcoholic drinks were soft drinks,’ explains Gerhardus van Marm, specialist at METRO. He works with METRO several times a year as a bartender at various events such as corporate events and food festivals. The demand for mocktails at these events is increasing: ‘We are definitely noticing more people going for zero alcohol. Almost 20% of the drinks people order are now non-alcoholic,’ says Gerhardus. 
Gerhardus offers non-alcoholic aperol and gin at every event: ‘They are particularly popular at the moment – but I expect there will be non-alcoholic offshoots of all spirits in the near future,’ says the drinks expert. In his opinion, the non-alcoholic varieties taste similar. He explains: ‘The average consumer can’t taste the difference. Non-alcoholic aperol is a little sweeter, but it can be easily balanced with the orange or non-alcoholic prosecco.’ The key factor for making a cocktail taste good is not the alcohol, but the fruit and the effervescence. ‘Cuban rum may be the main ingredient in a mojito, but the mint and lime give it its typical taste.’

Fresh green lemonade
A refreshing non-alcoholic lemonade is a must in every bar and at every event

Mocktails and food pairing

Mocktails also open up new opportunities for food pairing. Combining dishes with drinks that complement each other, which takes the culinary experience to another level, can also be achieved with non-alcoholic drinks. Gerhardus’s tip: ‘A non-alcoholic gin basil smash goes perfectly with pannacotta. The strong taste of basil splendidly complements the dessert.’

Mocktails are taking over the drinks menu

Gerhardus believes that ‘mocktails should no longer be absent  from the drinks menu. People go to restaurants because they want to eat something they don’t eat every day – and that also applies to drinks. They’re looking for something that tastes amazing and not necessarily the alcohol.’ In his opinion, a quarter of the drinks menu should be alcohol-free. However, restaurateurs should not only offer non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails like mojito, caipirinha and aperol spritz, but also try out exciting new creations. ‘I offer my homemade lemonade at every event. I mix ginger, lemongrass, mint, lime, lemon and orange, serve it over crushed ice and garnish with a lemongrass stalk and mint. This way, the lemonade looks like a classic cocktail and tastes incredibly fresh,’ Gerhardus explains. He also recommends featuring the non-alcoholic alternatives prominently on the drinks menu. ‘My lemonade is always displayed on the bar to encourage people to try something new.’

The secret of appealing mocktails

As with cocktails, the interplay of three components is what makes a good non-alcoholic alternative: acidity, sweetness and effervescence. Gerhardus therefore recommends first asking yourself what makes a spirit taste good in a cocktail. If you understand these basics, you can use the other components skilfully. With sweeter non-alcoholic spirits, it is advisable to use them more sparingly to find the right balance between sweetness and acidity,’ Gerhardus explains. Another tip to keep mocktails interesting is to make the basic ingredients yourself. Simply boil down mint, kumquat or oranges as a base and combine them with juices, tonics, cucumber water, syrup or other ingredients. ‘Basil liqueur or elderflower syrup as well as mint syrup from Rioba are excellent choices in that regard.’ But 100% fruit purees, whether homemade or from the store, are also perfect for making mocktails.

 
Gerhardus van Marm

Gerhardus van Marm is not only a bartender, but also a barista specializing in the preparation of METRO's own brand Rioba coffee

About... Gerhardus van Marm

Gerhardus van Marm sees food as more than just a necessity of life. He prefers to engage with it in a more conscious way. The native Dutchman has been working with METRO for eight years. As well as operating as bartender, he also advises on special coffee preparations of METRO’s own brand Rioba at industry events such as Rolling Pin. His opinion as a barista is also in high demand for internal quality controls – both for coffee and for plant-based milk alternatives of METRO’s own brand METRO Chef.

Fruit Cooler recipe

Ingredients:

🍹 Crushed ice
🍹 Fresh raspberries
🍹 Fresh blackberries
🍹 4 cl Fluere Raspberry blend 0,0%
🍹 2 cl Rioba Bar Syrup Peach
🍹 Sprite

Preparation:

Fill a large glass with crushed ice, add fresh raspberries and blackberries. Lightly crush the berries to release the juice and enhance the flavour. Add Fluere Raspberry blend and Rioba Bar Syrup Peach. Top with Sprite, stir and garnish with more berries or a fresh mint leaf, if desired.

 
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Autumn Gin Cooler recipe

Ingredients:

🍹 5 cl Siegfried Wonderleaf (non-alcoholic)
🍹 2 cl Lyre’s Orange Sec (non-alcoholic orange liqueur)
🍹 1 cl Rioba Cane Sugar Syrup
🍹 Rioba Tonic water
🍹 Rosemary and cucumber or orange zest for garnish

Preparation:

Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add Siegfried Wonderleaf, Lyre’s Orange Sec and Rioba Cane Sugar Syrup. Stir gently to mix the ingredients. Top with Rioba tonic water and garnish with Rosemary and cucumber or orange zest for garnish.

 

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METRO’s own brands provide customers with high-quality products ranging from culinary specialities by METRO Premium and high-quality food products by METRO Chef to coffee and bar ingredients by Rioba.

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