Skip To Content
Blog Get a Quote

Five killer non-alcoholic summer cocktails anyone can make at home

Just don’t call them summer “mocktails…”

A pink grapefruit mocktail on a busy dinner table surrounded by plates of bbq food being eaten

There are lots of reasons people choose not to drink booze, from physical health to mental health to pregnancy to having to get up really early in the morning to… the list goes on.

But if you’re on the wagon or entertaining someone who is, that doesn’t mean that “not drinking” has to mean “not drinking… anything more fun than soda.” You and your guests are adults: You should be able to drink adult beverages.

To aid in this mission, we’ve compiled a list of summer drinks that can legitimately be called cocktails, but just happen not to contain alcohol (although some of them can be easily adulterated if so desired). Because you deserve more than sparkling water on a hot summer day.

For these drink recipes, we’ve covered a few bases, from batch-able, barbecue-friendly drinks to more soignée and sophisticated options. We even found a booze-free martini.

As with regular cocktails, these call for a small amount of prep and some jiggers (cocktail measurers), but the results are more than worth it. You’ll notice that some of these drinks contain salt (we’ve included a “recipe” for a salt mixture, which is basically just 1 part salt to 4 parts water). It won’t make them taste salty, but it will aid with mouthfeel and reduce bitterness without the need to add sugar.

Our first three drinks come from Derek Brown, noted bartender and author of the excellent Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails with 60 Recipes.

In this article:

Brunswick Cooler

This refreshing long drink (meaning: goes in a tall glass, has more mixer than booze when it contains booze) dates from at least 1895. “It’s basically a lemonade and ginger ale with the addition of the peel. But, oh, is that peel important,” writes Brown. The lemon peel adds tons of flavor and it also makes the cooler look really, well, cool.

Note that the syrups required are incredibly quick and easy to make, and can be used for all kinds of other drinks.

Makes 1 drink
Serve in a highball glass
1 lemon
2 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce ginger syrup (recipe at bottom of article)
1/2 ounce lemon syrup (recipe at bottom of article)
3 ounces soda water

Cut one long spiral from the lemon and wrap around inside of highball glass. In a shaker, combine lemon juice, ginger syrup, and lemon syrup with ice and shake vigorously. Strain liquid into highball glass with spiral, add fresh ice, top with soda, and give it a gentle stir before serving.

Cherry Lime Rickey

“The original Rickey was made with Bourbon and, later, gin,” writes Brown. “But the Lime Rickey and Cherry Lime Rickey ended up just as famous as soda fountain drinks, with many people having fond childhood memories of the non-alcoholic versions.”

Which is to say, this is a great, batch-able drink for gatherings where alcohol drinkers can add booze, teetotalers can consume it as-is and everyone is sharing (pretty much) the same beverage (which is an experience that non-alcohol drinkers don’t always get to enjoy).

The pineapple syrup should be made the night before, but doing so is a quick, easy, kid-friendly process which also yields snackable pineapple.

Makes 1 drink
Serve in a highball glass
1 1/4 ounces fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce sour cherry juice
1/4 ounce pineapple syrup (recipe at bottom of article)
Shell of half of a lime
4 ounces sparkling mineral water
In a shaker, combine the lime juice, sour cherry juice, and pineapple syrup with ice and shake vigorously. Place the lime shell in the highball glass, then strain liquid into the glass. Add fresh ice, top with sparkling mineral water, and give it a gentle stir.

Pinch Hitter

This is a more fancy/serious, elegant cocktail-with-a-capital-C. In his book, Brown calls it “the canvas of the non-alcoholic sour,” which you can use as the basis of “all kinds of variations,” replacing the lemon juice with grapefruit, for example.

In order to get the flavor notes that alcohol usually provides, there are a couple of ingredients here which may seem at once unfamiliar yet completely common.

Serve in a cocktail glass
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce ginger syrup (recipe at bottom of article)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 ounces aquafaba (aquafaba is “chickpea water. From a can of chickpeas. Simply open the can and strain the liquid.” Use the chickpeas for salad or hummus.)
6 drops of salt tincture (recipe at bottom of article) or use a pinch of salt, but the tincture blends better.
Thinly sliced lemon wheel for garnish
In a shaker, combine liquid ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Remove ice and dry shake. Strain liquid into cocktail glass and garnish with a thinly sliced lemon wheel.

These last two cocktails come from Judy Elahi, bar director of Michelin-starred Gravitas restaurant and 101 Hospitality Group in Washington, DC. Her recipes make use of zero-proof “spirits” which mimic the taste of liquor (in this case gin and tequila) while being alcohol free. These drinks are another approach to getting a traditional-tasting cocktail without the booze.

Incognito 2.0

This is a riff on the martini. One of the ingredients needs to be prepared ahead of time, but it’s easier to make than overnight cold brew.

Serve in a chilled martini glass
2 ounces Bare Zero Proof gin, cold.
1 ounce lavender grape reduction (recipe at bottom of article), cold.
1 dash salt tincture (recipe at bottom of article)
Mix the ingredients, stir, pour into chilled glass, garnish with pickled grapes if you can, or with your usual martini garnish of choice.

Not Your Average Spritz

The name of this one is pretty self-explanatory. That said, it might also appeal to someone who likes Margaritas.

Serve in a chilled glass
1 1/2 ounces Bare Zero Proof Reposado Tequila
3/4 ounce ginger honey (recipe at bottom of article)
1/4 ounce lime juice
1 1/4 ounces salt tincture
3 ounces tangerine soda
Fill glass with ice, add ingredients, stir to combine. Garnish with herbs if available.

Supporting recipes

Ginger syrup

Makes approximately 1 cup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons grated unpeeled ginger root
1 dash lemon juice
Simmer sugar and water together until the granules dissolve. Stir, remove from heat, and add grated ginger. Allow to cool. Add lemon juice and strain any solids. Stored in a refrigerator, this should last up to two weeks.

Lemon syrup

Makes approximately 1 cup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Zest of 3 lemons (wash before zesting)
6 ounces lemon juice
Add sugar, water, and lemon zest to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer until sugar crystals are dissolved. Stir, remove from heat, and combine lemon juice in the mixture.

Pineapple syrup

Makes approximately 1 cup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 pineapple
Simmer sugar and water together until crystals are dissolved and then stir. Cut pineapple in 1/2-inch squares, removing the skin, and soak in syrup overnight. Press and strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer, but keep the cubes for a garnish or sweet treat.

Salt tincture

Add 4:1 water to salt and shake until the salt dissolves. Use a good salt like Maldon. Transfer the tincture to a dasher or eye dropper bottle.

Lavender grape reduction

Makes a modest amount, but it goes a long way
10 oz Bare Zero Proof Gin
30 grams Red Grapes Muddled
5 grams dried lavender
Mix the ingredients, leave for 48 hours, then strain.

Ginger honey

Makes as much as you like
2 parts ginger juice (this is made by grating ginger and squishing it so the liquid drips into a container)
1.5 parts honey
0.5 parts hot water
Stir hot water and honey together. Once fully cooled, stir in ginger juice.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

Calculate your needs
Default author headshot

About Michael Davis

Read more by Michael Davis

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

You might also like

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

.newsletter-msg-success, .newsletter-msg-error { display: none; }

What our customers are saying

Sign up for our newsletter

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

Thanks for signing up. See you in your inbox soon.