If you enjoy a mocktail, an adult soft drink, an alcohol free beer or a ginless G&T, it seems you are in good company. I recently spoke to Jane Milton, a food industry expert, about the rise of the mocktail.
The no/low ABV drinks sector has grown 506% since 2015 (Nielsen) and it is expected that non-alcoholic drinks including soft drinks will reach $280 million in revenue globally during 2021. Annual growth for the category is expected to hit 7.1% by 2025.
A record high of 11 booze-free tequilas, rums, whiskies and gin brands launched in the UK market last year, bringing the total to 42 at that time, not including many of the supermarkets private label options and not counting beers too. These are not being drunk by abstainers, more by drinkers, who want to break up their alcohol consumption either between drinks or a few nights a week. Dry January and now Sober October are great marketing opportunities and a chance to serve more exciting soft drinks.
During lockdown many of us became home bartenders and online searches for alcoholic and non alcoholic drink ideas soared- we usually rely on hospitality professionals to inspire us and let’s hope now, as things have opened up more, we can all go out to do our own ‘research’ again.
I love all the extras you get in a drink – the ice, the cucumber or citrus fruit twists, the botanicals, frozen wedges of grapefruit, or dried slices of orange and some spices such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, fresh rosemary, basil or thyme. All washed down a good tonic, low sugar soft drink or sparkling water, make a mocktail just as exciting to drink …
Here are a few great ideas for refreshing non alcoholic drinks that don’t use any ready made alcohol free spirits for flavour.
- A Pineapple Nojito – a mix of pineapple juice, fresh mint leaves, lime segments, a little demerara sugar and ginger ale mixed with a muddler and topped with a few more mint leaves. This can also be made with chilled peppermint tea as the base.
- Recently at the Dilmah Tea lounge in Glasgow Hilton, I enjoyed a chilled T Series Strawberry and Mango Tea, shaken with Monin Passionfruit syrup, a little lemon juice and topped with sparkling water. It looked great visually and had an interesting depth of flavour too.
- If you are looking for something warmer and a lovely mocktail, I love this Canadian recipe called London Fog – it is an Earl Grey tea latte – brew your tea strongly (4-5 minutes) add steamed milk (works with oat milk too) and a dash of lavender syrup too. It is indulgent and comforting too .
- A Virgin Mary with celery salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco, a good chilled tomato juice and a slice of lemon will pep you up and is also one of your five a day, garnished with a stick of celery, it is teetering towards 2 of your 5 a day!
I am sure you have many more great ideas in your teams too.
Find some more mocktail ideas here