7 Holiday Mocktail Recipes That Are So Unique & Delicious, You'll Forget There's No Alcohol

With the end of fall in sight, you've probably already started cultivating a food menu and cocktail list for your upcoming holiday party. With a ton to do and a growing grocery list, it's likely you've forgotten to show some love for your non-drinkings guests with a list of holiday mocktails so zesty they will make your guest's taste buds feel delightfully buzzed. To be honest, though I love a boozy evening cocktail myself, I also love a nourishing, tasty beverage that awakes my mind and senses — and there are plenty of bottled up goodness on the shelves in my neighborhood with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, my thrifty nature and endless supply of herbs and spices has saved me from ever having to fork over eight bucks for a tasty bev at my high-end deli. Keeping the holidays and mouth-watering pleasure in mind, I've concocted seven booze-free beverages for the booze-free party-goer.

I've got my fair-share of non-drinking friends — serving my drinking guests intricate cocktails and my non-drinking friends water with lemon would never cut it. Plus, those friends are usually vegan and it gives me a little leeway when I can't remember if I put egg in the potato salad or not. These mocktails are inexpensive to make and will impress your guests whether their drinking or not.

This year, I'm reserving the endless supply of water for my guests getting buzzed on finger foods and have some fun making mocktails for my upcoming holiday party.

1. Fizzy Matcha Apple Shrub Mocktail

Makes 16 oz.

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 2 medium-large apples
  • 1 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar ($3.99 @ Vitamin Shoppe)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup matcha green tea ($5.99 @ Amazon)
  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • mason jar
  • coriander
  • mesh strainer

To begin, shred apples (with skin) into large bowl, add matcha, and stir. Add vinegar and molasses, and stir. Wrap the entire bowl in cling wrap and keep refrigerated for 48 hours. The flavors will begin to combine with the vinegar, giving it a tart, slightly sweetened taste. Once the time has lapsed, remove the bowl and cling wrap, and put a second large bowl in your sink, placing a coriander on top to strain the shrub. I use a potato masher to squeeze the remaining juice from the apples into the bowl. Depending on your coriander, you may want to double strain the mixture: I used a mesh strainer to further filter out excess dander before transferring to a mason jar. Keep refrigerated until party time.

To make the mocktail on demand, add 1 oz. of the apple matcha shrub to 8 oz of soda water, add ice, and garnish with dried or fresh apple slices.

2. Lavender Mocktail

Makes 8 oz.

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 5 grams dried lavender ($8.99 @ Amazon)
  • 1.5 tbsp of raw honey ($7.49 @ Vitamin Shoppe)
  • 4 dashes of bitters
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 disposable tea bag ($6.45 @ Amazon)
  • heat-proof glass
  • sealable glass bottle

This mocktail is super easy to make, and like the previous recipe, it can be batched in advanced of party time. Begin by boiling water. Measure lavender and place in disposable tea bag in a heat-proof glass. Add honey directly into glass. Let boiled water cool slightly, add to honey, and lavender. Let cool naturally. Transfer to glass bottle, squeeze excess liquid from tea bag and discard. Keep refrigerated until party time.

At party time, add four dashes of angostura bitters in a fancy glass. Pour lavender honey tea in glass, serve neat and garnish with lavender bud.

3. Unsweetened Black Rose Punch

Makes 56 oz.

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 13 g rose buds ($14.99 @ Amazon)
  • 10 grams of early grey ($11.10 @ Amazon)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 disposable tea bags ($6.45 @ Amazon)
  • water
  • quart sized container
  • punch bowl

Punches make for a great mocktails because once you create it, it will basically serve itself while you shmooze with your guests. Start by boiling 32 ounces of water. Measure 10 grams of rose buds and place in a disposable tea bag, use a separate bag for the black tea. Place in heat-proof quart sized container. Slice one lemon horizontally (I used a citrus squeezer for both halves to extract lemon directly into my punch bowl.) Allow boiled water to cool slightly before adding to the quart-sized container. Let steep for 10 minutes, then add 16 ounces of filtered water to the punch bowl. Once the tea has cooled slightly, add to punch bowl. Garnish punch with thinly sliced lemon and remaining rose buds.

4. Cranberry Apple Cider

Makes 56 oz.

For this recipe, you'll need the following

  • 10 medium-size apples
  • 6 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tbsp of whole clove
  • 1/2 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • cinnamon sticks
  • vanilla extract (optional)

Apple cider is a great way to warm the hearts of your drinking and non-drinking guests. While you can find an endless supply on the shelves at your local grocery, I find the most cost-effective way is to do it yourself. Start by washing apples thoroughly. Slice in quarters. Place apples in heavy pot, covering with at least two inches of water and bring to a boil. Add spices, molasses, dried cranberries, and cardamom seeds to the pot, stir and let the cider boil, uncovered for about 60 minutes. Strain mixture with coriander into a large bowl. Transfer back into pot, add two cups of cranberry juice and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Serve hot or chilled with dried apple and cinnamon stick garnish.

5. Turmeric & Nutmeg Ginger Beer

Makes 30-35 oz.

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 2 tbsp shredded ginger root
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 /1/2 cups water
  • 1/8 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 - 32 oz seltzer bottle

I had to add a ginger beer to this mocktail list, because the amount of non-drinkers ordering ginger beer while I was a bartender was not lost on me. Of course, ginger beer is plentiful at most grocery stores, but the ones without high-fructose sweeteners will certainly cost you. This homemade ginger beer recipe allows you to control the flavors and sweetness of your mocktail — and what better way to spice up your guests' palate by adding nutmeg and turmeric? Start by placing nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, sugar, and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and simmer until sugar is completely combined. Turn off flame and the syrup congeal for one hour.

Once your syrup has thickened, strain the mixture into a bowl using a coriander, squeezing out the excess liquid. You can actually add seltzer to the syrup and serve immediately, but to get real advanced: I chose to follow Tori Avey's ginger beer instructions for the "true ginger beer experience." Using a funnel, put the syrup and yeast directly in the seltzer bottle and fill with filtered water. Give it a hearty shake and refrigerate for three days, making sure you shake daily.

Serve ginger beer over ice in a glass with a turmeric and ginger candy garnish.

6. Hibiscus Ginger Italian Soda

Makes 6 oz. of syrup for 12 Italian Sodas

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 1 tbsp dried hibiscus ($17 @ Frontier Co-Op)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp shredded ginger root
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sealable glass bottle
  • 48 oz of still or sparkling water
  • 12 oz organic cream (or dairy alternative)

Begin by making the ginger hibiscus syrup. Place hibiscus, ginger, sugar, and water in a saucepan and simmer until sugar is completely combined. Turn off flame and let cool for one hour. Strain, and transfer to sealable container. Refrigerate until party time.

In the meantime, I used a dehydrator to dry my future ginger garnishes. Build the Italian soda in a stemless wine glass, over ice. Add two tablespoons of syrup, one ounce of cream, and fill glass with still or sparkling water. Garnish with dried ginger slice and hibiscus. Serve immediately.

7. Spiced And Unspiked Eggnog

For this recipe, you'll need the following:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 cups of coconut cream (dairy lovers can substitute with one cup of cream and 2 cups of milk)
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • mixing bowl
  • blender
  • whisk

Oh, eggnog, one of the staples of the holiday season. This classic holiday mocktail is timeless and versatile enough to make the recipe a little more unique than the standard quarts at your local grocery. Start cracking your eggs and add each directly into the blender with the sugar. Blend for about one minute, or until thickened. Transfer to mixing bowl, whisking in coconut milk until the mixture is completely combined. Add vanilla and spices and mix vigorously. Serve your eggnog on the rocks, sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg on top for garnish.

Now that you've got the inspiration to whip up these mocktails, you can make sure that everyone has a drink in hand at your next holiday party.

Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (18)