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Making your own alcohol-free cocktails from scratch is often as simple as combining juices, soft drinks, and syrups with ice, and serving them shaken, stirred or strained. While the taste is enjoyable for some, non-alcoholic alternatives can lack the unique flavour of drinks made with vodka, wine and tequila – including classics like espresso martinis and margaritas. Express.co.uk spoke to Pooja Sharma-Jones, CMO of Mocktails, who shared the benefits of trying more alcohol alternatives ahead of what will be a “dry January” for thousands of Britons.
Drinking alcohol isn’t for everyone but for those who are trying to change their habits, it can be hard to stay on track when the fizzy drinks are the only other offering.
While there are more zero-percent drink options appearing on supermarket shelves each year, there are still slim pickings when it comes to pre-mixed cocktails. However, as the official cocktails of Dry January 2023, Mocktails are worth a go if you’re looking for some soft drinks to enjoy over the winter break.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, the company’s CMO, Pooja Sharma-Jones said: “The reason Mocktails came about was that we were not preachy about not drinking alcohol. We’re real believers in moderation, and all of our products are meant to be enjoyed like you would a cocktail.
“So you’re meant to use the right glassware, and serve them shaken using the bottled products – and they actually taste close to the real thing.”
Pooja noted that one of the main benefits of Mocktails’ products is that they “equalise the drinking experience” while being non-carbonated, gluten-free, and with lower calories than other non-alcoholic drink options out there.
While the bottled drinks can be served as they come, they are also ideal for combining with other pantry items or soft drinks to create other cocktails, with “real versatility” in each of the five flavours.
The range includes a mixture of seasonal favourites named aptly after the inspired drink, such as “Sansgria”, “Espress0% Martini”, “Mockarita”, “Mockscow Mule”, and “Mockapolitan”.
Despite being entirely alcohol-free, the canned and bottled drinks can be enjoyed just the same as the alcoholic original, by adding everything from a salt rim to a lemon rind to complete the drink.
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Though they are an ideal alternative to classic soft drinks like coca-cola and lemonade, Pooja noted that they are ideal for people thinking about abstaining from alcohol in the new year.
She said: “I think you should start doing that sort of moderation journey this month. It shouldn’t be a first-of-January goal, because I think if you ask somebody who likes to drink, it’s quite a shock to the system to just cut yourself off.
“So I think you should sort of, you know, seed the product into your festive meals and Boxing Day to make new habits now.”
Pooja recommended serving the Mockscow Mule – a take on the vodka-based Moscow mule, chilled from the can. Pour over ice for extra freshness and enjoy as an after-dinner palette cleanser.
The same goes for the zero-percent espresso martini, though you should let it sort of sit 30 seconds after shaking the can as all of the cans are nitro charged. Pooja said: “That’s something that comes out with pudding over the festive season for me as a real meal completer.”
If you’re looking to make your own mocktails from scratch, you will need a few more tools, though according to an expert at NIO, it is possible to make even the most complex recipes such as a Negroni without using key flavours like Campari.
- 25ml white grape juice
- Two orange slices
- Half a grapefruit
- 125g caster sugar
- Three lightly crushed cardamom pods
- Coriander seeds
- Red food colouring (optional – or try blood orange juice)
- Half a lemon, zested, plus 15ml lemon juice
- One tablespoon of golden caster sugar
- 50ml alcohol-free gin (or use water)
- One teaspoon of white wine vinegar
- One tablespoon marmalade
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