Two refreshing mocktail recipes and a discussion about the non-alcoholic beverage market

I would consider myself a drinking fanatic. On any given day, you can catch me with a unique group of drinks – my trusty Hydro Flask filled with water and ice cubes that make the most annoying noise when I walk, a day-old thermos of coffee and another drink for fun, most likely something fizzy or fermented, such as kombucha. My latest drinking obsession has been making mocktails, fueled by my love of fun drinks and the recent discovery of a community of mocktail mixologists on TikTok.

I feel like most non-alcoholic drink options are limited to juice, soda, or plain water. But sometimes you want an interesting, creative drink that doesn’t result in a debilitating hangover (just typing that word gave me flashbacks). More recently, I’ve noticed an expansion of zero-proof drink options in grocery stores, restaurants, and even bars. I feel a culture shift towards a more understanding and supportive attitude towards those who abstain from alcohol. From non-alcoholic beer to gin alternatives and premixed mocktails, skipping alcohol can still be fun, flavorful, and accessible. I wanted to share some of my favorite mocktail recipes that are quite similar to the real thing.

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Serve your Moscow Mule in a pre-chilled copper mug! Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

This drink gets most of its flavor from Saint Ivy’s non-alcoholic Moscow Mule drink. I found this premixed drink at Whole Foods Market, and while the price for a pack of four bottles was ridiculous, I decided to be adventurous and try it anyway. Saint Ivy specializes in non-alcoholic, sparkling cocktails, available in three flavors: Moscow Mule, Gin and Tonic, and Mint Mojito. The brand created these drinks to help non-drinkers feel more involved in social gatherings that usually involve alcohol, something I definitely support.

Ingredients (for 1 drink):

  • ½ bottle (6 fluid ounces) Saint Ivy’s Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule Sparkling Beverage
  • 3 fluid ounces of tonic water (I used Fever-Tree’s tonic water)
  • 2 fluid ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 fluid ounce lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Lemon slice to garnish

Travel directions:

  1. Grab your glass of choice. I used a copper mug, the traditional drinking vessel used for a Moscow mule. The copper material keeps the drink cold and improves the taste of the drink, according to Moscow Copper Co., the company that helped bring the classic Moscow mule cocktail and copper mugs to the US in the 1940s.
  2. Chill your mug in the freezer for a few minutes or place a large ice cube in the mug.
  3. Pour Saint Ivy’s Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule Sparkling Drink, tonic water, grapefruit juice and lemon juice into the mug.
  4. Garnish with a slice of lemon and enjoy!

Chamomile and Blueberry Mojito with Lavender Syrup

The vibrant purple color of this drink comes from the blueberry and lavender infused simple syrup. Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

I made this second mocktail recipe with relaxation and stress relief in mind. While a mojito usually consists of rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and mint, this non-alcoholic mojito has floral undertones from the muddled blueberries and sweet lavender syrup. It’s the nicer version of the warm mug of chamomile and lavender tea I often drink in the evening. Plus, the simple lavender syrup used in this recipe is quite versatile: try mixing some into your coffee to make a lavender latte or incorporate it into baked goods.

Ingredients (for 1 drink):

Lavender Simple Syrup (for ½ cup):

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender (I used lavender from Penzeys Herbs)


  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 6 ounces of water
  • ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • Ice
  • A few fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon

Travel directions:

  1. First, make the simple lavender syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir the sugar and water mixture gently for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Turn the heat to low and add the blueberries. Stir for a few minutes before turning off the heat and adding the dried lavender. Let the lavender and blueberries infuse for 30 minutes before pouring the syrup into a strainer to separate the lavender and blueberries (you won’t need them for the rest of the recipe).
  4. Then boil water and let a chamomile tea bag steep for 4 minutes. Place the cup of tea in the refrigerator until the lavender syrup is completely absorbed.
  5. To make the drink, take your glass of choice. Crush the blueberries and mint in the bottom of the glass with a fork or spoon. Add a generous amount of ice to the muddled berries to keep them from floating to the surface. Then add the iced chamomile tea, as much lavender syrup as you like and add a squeeze of lime.
  6. Top the drink with a sprig of mint before serving!

Experimenting with mocktail recipes is great and all, but what about the times when you’re out with friends and don’t feel like drinking? The zero-proof drinks market is already saturated with a diverse selection of spirits, mixers and brews. However, I think there is still room for supermarkets, popular beverage companies, bars and restaurants to improve and expand their non-alcoholic options. since the wellness drink craze exploded during the pandemic, more brands are jumping on the bandwagon, but often use the demand for more health-conscious drinks as an excuse to rebrand their existing products as exciting non-alcoholic drinks. By distinguishing certain drinks as attractive alternatives for non-drinkers, brands can charge more for these specialty items.

Santa Cruz Organic’s Radiant Rosé is sold at an affordable price but skimps on flavor. Stephanie Gerson / Daily Nexus

A good example of this deceptive marketing is: Santa Cruz Organic’s Radiant Rosé: a bottle of sparkling grape juice. The drink looks like any other bottle of rosé, but does not have the same slight bitterness and pronounced taste of a sparkling wine. Santa Cruz Organic wins customers with eye-catching packaging for their line of wine alternatives, but the ingredient lists are nearly identical to their base white grape juice product that costs less. Radiant Rosé is a suitable substitute for wine or champagne if you need something to toast to, but don’t expect it to dazzle your taste buds and compete with your favorite sparkling wine.

Observing the commitment of brands and supermarkets to offer zero-proof products shows that forgoing alcohol has become a little more accepted, even though it may seem like we still have a long way to go before all branches reach the niche market. start serving non-alcoholic drinks that can be found in specific stores. I recognize that this acceptance of sobriety may not be apparent at a school like UC Santa Barbara, where drinking is the preferred activity among students, but it seems that the judgment of non-drinkers has diminished somewhat over the years. As the non-alcoholic beverage market improves and releases more affordable and creative products, my Moscow mule and mojito recipes may serve you in the meantime. Cheers!

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the October 6, 2022 version of the Daily Nexus.

Stephanie Gerson

Stephanie Gerson is a sophomore art history student at UCSB. She is from Palo Alto, California and is passionate about sustainability, fashion, photography and vegan cooking.