Make that Mocktail!
8 Delicious Virgin Cocktail Recipes

Make that Mocktail

South Africa has just emerged from a terrible, terrible season. The dry season: a season of prohibition. But if there’s one thing living without booze has taught us, it’s that our bodies feel better and healthier when we live cleanly. So if you wanted to remain on the bandwagon, here are eight delicious ways you can happily do that (without peer pressure from your friends).

1. The Mango Mule

What you need:
4-5 Slices of cucumber
30 ml Honey syrup
45 ml Mango puree
45 ml Fresh lime juice
45 ml Ginger beer
Crushed ice

How to make your mango mule: Muddle cucumber and honey syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the mango puree and lime juice and shake with ice vigorously. Once your ingredients are thoroughly blended, strain your delicious mocktail into a copper mug for the perfect “Moscow Mule” aesthetic, top up with ginger beer, stir, and savour!

2. Virgin Cucumber Gimlet

Virgin Cucumber Gimlet

What you need:
45 ml Club soda
4-5 Slices of muddled* cucumber
30 ml Fresh lime juice
30 ml Simple syrup

How to make your virgin cucumber gimlet: Super simple - combine all the ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Serve over crushed ice in a glass of your choice and garnish with lime and/or a rolled slice of cucumber. Refreshing!

* “Muddling” is the process of extracting the essence of an ingredient, without actually adding it to your cocktail. You achieve this by throwing cucumber into your cocktail shaker and shaking it up with the rest of your ingredients. This partially pulverises the cucumber, lending its clean, mild flavour to the resultant mocktail. You can also do this with mint, basil, and other herbs and botanicals.

3. Tahitian Coffee (serves 2)

Tahitian Coffee
Image source:

What you need:
60 ml Lime juice
60 g Orange
30 ml Simple syrup
30 ml Passion fruit puree
60 ml Guava puree
60 ml Cold brew concentrate
90 ml Honey syrup*
450 g Ice

How to make your Tahitian Coffee: Like a mad scientist, throw all the ingredients, including ice, into a blender and process until the mixture attains the texture of a slushy. Then, divide between two large glasses and garnish with orchard flowers (if you’re feeling fancy).

*How do you make honey syrup? Mix three parts honey to one part hot water by weight. Shake and stir until syrup reaches uniform dilution. Keep refrigerated.

4. Mojito Mocktail

Mojito Mocktail

What you need:
1 Tbsp sugar
Handful of mint
3 x Limes, juiced
Soda water

How to make your mojito mocktail: Using a pestle and mortar (or a small bowl and the end of a rolling pin), muddle the sugar with the mint leaves. Then, throw a handful of crushed ice into two tall glasses and divide the lime juice between them, together with the mint and sugar mix. Finally, add a straw and top up with soda water.

5. Negroni Mocktail

What you need:
½ Grapefruit (approximately 125 g)
2 x Slices orange
125 g Caster sugar
3 x Cardamom pods, lightly crushed
A pinch of coriander seeds
A few drops red food colouring
25 ml White grape juice

How to make your Negroni mocktail: Chop the grapefruit into small chunks and put them into a saucepan along with the orange slice, sugar, 125 ml water, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. Heat the mixture and simmer for ± 5 minutes, crushing the fruit pieces with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. Once the fruit has softened, take it off the heat and leave to cool. If you like, add a splash of red food colouring. Once the syrup mixture has cooled, strain, fill a tumbler with ice and pour in 25 ml of it. Add the grape juice and 25 ml of cold water, and stir. Garnish with a slice of orange.

6. Pear and Rose Punch

Pear and Rose Punch

What you need:
1 Litre of pear juice
1 Vanilla pod
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar
4 Cardamom pods
Few slices of root ginger
25 ml Raw apple cider vinegar
½ Tsp rosewater
250 ml sparkling water

For the garnish: rosemary sprigs, thyme, sliced pear, frozen redcurrants

How to make your pear and rose punch: Pour the pear juice into a large pan. Add the vanilla pod, golden caster sugar, cardamom pods, and root ginger, and bring to a simmer. Leave to cool completely, then strain into a punch bowl or jug.
Add the raw apple cider vinegar, rosewater, and sparkling water. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, thyme, sliced red pear and a handful of frozen redcurrants. Add ice and serve!

7. Virgin Watermelon Margarita

Virgin Watermelon Margarita
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What you need:
1 Medium seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
5 Cups of fresh lime juice
4 Tsp agave
5 Tbsp sparking water

How to make your virgin watermelon margarita: In a blender, puree enough watermelon chunks to make 4 cups of puree. Add lime juice and agave and mix again. Pour into four cups and top up with sparkling water. Cheers!

8. Gin-free G&T

What you need:
5 Cardamom pods
½ Cucumber
1 Chamomile teabag
½ Bunch mint leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 Strip lemon zest
5 Cloves
½ Bunch rosemary
Tonic water
A few pomegranate seeds for garnish

How to make your gin-free G&T: Bruise the cardamom pods and slice the cucumber. Put them both in a large jug and add the chamomile teabag, mint leaves, lemon zest, cloves, and rosemary. Top up with 500 ml cold water. Leave to infuse in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours. To serve, strain the infused water and pour 50 ml of it into each glass. Top up with tonic water and lots of ice. Garnish each one with a few more mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.