When COVID lockdowns began, alcohol sales increased compared to usual sales, while food services and beverage sales decreased. As time passed, we saw alcohol consumption going down worldwide as many people stayed home and focused on their health. We started seeing a shift in people’s drinking habits as they stopped going to bars and restaurants.
As the social element of drinking disappeared, some people resorted to drinking more at home in the safety of their “bubble,” contributing to the significant drop in alcohol sales in bars and restaurants.
Through it all, there has been a movement towards less alcohol consumption. Some experts believe that the low- and no-alcohol drive will continue to grow. We may be seeing a new normal that includes less alcohol, and we’re seeing breweries and distributors offering more mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
Are Non-Alcoholic Beverages on the Rise?
According to the 2020 Cocktail Trends Report, low- to no-alcoholic beverages are the number one trend and have seen more Google searches than the previous year.
Bartenders and restaurants are increasingly offering tasty mocktails for those who want to enjoy the social aspect of community without imbibing too much alcohol. Many people are finding a new, leisurely approach to drinking.
Years ago, your options were more limited, and being sober amongst a group of drinkers was not very common. Since COVID, we are seeing numerous distilleries manufacture no-spirit batches, experiment with non-alcoholic wine, and develop new experimental drinks that mimic cocktails as consumers make more mindful decisions regarding their health.
All over the world, low to no alcohol consumption is projected to increase by 34%. Many bars adapt to this global shift by updating their menus to provide alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.
While alcohol sales are still on the rise, non-alcoholic sales are starting to catch up.
A Trend Towards Mocktails & Alcohol-Free Alternatives
Traditionally, those who wanted to remain sober would meet at coffee shops or order a simple seltzer at a bar. These days, many major cities have opened up a space for non-alcoholic events and meeting spaces.
In the book “Quit Like a Woman” by Holly Whitaker, we explore the pervasiveness of alcohol culture and why it can be so challenging to step into sobriety. With the growing trends towards mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, many consumers keep the culture just without the alcohol.
Pregnant, sober, or health-conscious consumers can get a delicious and inspired drink at lunch or dinner without having to stay at home or feeling like outsiders at an event.
As we progress into 2022, it seems apparent that the non-alcoholic movement is growing among bars and restaurants, which is an excellent area for establishments to explore and keep stocked.
Non-Alcoholic Drink & Mocktail Recipes to Try
Luckily, there are loads of fantastic mocktail recipes to try and make your. For starters, you can try this easy mocktail recipe created by Claire Thomas of The Kitchy Kitchen, Spicy Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca.
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 cups watermelon (rind removed), seeded and chopped
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- .25 cup mint leaves
- .5 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- Ice cubes or crushed ice (optional)
What could taste better on a warm, summer day? Another easy recipe to follow is the Virgin Margarita Mocktail from Make Mine a Mocktail. What could taste better on a warm, summer day?
- Lime juice
- Lemon juice
- Orange juice
- Simple syrup
- Kosher salt, for rimming glass
- Lime wheels, for garnish
The Paleo Blueberry Lime Mocktail is a delicious, easy summer drink to make, try, and taste. Get the entire mocktail recipe from The Bettered Blondie.
- 1 cup Blueberries fresh or frozen
- 2 Tbls Honey
- 1 Tbls Water
- 4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 4 leaves Fresh Mint
- 6 oz Berry Sparkling Water or your preferred flavor
- 1 Lime sliced into rounds
Now to satisfy those who like the colder months, we give you the Christmas Mocktail. This delicious and festive mocktail is perfect for both adults and kids to drink at dinner on Christmas day. Get this recipe from Lauren’s Latest.
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- sprite or sparkling water (optional)
- sugar for glass rim
If you are looking for a delicious mocktail that is super easy to try to make, then look no further than the recipe for The Ginger Grapefruit Mocktail from Betty Crocker.
- 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed red or pink grapefruit juice
- 3/4 cup cold ginger beer
- 1 Grapefruit wedge
If you like a good Moscow Mule, why not try its virgin mocktail cousin – the Mango Mule? This delicious drink is also relatively easy to make and will get your non drinker patrons coming back for more. You can get this drink recipe from Danielle Walker of Against All Grain.
- 4-5 slices of cucumber
- 1 oz honey syrup
- 1.5 oz mango puree
- 1.5 oz fresh lime juice
- 1.5 oz ginger beer
Who doesn’t like lemonade? While lemonade alone is an excellent choice for those who don’t drink alcohol, some may want a more adult drink, like the Ginger Lemon Mocktail. From Always Use Butter, this refreshing and satisfying mocktail is another grown-up, virgin drink that is easy to make.
- Soda water – any sparkling water will do
- Ginger shot/juice
- Lemon – needs to be fresh – bottled juice won’t do
- Fresh ginger
We have provided a tiny fraction of the mocktail and non alcoholic drink recipes that are available. The key is picking the right mocktail recipes for your restaurant. If you need help with your beverage menu, Synergy is here. We’ve been working with restaurants, large and small, for over 33 years. Our beverage experts can help you develop an inventive list of mocktails with foolproof recipes to craft the perfect mocktail and non-alcoholic drink. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your summer mocktail menu and cater to this emerging and growing segment of consumers.