Mocktails, which gained fame with the Dry January movement, have gone mainstream—partly because Americans are drinking less alcohol, according to a recent Gallup Poll. The average number of weekly drinks fell from 4.8 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2021. Meanwhile, Gen Z is drinking about 20 percent less alcohol per capita than millennials did at their age, according to a Berenberg Research report. As a result, savvy couples feature mocktails at the reception. Here’s how you can make an impression with your signature mocktail.
FOLLOW THE SEASONS
Since mocktails often include fruit juices, find recipes that reflect the time of year. Cranberry, for instance, is popular in fall and winter. Tip: Choose white cranberry to prevent spills from staining carpets, suggests Wilmington event manager Bryan Nye, who works with private chefs and caterers. While beverages with watermelon juice were hot last summer, for fall he pairs pear juice and cardamom.
USE FLAVORED SIMPLE SYRUP
Many of today’s trendy cocktails start with a simple syrup, usually equal parts water and sugar. However, you can infuse them with herbs, spices and fruits, such as blueberry, black cherry, peach, raspberry and apple, Nye says. Fresh ingredients go down best. And, because many people drink mocktails to avoid a high-calorie beverage, watch the sugar. For extra sweetness, try flavored seltzers.
OFFER NONALCOHOLIC SANGRIA
Nye is fond of sangria, and there is a bevy of recipes on the web. Ingredients include a variety of fruit, fruit juices and sparkling water or lemon-lime soda.
SET UP A STATION
A table with ice, fruit juices, flavored seltzer, fruit, ginger beer and labeled simple syrups let guests have it their way—without getting heavy-handed with the liquor.
Canned cocktails keep improving, and the same is true for nonalcoholic versions, including Mixoloshe, Mingle Mocktails and Mocktail Club. Keep cans behind the bar for the bartenders to pour, or, if your wedding is casual, place them in ice buckets near the regular bar service.