Fruity summer mocktail (Photo by Rirri on Unsplash)

Elevating summer refreshment to a delightful level, the world of mocktails offers a tantalizing array of alcohol-free concoctions that embody the vibrant essence of the season. Bursting with tropical flavors, these drinks transport taste buds to a sun-soaked beach with crisp effervescence and rejuvenating herbal notes, ensuring a lively and refreshing summer sipping experience.If you’re looking to expand your beverage horizons to include the best summer mocktails at home, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re hoping to cut back, live an alcohol-free life, expecting a baby or just looking to get a bit healthier– the mocktail scene has come a long way since the days of boring cranberry seltzers. A recent study found that many “mindful drinking” and non-alcoholic options are growing in popularity among wellness-focused Americans. Nearly half of those surveyed in the study said they’d be interested in becoming more aware of why and how much alcohol they drink. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed who regularly consume alcohol said they were willing to commit to a “dry” timeframe this year — a period in refraining from drinking alcohol as a personal challenge, like “Dry January” or “Dry July” or “Sober October.” 

Several studies throughout the decades have pointed to the risks of excess drinking, with recent research even suggesting that moderate drinking can lead to health deterioration such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, researchers from the University of Oxford found that consuming just seven units of alcohol a week – half the recommended maximum – fuels iron accumulation in the brain. They add that alcohol suppresses a hormone that controls the body’s absorption of the mineral, causing poorer brain performance.

While the market is flooded with branded alcohol-free spirits and wines, it’s time to incorporate the fancy ingredients to get started on your mocktail journey. After searching through ten expert sites, we’ve compiled a list of the five best summer mocktails to enjoy under the sun. Let us know your favorite drinks in the comments below. Happy guilt-free drinking!

Cocktails on a bar
Mixed drinks (Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash)

The List: Best Summer Mocktails, Per Beverage Experts

1. Watermelon Citrus Juice 

Nothing says summer quite like the hydrating and refreshing mix of watermelon and crisp, tangy citrus juice“Treat this like you would an Arnold Palmer, combining half watermelon juice and half lemonade. Pro move: Freeze watermelon chunks to use instead of ice cubes. As they thaw, your drink doesn’t get watered down—and you have a snack for later,” recommends Delish.

Watermelon citrus mocktail
Watermelon citrus mocktail (Photo by Pori He on Unsplash)

If you’re looking for some variations or only have limes on your hand, feel free to turn it into a booze-free Watermelon Margarita. “You don’t need tequila to make this fun twist on a margarita! The fresh lime juice and refreshing watermelon give it all the sweet-tart flavor it needs,” The Pioneer Woman writes.

For those looking to spice things up even a bit more, try a salted watermelon juice variation, which adds an incredible contrast in flavors for a sure-to-be showstopper at your next barbecue. “This recipe is a genius way to use up the second half of that enormous summer watermelon you’ve been snacking on (or storing in your freezer!). There is truly nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of salted watermelon juice,” adds Bon Appetit.

2. Sparkling Pineapple & Ginger Cooler 

Pineapple is another beloved fruit that will transport you from your living room straight to the beach. Combining its vibrant tropical flavor with sparkling water, ginger soda, or whatever you have on hand is a great way to take your mocktail game to the next level. “The sweetness of the fruit is balanced with just a bit of spicy ginger beer and tart lime juice,” says Food Network.

Tropical pineapple mocktail
Tropical pineapple mocktail (Photo by Sol Talamantes on Unsplash)

For those of you missing your Spicy Margaritas, feel free to add some heat with the drool-worthy addition of hot peppers. “If you are a chile fan, you can sub in serranos or jalapeños for the chiles de árbol. You will get the flavor of the chile as opposed to just heat,” advises Bon Appetit.

And whether you’re making this beverage or not, ginger beer is a great staple to have on hand. “Despite the name, ginger beer doesn’t actually contain any beer. It’s more like ginger ale but with a spicy kick. It’s a nice option for mocktails especially when paired with a sweet pineapple juice,” adds The Pioneer Woman.

3. Hibiscus Refresher

With a gorgeous bright color and a dynamic flavor, Hibiscus tea is a delicious tool to add to your mocktail portfolio. “Hibiscus has a fruity, tart flavor and a bright red color. The sugar in this tea recipe helps balance out the tartness of the flowers, but it can be left out, or reduced if desired. Additional flavorings can easily be added to this recipe if you like,” says The Spruce Eats.

Iced hibiscus tea
Iced hibiscus tea (Photo by yeoul Shin on Unsplash)

Try out a variety of spices to give the mocktail a cozier feel. “Truth be told, it’s equally delicious hot or cold. You’ve got options!” writes Bon Appetit.

If you prefer to go the lighter, try adding a splash of sparkling water or some citrus juice for the perfect seasonal cool-down. “It’s lightly sweetened and perfect for enjoying on a warm day,” adds The Pioneer Woman.

4. Citrus Tonic

Using tonic as the base of your mocktail is a great way to add flavor and it blends seamlessly with other cocktail ingredients. “Robust rosemary, crisp cool cucumber, and tart lemon come together in this vibrant booze-free take on the gin and tonic. Fever-Tree Tonic Water is infused with botanical oils for an added layer of complex aromatics. No gin needed!” writes a Martha Stewart reviewer.

Mocktail with cucumber garnish
Mocktail with cucumber garnish (Photo by Chris Reyem on Unsplash)

For another take on the booze-free favorite, try adding blood orange juice and vanilla to the mix, a wonderful concoction that will impress even the best of mixologists. “Blood oranges give this sparkling drink its gem-toned color and tart flavor,” says The Pioneer Woman.

Thanks to its bitter taste, tonic is a particularly great choice for those trying to cut back on drinking due to its similar profile to traditional cocktails. “Upon taking a sip you’ll discover that the pairing is very cohesive plus it has a lot of depth,” claims The Zero Proof.

5. Lemonade 

Whether it’s frozen, packed with fresh herbs, or hit with a bit of spice– food experts agree that as simple as lemonade might sound, it’s one of the greatest alcohol-free drinks of all time. If you’re opting for a classic version of the drink, try indulging in frozen lemonade. 

Lemonade mocktails infused with different fruits
Lemonade mocktails infused with different fruits (Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn on Unsplash)

“Lemonade is a must-have come summer. But if you want to take it one step further, try this frozen lemonade instead! It’s cold, refreshing, and alcohol-free,” mentions The Pioneer Woman.

Looking for something a bit more diverse? Strawberry Lemonade, also known as something you might challenge someone to “name a more iconic duo” about, is a great option as well. 

“Freshly squeezed lemons team up with juicy strawberries for the perfect summer drink. It’s tart, sweet, and all around refreshing. Be sure to strain the strawberry puree as you’ll get rid of seeds and excess pulp!” adds Delish.

Add some cucumber juice or kiwi juice for a lighter twist. No matter which direction you take it, there’s no way to go wrong.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

About Meaghan Babaker

Meaghan Babaker is a journalist and freelance writer previously based out of New York City while working for CBS New York, CBS Local and MSNBC. After moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 2016, she went on to write for Digital Luxury Group, The Travel Corporation and other international publications before joining the editorial team at StudyFinds.

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