When I went out to fancy dinners with my parents they would always order a Shirley Temple for me. If they were having a drink in a fancy glass so was I!
But, back when I was an 8 year old, there wasn't such a thing as a mocktail. I remember a virgin Daiquiri or virgin Pina Colada. I do like the word mocktail better than the word virgin, when describing a drink without alcohol. Now, Julia Momose wants to change the word mocktails and call them spiritfrees.
Whatever they are called, it's been great to see the trend of non-alcoholic beverages breaking into the marketplace. Even more, I like that these alcohol free beverages actually taste good! Remember "near beer" and how not so great it tasted? The history of mocktails has caused the taste of beverages to get better. Last week I tried Lagunitas Hop Hoppy Refresher. It has a refreshing hoppy taste, is alcohol free and has zero calories. I picked up a 4 pack at Trader Joes and will be going back to stock up on more.
A mocktail is an imitation of a cocktail, because it has everything that gives a cocktail its satisfying flavor without the use of any alcohol. Instead, a mocktail gets its flavor from mixtures of infused waters, juices, sodas, and other exciting ingredients. Done with thought and in the correct ratios, some mocktails can even mimic your favorite alcohol. Lagunitas sure mimics a light IPA beer and our Escape Mocktails mimic popular cocktails and spirits.
Back to that Shirley Temple, the drink that was probably the first popular mocktail.
As disappointing as it might be, there’s not exactly a definitive start to the history of mocktails. It’s likely that humans have been creating non-alcoholic counterparts since the alcoholic versions were invented—and drinking water was safe. Merriam-Webster says the word was used in 1916. That being said, the first perhaps popularized mocktail that went by that term is likely the Shirley Temple.
Many different locations claim to have created the Shirley Temple mocktail when the starlet of the same name stopped through their establishment. However, according to aninterview with NPR, Shirley Temple Black admitted that the mocktail was “created in the 1930s by the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, and [she] had nothing to do with it.”
To be clear, not all mocktails taste like sweet Shirley Temples. Many restaurants, bars, and beverage lines are starting to offer healthier mocktails as drink alternatives. These tasty beverages bring in a depth of flavor and sophistication that previously didn’t exist. In other words, the right mocktail can leave you sober and delight your taste buds.
Why do we love mocktails?
Alcohol isn’t for everyone all the time. However, just because something doesn’t contain alcohol as an ingredient shouldn’t mean its consumers have to sacrifice quality or experience. If you’re the designated driver, a momma-on-duty, or practicing sobriety you deserve to still feel like an adult with a classy cocktail. Grabbing a mocktail is not only responsible, it’s also a healthier choice for your body. Try a mocktail, and feel confident about your choices!
However the history of mocktails progresses, we are happy to be adding some bottles to your shelf.