With the holidays comes an increased number of social gatherings, and it can often become synonymous with heavier drinking patterns for many people. However, studies are showing that younger generations are starting to lean away from alcohol, opting for non-alcoholic drinks, often called “mocktails,” instead. A recent study shows that only 30% of Gen Z drink weekly compared to 58% of baby boomers.
Enter: Thanksgiving mocktails
This increase in demand for non-alcoholic drinks has gained momentum, bringing with it a slew of zero-proof spirits, beers and wines. Virgin cocktails are no longer the sole option, as mocktail recipes have become increasingly sophisticated and flavorful.
If you’re choosing to abstain from alcohol this autumn, consider trying one of the following Thanksgiving mocktails.
1. For The Plot
Crafted by Kevin Quinn, director of F&B Focused Service, Hilton
“For the Plot is the Tempo [by Hilton] brand take on a spirit-forward classic, made in the vein of an Old Fashioned or the Revolver. This drink was another opportunity to leverage the depth and flavor profile of Bluestone Lane’s robust cold brew coffee. While its origin comes from a classic experience, we wanted to create a modern experience with an interactive element. For that reason, we suggest you take a few sips and then enjoy an accompanying Werther’s candy along with the rest of the drink. Not only are the flavors evocative of a Thanksgiving feast, but this fun twist allows the whole family to enjoy a collaborative experience during the holiday.” —Kevin Quinn
2 oz Bluestone Lane cold brew coffee
1 oz Lyre’s Highland Malt
2-3 drops Lyre’s Italian Orange (dropper bottle)
1/2 oz Butterscotch/Pumpkin syrup blend
- Build in a mixing glass over ice in the order of the ingredient list. (First cold brew, then Lyre’s, then the syrup.)
- Stir to combine with a mixing spoon.
- Strain over ice.
Butterscotch/Pumpkin syrup blend
1 bottle Monin butterscotch syrup
1 bottle Monin pumpkin spice syrup
- Combine equal parts of each syrup into a squeeze bottle or separate container.
- Stir until evenly consistent.
2. Love for Love
Crafted by Bernadette James, sommelier at Stages at One Washington
“The NA beverage I have on my fall drink menu right now that would be perfect for Thanksgiving (or any holiday!) is called Love for Love. It’s a very light, frothy and floral fall spin on an eggnog. My family and I eat apples year-round and have noticed that nothing compares to the crisp, sweet-but-tart flavor of a local fall apple. So for the best fall apple flavor, the base of this drink is an apple cordial with local Honeycrisp apples, lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Chilled chamomile tea complements the apple with floral notes, and the egg gives the whole drink a creamy and cozy texture without being too heavy.” —Bernadette James
2 oz apple and maple cordial
2 oz chilled chamomile tea
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker.
- Shake and pour into a glass.
- Garnish with freshly grated star anise.
Apple and Maple Cordial:
4 large Honeycrisp apples
5 cups of water
- Bring apples to a boil in a pot on the stove and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Take off the heat and let cool.
- Strain and discard the solids.
- Add maple syrup to taste, approximately 3/4 cup – 1 cup. You want the cordial to taste lightly sweetened, allowing the apple flavor to not be overwhelmed by the maple syrup.
3. Pumpkin Pie
Crafted by Ryan Smith Jr., assistant food and beverage manager at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
“Dessert in a glass, the Pumpkin Pie will easily satisfy any after-dinner sweet tooth. The cocktail features the sweet and nutty flavors of Lyre’s White Cane Non-Alcoholic Spirit with bold, fragrant espresso and the inviting warmth of cinnamon. [It’s] an indulgent delight that is smooth and easy to drink with the creamy decadent texture you’d come to expect from a slice of your favorite pumpkin pie.” —Ryan Smith Jr.
1 ½ oz Lyre’s White Cane Non-Alcoholic Spirit
1 oz pumpkin puree
1 oz half-and-half
1 oz espresso
½ oz cinnamon simple syrup
½ oz pumpkin puree-infused syrup
- Chill a martini glass.
- In a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in Lyre’s White Cane, pumpkin puree, half-and-half, espresso, cinnamon syrup and pumpkin puree-infused syrup.
- Shake vigorously.
- Strain the mixture into the chilled martini glass.
- Top the drink with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and a cinnamon stick.
4. Lulada Shandy
Crafted by Eric Syed, Parche
“The Lulada Shandy from Parche is a unique and refreshing choice for Thanksgiving. The combination of lulo puree, lime juice and simple syrup brings a burst of fruity and citrusy flavors, adding a vibrant touch to your celebration. The addition of soda gives it that effervescent kick, creating a light and bubbly experience. Thanksgiving is all about coming together (just like Parche, which roughly translates to ‘a familial-style gathering place for a group of people to come together’), and the Lulada Shandy’s lively mix of flavors symbolizes the diverse and harmonious blend of family and friends around the table. The Estrella NA Beer on top adds a layer of warmth, making it a comforting drink that complements the festive atmosphere of Thanksgiving.” —Eric Syed
1 oz lulo puree
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz soda
~5 oz Estrella NA Beer
- Get a glass.
- Add 1 oz lulo puree.
- Add 1/4 oz lime juice.
- Add 1/4 oz simple syrup.
- Top with Estrella NA Beer.
- Garnish with a dehydrated lime.
5. The Faux-Groni
Crafted by Oscar Davila, bar manager at One Market
“The Faux-Groni’s Wilderton Zero Proof Bittersweet Aperitivo brings autumn fruits and spices to your palate, while All the Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters adds a citrusy zing, perfectly complementing the rich Thanksgiving spread. With each sip, the layers of complexity and depth prepare your taste buds for the diverse flavors of the holiday table. The cocktail’s refreshing profile, enhanced by fresh lemon and soda, acts as a palate cleanser, balancing the hearty Thanksgiving dishes.
The Faux-Groni isn’t just a drink; it’s a cozy embrace of fall in a glass. Its warm, inviting flavors make it the ideal fall drink, enhancing the Thanksgiving experience with every sip. Cheers to a Thanksgiving filled with the perfect blend of warmth, flavor and the essence of autumn!” —Oscar Davila
2 oz Wilderton Zero Proof Bittersweet Aperitivo
3 dashes All the Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters
½ oz fresh lemon
1.5 oz soda
- Combine Wilderton Zero Proof Bittersweet Aperitivo, All the Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters and fresh lemon juice in a mixing tin with ice.
- Stir until chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice and top with soda.
- Garnish with an orange peel.
6. The Remedy
Crafted by Chris Leavitt, bartender and content creator
“Over the last few years, a modern classic known as The Penicillin has gained popularity—a combination of scotch, ginger, honey and lemon. Inspired to have a non-alcoholic version of this to pair with food at the restaurant where I worked at that time, I was enamored by the whiskey alternative by Ritual Zero Proof, which had a great combination of baking spices and charred wood. To pump up the heat, literally, I opted for a hot honey syrup to lean it further into a savory direction. During Thanksgiving, pair this with charcuterie, roasted mixed nuts, deep-fried turkey and sweet potatoes!” —Chris Leavitt
0.33 oz ginger syrup
0.33 oz hot honey syrup
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Alternative
Small pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin, add ice and shake.
- Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with candied ginger on a pick.
1 cup of simple syrup
2 oz of freshly juiced ginger
Stir to combine thoroughly.
Hot Honey Syrup:
1 cup of your preferred spicy honey
0.5 cup hot water
Stir to combine thoroughly.
Photo by Goskova Tatiana.