Hottest Beverage Trend: Mocktails and Low-Alcohol Alternatives

When we think of celebrating, we automatically picture confetti, streamers, and alcoholic beverages: champagne corks popping, beer mugs overflowing, or fruit-trimmed cocktails fizzing.

Or we envision corporate conferences, with the obligatory cocktail hour before dinner, a time to unwind after an intense day of presentations, a chance to mingle and juggle the hors d’oeuvres and a gin and tonic while shaking hands.

That was then; “sober curious” is now. That movement arose even before the pandemic. Adherents don’t totally abstain from alcohol, but simply refrain from mindlessly picking up a drink without thinking.

Mindful imbibing

It was sparked by the increasing emphasis on health and wellness, especially among the younger crowd. The pandemic accelerated this trend.

They’re not necessarily teetotalers, but are looking for alternatives: perhaps they’re pregnant, or on medication, or they worry about driving home after the event, or they’re just not in the mood for alcohol.

But they still want a taste sensation that can compete with the usual cocktails.

So whether you’re planning an anniversary party, a sales meeting, or a back-to-school bash, you’ll want to offer the non-drinkers some options besides Perrier or diet soda.

“As an event planner, your role is to offer a memorable or elevated experience for every guest throughout the entirety of an experience,” Jesse Hawkins, owner of the Mocktail Project, told Meetings Today.

Tasty alternatives

One on-trend solution? Mocktails.

These drinks offer layered flavors much like traditional cocktails but without the alcohol. Components are typically the same as regular drinks, such as seltzer, fruit juices, especially citrus and pineapple, and so forth. But these days, bartenders as well as at-home mixologists are branching out, experimenting with adding herbs, flowers, matcha, almond, lemongrass, and even espresso and jalapeno mocktails.

You can find several online tutorials on the art of mocktails, or hire a bartender for your event who specializes in mocktails.

Better ‘beer’

The zero-alcohol options from such major companies as Heineken, AB InBev, and Molson Coors, or more niche start-ups such as Athletic Brewing and Seedlip—which offer high-quality non-alcohol beer and spirits—provide another attractive alternative.

“For a long time you had ‘near beer,’ which was kind of a joke,” Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest, told CNN Business.

“People would be discreet about drinking them. And now that’s completely changed,” he said.

Whatever type of event you’re planning, be sure to check out Miami’s most sought-after venue, the Historic Alfred I. duPont Building in downtown Miami.