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The Emergence of Mocktails

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April 27, 2023

Cutting back on alcohol isn’t a new concept. In the past, customers chose a soda, coffee, or non-alcoholic beer to replace a more potent drink. However, modern customers are looking for innovative options that pay attention to flavor profiles and beverage trends. Elevated, alcohol-free drinks, known as mocktails, are taking center stage as more and more people embrace a sober-conscious lifestyle. In fact, 58 percent of consumers said they prefer non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks over traditional cocktails.

So, what is a mocktail and why are they essential for your beverage program? We answer those questions and more below.

What is a Mocktail?

In simple terms, mocktails or virgin drinks, are cocktails prepared without any alcoholic component. They are designed to mimic a cocktail, offering similar ingredients and taste, just without the booze. Interestingly, the term mocktail was initially coined in 1916. During prohibition, establishments worked on developing liquor-free drinks. The “Virgin Mary,” an alcohol-free version of Bloody Mary, was one of the most popular options at the time. 

The desire for alcohol-free cocktails has had a significant resurgence in recent years. In a recent Nielsen report, 22 percent of consumers in 2021 planned to reduce their alcohol intake. 34 percent cited a focus on health and wellness as their main reason. Younger generations, in particular, are driving mocktail trends. Both Millennials and Gen Z are interested in healthy lifestyles and conscious consumption, which align with reduced alcohol intake. In fact, 52 percent of Millennials increased their mocktail and alcohol-free consumption in 2020.

Are Mocktail Drinks Here to Stay?

As restaurant owners know, not all food and beverage trends stick around forever. That’s why it’s important to evaluate what trends will likely prove beneficial for maximizing profits. In terms of virgin drinks, there will always be a demand. Restaurants will always have customers with health concerns, 100 percent sober lifestyles, and more requiring zero-proof options.

However, mocktails and alcohol-free beverage options are expected to grow in the coming years. Some studies suggest that the non-alcoholic beverage market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.19 percent, reaching $1732.7 billion by 2028.

Do You Need High-End Mocktails for Your Restaurant?

Having zero-proof options is always smart for establishments to have on hand. However, today’s consumers seek bold flavors and innovative combinations in their food and beverages. Developing unique mocktails that utilize impressive ingredients can help capture new customers and boost sales.

Mocktails are found on only 0.8 percent of menus in the U.S. Capitalizing on the trend before the market is saturated, is a savvy way to draw customers to your door and let your beverage program stand out.

Taking Simple Mocktails to the Next Level

Every well-rounded bar menu offers classics—from margaritas to bloody marys, martinis to tom collins. The same can be true for mocktail options. Having virgin versions of standard cocktails is a good idea. However, wowing your diners with inventive mocktails can go the extra mile and increase your customer base. Here are a few ways to pump up the flavor and presentation for your non-alcoholic menu.

Get Creative with Syrups: Monin syrups make great flavoring agents for all types of mocktails. Switch up a traditional Shirley Temple by introducing a hint of rose syrup. Turn regular lemonade into something spectacular with a splash of lavender, and top with soda water for some fizz. 

Layer Citrus Flavors: Virgin margaritas are big hits. Enhance the traditional sweet and sour flavors by adding more hints of citrus like tangerine, blood orange, and grapefruit.

Any successful mocktail menu aims to experiment with ingredients and present high-end flavors. Don’t be afraid to take classic cocktail ideas and put your mocktail spin on them.

Enhance Your Mocktail Menu with Beverages from US Foods CHEF’STORE

Looking to expand your mocktail menus with high-quality beverages and ingredients? Look no further than CHEF’STORE. You’ll find garnish essentials, mixers, herbs, and other non-alcoholic drinks, to boost your beverage menu.

Visit one of our many locations to discover what we have in store. We also offer third-party delivery so you can get our exceptional products delivered directly to you.

Popular Mocktail Supplies at CHEF’STORE

Pick up these popular cocktail and mocktail supplies and garnishes at your local CHEF’STORE location:

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