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How Mocktails became the Latest Drinks Trend

It wasn’t so long ago that having a break from drinking meant giving the night a miss altogether. But things have changed a lot over the past year or two. It’s goodbye FOMO, hello NOLO! Choosing the mocktail option is trending.

Who would’ve thought that one day you’d swap your favourite Long Island Iced Tea with a no or low alcohol version? Mocktails have seen a rise in popularity recently. People are reassessing their drinking habits and choosing to either reduce their alcohol intake or give up drinking altogether. And the growing trend has created a new category of drinks, called NOLO, meaning “no and low alcohol”. 

If you think the mocktail craze has intensified in 2020-21, you wouldn’t be wrong. As the pandemic put every aspect of our lives under the microscope, people naturally worried more about their health. Changes were made, and slowing or stopping alcohol intake made for better lifestyle choices.

If you are one of the many who’ve decided to ditch the booze and choose equally tasty mocktails instead, keep reading as we delve deep into the realm of these cocktail substitutes.

Popular NoLo spirits and mocktail kits

Besides the benefit of drinking healthier, consumers have been blessed with a vast selection of high-quality, flavour-packed, non-alcoholic options. This is especially true of NoLo gins with an explosion in the category over the past few years. 

Even gin itself has benefited from the demand for a healthier option. Primarily made with botanicals, gin has been the alcoholic spirit to benefit the most because of people’s perceptions of plant based products. For many it’s also the hardest spirit to give up, so it’s lucky that it was also the easiest to replicate, giving NoLo gins a head start on the market.

Low and no alcoholic beer has also been on the market for years, but during the pandemic, sales have increased as much as 8% in some places. And that number continues to grow as people look for healthier choices, even in their beer. 

Of course, let’s not forget about our favourite brown spirits. Even hard liquors such as bourbons and whiskeys now come in NoLo versions. But instead of trying to replicate the taste of popular brown spirits, companies have started creating distinct new flavours.

Brunswick Aces has been distilling non-alcoholic spirits successfully. Their Brunswick Aces Spades Sapiir and Brunswick Aces Hearts Sapiir have become two of the most successful 0% ABV gin substitutes in Australia. Quite impartial to the Aces Hearts ourselves, you’ll find this tasty little beverage starring in The Cocktail Shop’s mocktail kits.

Larger global companies, like Tanqueray, Gordons, and Jack Daniels, are now marketing NoLo spirits too. However, they are not available everywhere in the world just yet.

The mocktail expansion

Before the pandemic, mocktail choices were very limited. But since the rise of the mocktail trend, bars and bartenders have been getting more creative with their drink repertoire. Some of you may remember that at one point, it was a Shirley Temple and nothing else. Slowly things like non-alcoholic margaritas and daiquiris started to appear on menus.

But now that NoLo drinks are becoming more and more popular, the choices in restaurants and bars have expanded considerably. The mocktails are becoming more flavourful, packed with rich flavours from fruit juices, botanicals, coffees, spices, teas, and more. Mocktails have become so good that even mocktail haters started enjoying them. 

There used to be a stigma that came with ordering a mocktail. If you were out at a party and ordered non-alcoholic beer or a virgin margarita, you would’ve raised the suspicion of being pregnant or teased for being “lightweight”. But now, with the trend toward healthier lifestyles, no one really raises an eyebrow anymore. Instead, you may hear “good for you.”

Premium products at a glance 

Premium alcohol used to be something we’d only see at fancy social events like New Years’ celebrations and weddings. However, before mocktails, people started drinking less and drinking better, then premium spirits became the go-to choice in our everyday lives. Now with the mocktail trend, people are seeking out high-quality mocktails and mixers on a daily basis, despite the price tag.

And now that more people are switching to NoLo spirits, companies have needed to quickly adapt to cater to their customers, and they have. The big-name brands and craft companies are all now offering high-end NoLo spirits, with prices to match. Whether it is non-alcoholic champagne or whiskey, you will be able to find it in your local liquor store, bars, and restaurants.

It is not just the liquid in the bottle that has become important; the bottle itself needs to have the right look. Companies spend a considerable amount of money coming up with the right image for their products. And with NoLo spirits gaining popularity, their packaging is now receiving the same attention from brand conscious consumers.

Even the mixes used for mocktails have changed. Before, no one cared if it was cheap soda water or carton juices. But today, consumers want fresh-squeezed juices, high-quality mixers, and not just bargains. All of this has translated into healthier and better-tasting drinks.

The fact that the mocktail has joined the ranks of mixology just goes to show how far the mocktail has come. In days past, you would never have seen a mocktail that had elderflower, watermelon, or basil in them. Now, they have their own spot in a mixology course. So, with all this in mind, you could say that the mocktail has come of age, refining both in quality and quantity. 

Non-alcoholic drinks to make at home

It used to be that when you ordered a mocktail at a restaurant or bar, they were just kind of thrown together, with no technique. But in today’s new world of eating and drinking healthier, mocktails are more popular than ever and are now more balanced, tasty and creative.

Today, having a well-stocked bar at home goes beyond having the right whiskies, vodkas, and gins. It now includes having NoLo spirits and mocktail making kits for mixing great non-alcoholic drinks at home.

Perfect for dinner parties and entertaining, mocktail kits are sure to impress your guests, as opposed to just cracking a non-alcoholic beer or wine. 

The Tom Collins is a cocktail with a refreshing citrus tang. Our Non Collins Mocktail Kit is a twist on the popular classic and it’s sure to hit the spot as a sundowner. In this mocktail kit, you will find:

  • 100ml of Brunswick Aces Hearts Sapiir 
  • 50ml Tangerine Syrup
  • 2 x 180ml Strange Bitter Lemon Soda
  • 3 x Lemon Garnishes

Or, for something not-so-classic but rather fancy, try the Rose Royale Mocktail Kit. This delicious mocktail serves up a sweet, floral flavour that would go great with Sunday brunch. The kit includes:

  • 100ml Brunswick Aces Hearts Sapiir
  • 30ml Rose Syrup
  • 180ml Strange Love Coastal Tonic 
  • 3 x Lemon Garnishes

You don’t need a social occasion to break out one of these mocktail kits. There is nothing quite like relaxing with a refreshing mocktail, whether you’re soaking up a sunny day or enjoying a not so naughty nightcap.

NoLo spirits and mocktails have given us choices. So this year, whether you pause for a cause like Feb Fast or give up booze altogether, non-alcoholic drinks are trending. FOMO is a thing of the past. 

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