Raise a (Nonalcoholic) Glass

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MOCKTAILS LET PARTYGOERS ABSTAIN WITHOUT MISSING OUT

Want to cut down on your drinking in the new year? Many people are embracing the idea of a “Dry January” or “Sober Spring,” choosing to pass on booze either for health reasons — like medications that don’t mix well with alcohol or if they’re pregnant, for example — or to see life a little clearer, without so-called beer goggles. But your designated driver should have more options during a night out than a virgin bloody mary or sparkling water — and more and more restaurants and bars are happy to oblige.

And these aren’t your basic Shirley Temple — ginger ale with a splash of grenadine and topped with a maraschino cherry — or the “mockmosa” or “nojito.” Local mixologists are whipping up creative mocktails that ensure the non-drinker can still be the life of the party.

The basic ingredients for a successful mocktail include sparking or mineral water, soft drinks, freshly squeezed juice, and a dazzling garnish. Mocktails have the benefit of generally being lower in calories since the alcohol is not in there to boost the calories. And because they’re alcohol-free, they can be enjoyed at any time of day or night, and can add a fun splash of color to any gathering ­— even breakfast or brunch.

Jeff Mix at Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte on Hilton Head Island has mastered the art of mocktails, coming up with delicious concoctions that can stand shoulder to shoulder with their cocktail compatriots. And he should know: Voters named him Hilton Head Island’s Best Bartender in Hilton Head Monthly’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

“At Charlie’s, most customers want a drink to taste close to a real drink,” Mix said. “We have two that a lot of folks enjoy: one is a virgin Mango Tango. It usually is mango vodka, mango purée, a splash of pineapple juice and a splash of key lime juice. We just leave vodka out and add more purée. It’s shaken over ice and served up in a martini glass. Another is a virgin Hurricane Haven: usually it’s RumHaven coconut rum, a splash of orange juice, a splash of pineapple juice, a splash of cranberry juice and topped with a little Sprite. We’re pretty flexible, so if they have a favorite we’ll try our best to make it or together we can create a new one.”

Blood Orange & Coconut Cream Lollipop Mocktail

By Carrie Hirsch

Carries mocktailThis lollypop garnish pays homage to Shirley Temple, whose signature song is “On the Good Ship Lollipop.”

Makes: 1 mocktail

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons chilled coconut milk
2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups blood orange soda
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
Honey
Lime and orange zest, for garnish
1 lollipop stick, for garnish or to eat the whipped cream

Whip the heavy cream until peaks form and then whisk in powdered sugar and coconut milk.

Coat the rim of a 16-ounce glass with honey, and then dip the rim into the toasted coconut flakes so they stick to the honey. Pour blood orange soda, lime juice and orange juice into the glass and stir once. Top with whipped coconut cream and garnish with zest and a lollipop stick.