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What’s The Difference Between Cocktail And Mocktail?

Sure, you’re probably wondering why we need to write an entire blog on the difference between cocktails and mocktails, and yeah sure, you’d be correct in thinking that the only difference is that one contains alcohol, and the other doesn’t - but (surprisingly to us all) you’d be kinda wrong.

Does It Contain Alcohol?

Essentially yes, the difference is that a cocktail contains alcohol spirits and a mocktail doesn’t contain any alcohol at all; however, there’s a real genuine art to making a mocktail taste as delicious as a cocktail. As mocktails don’t contain alcohol, if they aren’t mixed with a bit of creativity and a passion for drinks that Mixologists have, then they can resemble a really lacklustre smoothie, and we have enough of those after our SoulCycle sessions, we don’t need any more of those in our lives!


How To Make A Mocktail

To create a mocktail, which almost tricks your brain into thinking it’s consuming alcohol but without the post-drinking regret, a lot of Mixologists rely on the use of carbonated water and lime. The bubbles (carbonation, if you want to be technical) make the brain believe that it’s drinking alcohol, as a carbonated water and lime combo is something that you’d usually only have when ordinarily drinking alcohol. Here’s a trick for you, next time you’re out at a bar, order a soda water and lime, and tell yourself (and others if you choose to) that you’re drinking champagne, and watch how easily your brain fools itself for a minute.


Relying on the carbonation in drinks is one trick; however, this only lasts for so long and is almost viewed as a lazy way of creating mocktails, as you tend to miss the “burning” kick in the back of your throat, which only comes from a strong and delicious alcoholic cocktail. At this point, expert Mixologists have to rely on their skills to identify which herbs, spices and fruits can be used together, to recreate this kick. 

Say for example, you were out for the Christmas holidays and wanted to recreate our Maple Apple Toddy cocktail, a skilled Mixologist would likely increase all of the non alcoholic flavors in order to divert the attention away from the lack of alcohol. Within the Maple Apple Toddy mix, the Mixologist would increase the strength of the Apple juice and maple syrup, ideally having let this marinate together if it has been pre-prepared, so that when a slightly increased amount of cinnamon is introduced into the mixture, this all works together to provide that familiar “kick” that we’re looking for. You can try this for yourself by adding store bought apple juice into a pan, heating it up and adding cinnamon, cloves and holiday spices; you’ll notice that your brain will reminisce about previous times where the drink has contained alcohol and you’ll likely not notice any difference at all.


Another example would be if we were to recreate our Rum Punch. We always find that it’s much easier to recreate a fruity, coconut cocktail, as the brain focuses on the multiple flavours that are happening all at once, and again, it will revert back to a time when you’ve tasted rum within this kind of combination. By increasing the strength of the pineapple juice and using a full fat coconut cream alongside coconut milk, this can really help to pull out the flavour of the ingredients and you won’t notice that the rum is missing. 

Alternatively, if you really miss the taste of rum within your cocktails, you can recreate this using Molasses; simply mix boiling water, raisins, butter, Molasses and a pinch of salt to a bowl, submerge a traditional black tea bag into the mixture for 5 minutes, remove this and then allow the mixture to rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Strain this mixture after an hour and you can then use this in place of Dark Rum, it’s genuinely delicious!


Why Drink Mocktails Not Cocktails

There’s so many reasons why you may want to choose mocktails instead of cocktails, from health reasons to just having a slight detox during the week, and while we do want you to drink responsibly and look after yourselves, we’d still love to recommend our Full Bar collection, for the evenings where you aren’t being a little more strict with your alcohol intake.