An Expert Explains What You Need On Hand For Perfect Dry January Mocktails

The beginning of the year is upon us, giving millions an excuse to start fresh with their goals. According to Discover Healthy Habits, many of these goals are health related; in 2020, 43% of Americans opted to eat healthier compared to 44% of Polish citizens and 44% of United Kingdom residents. The numbers shifted in 2022, with only 23% wishing to eat healthier and 20% planning to lose weight.

Another trend comes in the form of dry January, a decision to cut alcohol from one's diet for the first month of the year (per CGA). In 2022, 35% of United States residents decided to partake, with 74% reporting that they successfully completed the month alcohol-free. One downside to this commitment is making the conscious decision to stick with it when your friends invite you out. That's where mocktails come into play. According to Ritual Zero Proof, mocktails can usually be ordered from bars and they're designed to mimic the flavor of a cocktail without any alcohol. They aren't always done correctly, though, which is why we spoke to an expert who detailed the best practices to create a perfect virgin creation.

Simple syrup is a must have

If you're looking to socialize without the side effects, mocktails, which are alcohol-free versions of traditional cocktails, can be a great choice. In an interview with Mashed, Stayin' Gold Cocktails' Founder Rosie Ruiz shared her tips to ensure these beverages are up to par. When asked what ingredients are essential for crafting a mocktail, she offered a great beginner's list, including lime and lemon juice, sparkling water (flavored and non-flavored), simple syrup, agave, honey, fresh fruits, and non-alcoholic beer. "I chose those ingredients because they are the first building blocks to making any drink," she explains. "Just like flour, eggs, and sugar are essential to making a cake." The most important, however, is simple syrup because it can be mixed with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices for flavor.

When asked what not-so-traditional ingredient bartenders should add to mocktails, she recommended smoke. "Using a smoker or infuser like Stundenglass adds dimension to many mocktails. It can be used to flavor mocktails like an [non-alcoholic] old fashioned, apple cider mule and many others," she said.

An acclaimed bartender out of Los Angeles, Rosie Ruiz is the president of Stayin' Gold Cocktails. The company caters events and parties by delivering ready-to-drink cocktails from its extensive list of specialties. The brand is also responsible for readying and dismantling the bar after service. Located in Los Angeles, it can only cater parties within 30 miles of its home city.