National Mocktail Week is celebrated during the second week of January and takes place from January 12 to 18 this year. While their reasons for choosing these beverages vary, the fact remains — mocktails are delicious and thirst-quenching too. National Mocktail Week recognizes the growing number of Americans who choose non-alcoholic drinks over traditional options. This holiday celebrates the favorite alcohol alternative and gives us a chance to try out new mocktails — or maybe even concoct our own recipe!
History of National Mocktail Week
We don’t have a written record of when, exactly, mocktails came onto the beverage scene. All we can assume is that they followed the invention of cocktails, delighting teetotalers and non-alcoholic drink-loving people everywhere. They also seemed to have not been called mocktails at all but were named ‘temperance drinks’ or ‘coolers,’ as per what we’ve seen in old cocktail recipes. The most popular of these temperance drinks seemed to have been lemonade, and quite a few older news articles mentioned a strong lemonade presence in bars.
There was even a 1981 book, “The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them,” containing around 16 lemonade recipes, and many of them were non-alcoholic. Gradually, the name changed to what it is now. Then came the Prohibition, and non-alcoholic drinks received a facelift in the interest of enticing more customers. Bartenders began attempting to create non-alcoholic versions of cocktails; they would experiment and invent incredible concoctions to keep their lights on. The post-Prohibition tale changed the mocktail’s history again.
All the innovations that brought out the best non-alcoholic beverages took a backseat to the renewed interest in alcoholic drinks. Cocktail books published after 1933 — like “The Mr. Boston series” and “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” by David A. Embury — spoke about different types of lemonades but not much else. Drinks without alcohol were limited, and interest in them seemed to wane. Popular non-alcoholic drinks named after Depression-era stars stayed relevant, but only as cocktails for young children and not for adults. The relevance of the cocktail seems to have been running slightly parallel with mocktails. With the cocktail revival came the mocktail revolution.
Today, non-alcoholic drinks are infinitely more popular and appeal to a wide section of the bar crowd. That’s what National Mocktail Week founder, Marnie Rae, sought to highlight when she came up with the idea for this day. At 17 years sober during this time, Rae realized most places only served alcoholic versions of fun mixed drinks. She wanted to create a movement that inspired more places to serve mocktails and to build a community of proud mocktail drinkers. At its core, National Mocktail Week is to celebrate all those who enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage.
National Mocktail Week timeline
Jerry Thomas writes “The Bar-Tender’s Guide” and includes a section for 'temperance drinks' (the initial name for mocktails).
According to Merriam-Webster, drinks without alcohol that resemble cocktails are dubbed 'mocktails.'
This non-alcoholic drink is invented in honor of the actress Shirley Temple, who is so proud of her namesake drink that she goes to court to prevent people from profiting from it.
Marnie Rae founds National Mocktail Week after realizing delicious and fun soft cocktails are very difficult to find; she also wants to create a welcoming community and space for people who don't choose alcohol.
National Mocktail Week FAQs
Can mocktails be alcoholic?
Mocktails are ‘soft cocktails’ or cocktails without alcohol. They usually contain similar names and ingredients to famous cocktails, but without the spirit.
Why are mocktails popular?
The recent increase in health and wellness, a movement towards responsible drinking, and cocktail inventions have caused mocktails to become more popular than ever before.
Are mocktails good for health?
If made with fresh and good ingredients, mocktails are a better drink than alcohol because they are alcohol-free and will not add so many calories to your diet.
National Mocktail Week Activities
Honor the non-alcoholic lifestyle
Celebrate those who choose not to drink alcohol for whatever reason. Support their choice, and maybe, join them for a (booze-less) drink or two.
Try a new mocktail
Visit a bar and order up a mocktail. Try new flavors and combinations, or ask the bartender to surprise you. Who knows, you might even hit upon a new favorite drink!
Become your own mixologist
Experiment with mocktail recipes at home. Find new mocktails to try and wow your family and friends with your mad mixing and mocktail-making skills.
5 Fun Facts About Mocktails
‘Mocktail’ comes from ‘cocktail’
We're not talking about just the flavors, but the name — ‘mocktail’ is a combination of 'mock' and 'cocktail'; Oxford Living Dictionaries says this word originated in North America.
Juices are common in mocktails
Lemon, pineapple, and orange juice — these all form base flavors in non-alcoholic drinks, although now there are plenty of non-alcoholic spirits to boost the taste.
Celebs love mocktails too
Famous entertainment magazines report that stars like Jennifer Lopez and Scarlett Johansson adore a delicious mocktail on occasion.
Mocktails for the health-conscious
If made with fresh ingredients and natural flavors, mocktails can add nutrients and health-boosting elements to a person's diet.
There are many world-famous mocktails
‘The Virgin Mojito,’ and the ‘Virgin Bloody Mary’ — these are just some famous mocktails inspired by their famous cousins, the cocktail.
Why We Love National Mocktail Week
Mocktails are the healthier option
When they are made with fresh juice and good ingredients, a mocktail is better than a cocktail. Alcohol adds around 65+ calories per ounce of spirit.
It encourages a healthy start to the year
We can ring in the new year with a reminder that skipping alcohol can be beneficial for the human body, and can help us build a more positive relationship with drinks and beverages.
It celebrates those who don't drink
An increasing number of people are eschewing drinks in favor of non-alcoholic versions. This day celebrates them all, encourages them, and makes them feel special.
National Mocktail Week dates