For a lot of kids, one of the best things about big gatherings and special occasions is getting to have a juice box or sparkling apple cider to sip as a special treat. And those festive fizzies are great for when you need something quick, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, consider mixing up one or two of these super easy mocktails for kids at your next event. A
fancy cup, a colorful paper straw, and some fruit garnishes can make all the difference.
At some point this past spring, I noticed we had some lemons in the house and I decided to pour my daughter a glass of lemonade with cut-up strawberries, a lemon slice attached to the rim, and a pink and white paper straw. Sure, preparing it took a little longer than it would have if I had just poured some lemonade into her usual cup, but the look on her face when I presented her with this drink was totally priceless. In fact, she loved it so much that I ended up buying her some plastic stemless wine glasses for whenever we have the time (and ingredients) to make her something a little extra special. Suffice to say, I have seen firsthand how much joy mocktails for kids can bring.
When you’re thinking up mocktail recipes, remember that kids tend to like basic flavors, so while a virgin mojito may be a great beverage for an expecting mom, little ones may not like the flavor quite as much. Thankfully, there are plenty of mocktail recipes for kids to choose from. And, if all else fails, you can never go wrong with some lemonade and sliced strawberries in a fancy cup.
1 Shirley Temple
Do you remember ordering “kiddie cocktails” when you were younger? Chances are high that you were given a Shirley Temple — with extra cherries, please! They taste delicious, look pretty, and are simple to make, if you follow directions from
Damn Delicious. Simply mix together some lemon-lime soda and the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries, pour the drink over ice, and top it off with an orange slice and a cherry. 2 Sparkling Ginger Cranberry Mocktail
If you’re on the hunt for a kids' mocktail recipe for the holiday season, check out this
Sparkling Ginger Cranberry Mocktail from The Speckled Palate. Sure, you can serve it any time of the year, but the flavors are especially great for the winter holidays. To make the orange sugar for the rims of the glasses, just mix up some granulated sugar and orange peel zest. For the mocktail, you’ll need unsweetened cranberry juice, ginger beer (despite its name, it’s non-alcoholic), and some fresh cranberries for a garnish. So easy, and so delicious. 3 Cherry Almond Sparkler
Not only does
this drink from A Classic Twist look really pretty, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. You’ll need some fresh cherries, sugar, lime juice, almond extract, ice, and 7UP Cherry (or 7UP regular if you want to go lighter on the cherry). It all mixes together beautifully to create a refreshing mocktail for kids that works no matter what time of year. 4 Gummy Bear Cocktail Christina Børding, Getty Images
Instead of creating a complex mocktail recipe, Rachel from Simple Seasonal simply dressed up some sparkling cider to create a
Gummy Bear Mocktail. First, she stacked eight gummy bears on a pointed swizzle stick to use for a garnish, then she coated the rims of stemless champagne flutes with granulated sugar, then she filled the glass up with sparkling cider, finally, she added in the gummy bear stick and a fun straw to create a super easy mocktail for kids. 5 Sunrise Mocktail Brian Macdonald, Getty Images
Here’s another example of how simply putting a couple of ingredients into a pretty glass makes a drink exponentially more fun. To make
Mindful Mocktail’s recipe for Sunrise Mocktails, grab a tall glass (or champagne flute) and fill it about three-quarters of the way full with equal parts orange juice and alcohol-free sparkling wine, then add in a little bit of grenadine to create the sunrise effect, and garnish the drink with an orange slice and cherry. Quick, easy, and delicious. 6 Mermaid Water
If your kids aren’t fans of oranges and cherries, then they may like some Mermaid Water. The recipe for this easy mocktail for kids comes from the blog
Hawaii Travel With Kids and calls for some pineapple juice, blue Gatorade, and berry-flavored Gatorade. That’s it. The key for this drink is pouring each juice just right so that it creates a colorful stack look. There’s no garnish necessary for this beverage, but it will look best served in a clear cup. 7 Blueberry Lemonade
Lemonade is my go-to for an easy mocktail base, then I usually just toss in some berries to add color. However, if you want to take it further you can try this
recipe for blueberry lemonade from A Cookie Named Desire that will have you making your own homemade lemonade and blueberry syrup using totally fresh ingredients. Even if you’re making this as a mocktail for the kids, you’ll probably end up pouring yourself a cup, too. 8 Orange Juice Mocktail jonathansloane, Getty Images
The Schmidty Wife turned her kids regular orange juice into a superfood mocktail by adding a scoop of a tangerine-flavored omega supplement. She then took the mixture and poured it into a fun glass, added some fresh fruit as garnishes and a straw, and called it a day. Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier than this. 9 Ruby Red Grapefruit Punch
Instead of making individual mocktails for kids, consider making a big batch of a specialty punch and setting up a mocktail buffet. Put out some stemless wine glasses or champagne flutes as well as options for different garnishes (and maybe some sugar or sprinkles for the rims of the glasses). Honestly, any punch recipe will work with this idea, but if you’re looking for one to try, this
recipe for Ruby Red Grapefruit Punch from A Pretty Life looks absolutely delightful. 10 Non-Alcoholic Sangria
To kids, a glass of sangria looks like a glass of juice that’s full of fruit — which obviously sounds delightful. So, to let kids in on the action, Nicole from Brown Sugar Mama came up with a
non-alcoholic sangria recipe. You’ll add in the usual fruit ingredients like orange and lemon juice and slices of oranges, grapes, and apples, but instead of wine, you’ll use a mixture of cranberry juice, sparkling grapefruit juice, and a flavored tea (just make sure whatever you choose is caffeine-free). 11 Vanilla Plum Shrub
This mocktail for kids isn’t the easiest, but it is probably the most grown-up friendly. You might know of shrubs — they’re also called ‘drinking vinegar’ — but if you’re not familiar with them, they’re tart and fruity, and make for a lovely cocktail or mocktail base. Once you make The Modern Proper’s
vanilla-plum shrub, simply mix it with seltzer and you’ve got a mocktail even the grown ups will love. 12 Blue Lagoon Mocktail Ajith Ajay / EyeEm, Getty Images
There’s just something a little extra fun about a blue mocktail (or cocktail), isn’t there? This
recipe for a Blue Lagoon Mocktail from Savor the Flavor has a step-by-step guide for creating a delightful mocktail for kids using blue Curaçao-flavored simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon-lime soda. Just top the drink off with a lemon garnish and a fun straw and enjoy watching your kid’s eyes get wide with excitement as you hand it to them. 13 Valentine Mocktail laurenepbath, Getty Images
Adults know that the more sugar in their cocktail, the worse their hangover is going to be the next day, but when it comes to mocktails for kids, the more sugar there is, the better. There’s definitely no shortage of sugar in this
recipe for Valentine Mocktails from Everyday Savvy. Between candy sprinkles on the rim of the glass, mixed berry juice, Sprite, grenadine, and simple syrup, this mocktail will make for a good dessert drink for the kids (just prepare yourself for the sugar crash later). 14 Cotton Candy Mocktail
Another kids' mocktail recipe that’s delightfully full of sugar is this
Cotton Candy Mocktail from Princess Pinky Girl. Not only is it so sweet it’ll make your teeth hurt, but it will also entertain the heck out of the kids. First, coat the rims of champagne flutes with pink sugar (the kind you find in the baking aisle), then fill the glass up with cotton candy and set it in front of your kid, finally pour some strawberry soda over the cotton candy and watch as it melts and mixes in with the soda before topping it off with a cherry or strawberry garnish. 15 Sparkling Peach Lemonade
Sparkling Peach Lemonade from All Things Healthy wasn’t created to be a mocktail, if we’ve learned anything by now it’s that any drink can be a mocktail with the right cup and extra garnishes added to it. This drink is made entirely from scratch, so it will taste extra fresh (and delicious). You’ll need fresh or frozen peaches, honey, water, lemon juice, sparkling water, fresh mint, and some patience to make this drink, but if your kid loves peaches, then it’ll be worth the work. 16 Cinderella Mocktail
Cinderella Mocktail recipe from Savor the Flavor yields a very pretty drink, but since it calls for Angostura bitters, it won’t be a hit with every kid. However, if your kid likes to try new things, then this is definitely a mocktail to make. In addition to the bitters, the drink is made with unsweetened pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, grenadine, and sparkling water. It’s basically a tropical paradise in a glass. 17 Agua Fresca
Naturally sweetend with agave syrup, this
agua fresca mocktail recipe from Gimme Some Oven can be made with whatever fruit you (or your kids) love, so it’s super adaptable to all seasons and all preferences. 18 Lavender Tea Lemonade
For more sophisticated palates — we’re thinking this one is more for the tweens than the preschool crowd — try this floral Lavender Tea Lemonade recipe from
A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
It doesn’t take much to create a special, easy mocktail for kids, especially since they’re usually more interested in what the drink looks like than what it tastes like. So, pick up some fun paper straws, slice up some fruit, and mix up a delicious drink for the kids to enjoy at your next gathering.
This article was originally published on
Dec. 5, 2021