Day-drinking can be fun, but let's be real: There are definitely a few downsides. First and foremost, getting a little buzzed while the sun is still high in the sky can throw off your whole day—especially if alcohol tends to make you sleepy. So here's a refreshing compromise: the mocktail. Filled with sodas and bold flavors, mocktails are the perfect drink to sip when summer parties start long before sundown. And since they don't have the same sugar levels as their alcoholic counterparts, mocktails make it easier to have an extra helping of barbecue, too.
If you're throwing a mid-day get together, consider serving one of these non-alcoholic summer drinks. They're as delicious as they are pretty to look at. Plus, they won't make any of your guests want to call it a night before the sun goes down.
Grapefruit Lime Spritzer
The Recipe: Grapefruit Lime Spritzer
Why We Love It: Leave it to Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats to whip up a drink that's this beautiful sip. It gets its pale shade from the Italian grapefruit soda, and then freshly squeezed lime juice, crushed ice, and club soda finish things off. Grapefruit can be a bit of an acquired taste, but the other ingredients mellow it out enough to taste relatively light. Still, there's a delicious punch from the citrus.
Pro Tip: "Add a bunch of lime, some salt on the rim (I used pink Himalayan salt, hence the color), and it's a cross between a tequila-less margarita and a salty dog minus the vodka," she says. "It tastes so good and fresh."
Rainbow Coconut Water Spritzers
The Recipe: Rainbow Coconut Water Spritzers
Why We Love It: We had to give another mention to How Sweet Eats because Merchant's rainbow coconut water spritzers are exactly the type of refreshment you'd want to serve at a summer party. Filled with handfuls of irresistible fruits—like pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries—and then topped with coconut water and flavored seltzer, this recipe is a decoration in itself. Plus, once you down the drink, you can enjoy the fruit that's been soaking in the concoction.
Pro Tip: "Fill each glass with a bit of crushed ice, and then add the fruit in rainbow colors," she instructs. "I like using the ROY G BIV [rainbow] guidelines!"
Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule
The Recipe: Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule
Why We Love It: Admit it, part of the fun of drinking a Moscow mule is the mug it's served in. Thankfully, The Butter Half makes a killer non-alcoholic version so that you don't have to give up the copper cup (or the taste.) Ginger blossom soda, mint, ice, and lime are all it takes to make this delicious drink happen.
Pro Tip: "The key to this mocktail is in the ginger-flavored ingredients," Abbey Rodriguez notes. "Most people use ginger beer, but I have an even better alternative—one that contains no refined sugar and is a healthier, allergy-free drink option. Enter Ginger Blossom soda."
Rose Lemon Spritzer
The Recipe: Rose Lemon Spritzer
Why We Love It: Sometimes a drink is so pretty that you feel bad about making it disappear. And this rose lemon spritzer from Half Baked Harvest falls into that category. Rosewater, honey, and a few drops of blood orange or pomegranate juice give this refresher a lovely hue, and it can be topped off with a garnish of fresh roses if you're feeling fancy.
Pro Tip: "If you've never used rosewater before, don't be afraid of it," Tieghan Gerard warns. "Rosewater only adds a subtle floral flavor, nothing overpowering."
Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca
The Recipe: Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca
Why We Love It: This recipe from Healthy Slow Cooking is so easy that it's ideal for those summer days that you don't want to do much more than lounge. Gather fresh pineapple chunks and mint leaves, and throw them in a blender with water. Combine, serve, and sip.
Even though the pineapple adds a fruity taste, feel free to sweeten it up a bit with either honey or your sweetener of your choice.
Pro Tip: "This refreshing drink can be made with any fresh fruit you have on hand," Kathy Hester explains. "You can also strain it if you don't enjoy the pulp."
Pink Watermelon Lemonade Slushies
The Recipe: Pink Watermelon Lemonade Slushies
Why We Love It: Remember when you used to slurp up icy slushies during summer vacation as a kid? This recipe from Half Baked Harvest re-creates that with cubed watermelon slices, freshly squeezed lemon juice, cold water, and ice. It's so fun and nostalgic that you won't even care that there's no alcohol in it.
Pro Tip: "Add more water if it is too sweet for your liking," Gerard notes. "Pour into glass jugs and store in the fridge. Before drinking, make sure to shake the lemonade up."
Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha
The Recipe: Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha
Why We Love It: Instead of using straight alcohol to liven up this recipe, The Roasted Root opts for kombucha to give it an extra kick. Orange-mango juice, chopped strawberries, and a ripe mango round out the rest for an inventive flavor that is anything but boring.
Pro Tip: "A basic formula you can use is two cups of 100% juice for every 32 ounces of unflavored kombucha, plus four cups of fresh fruit," Julia Mueller suggests.
Mango Meyer Lemon Margarita Mocktails
The Recipe: Mango Meyer Lemon Margarita Mocktails
Why We Love It: Grab your closest friends, find an open patio, and serve up a pitcher of this faux margarita from An Edible Mosaic for the ideal summer happy hour. It features mango purée, fresh lemon juice, ice, and a mint garnish. Trust us; it's a crowd-pleaser.
Pro Tip: "I kept the bright citrus flavor here, but replaced lime with Meyer lemon, and also added fresh mango purée along with bubbly water and a little bit of simple syrup to sweeten it up," Faith Gorsky notes.
Blackberry Cider Fizz Mocktail
The Recipe: Blackberry Cider Fizz
Why We Love It: For those who usually order cider but are looking for an alcohol-free option, behold this recipe from Hello Glow. Its twist on cider is apple cider vinegar, which you mix with blackberries, rosemary simple syrup, and blood orange sparkling water.
Pro Tip: "If you haven't added apple cider vinegar to your wellness routine, it's time to start," Stephanie Gerber admits. "Drinking one to two tablespoons in water two to three times a day before meals is said to help detox and alkalize the body, keep skin clear, counteract sugar cravings, and boost metabolism."