Easy Entertaining: From Mocktails to Cocktails

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Krizia Liquido
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Art Credit: Glitter + Rye / Photographed by Brianna Wilson of Camp Wilson

When planning brunches and parties in the past, I spent most of my time carefully choosing the menu and the perfect vino to go with it. It wasn't until I became pregnant when I realized all the times I'd overlooked my guests who don't imbibe, handing them a boring cup of juice or a can of soda without a second thought. The truth is I probably could have planned better to make delicious drinks for them too.

After sampling several surprisingly tasty and sophisticated mocktails on my recent travels, I was inspired to set up a mocktail bar at my next get-together. It's fun for everyone attending, including children and others who won't be drinking. And for those who prefer a kick? The simple addition of two spirits should satisfy.

Lynnette Marrero, leading female mixologist and CEO of the cocktail-catering and event-planning company Drinks at 6, captures the essence of summer with these two fresh, bold, and bright mocktails that leave as much impact as they do in full-on cocktail form. Both drinks feature crisp, clean teas that make them the perfect antidotes to any hot day, keeping you and your guests calm and collected no matter how tropical the temperature.

Take the load off of playing bartender by displaying these recipes beside the ingredients, and stock your bar with other mocktail goodies like cubes of frozen watermelon, blueberries, mint leaves, and slices of lemon and lime. Encourage guests to get creative with their own beverage, and let the entertaining begin!

Watermelon Sparkle

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3/4 oz agave nectar
1 oz pink grapefruit juice
3/4 oz lemon juice
2 oz watermelon mint tea, brewed twice as strong as indicated in directions (The Republic of Tea and Teavana both offer premium blends)
2 oz Perrier pink grapefruit sparkling water

Place all ingredients except Perrier into a shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with Perrier pink grapefruit sparkling water. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Take this drink from mocktail to cocktail: Reduce tea to 1 1/2 oz and pink grapefruit juice to 3/4 oz. Add 1 1/2 oz blanco tequila. Top with 1 1/2 oz Perrier pink grapefruit sparkling water.

Blueberry Bliss

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3/4 oz sugar cane simple syrup
3/4 oz lemon juice
2 oz blueberry tea, brewed twice as strong as indicated in directions
1 1/2 oz Perrier lime sparkling water

Place all ingredients except Perrier into a shaker with 2 ice cubes. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Top with Perrier lime sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon and lime wheel.

Take this drink from mocktail to cocktail: Reduce tea to 1 1/2 oz. Add 1 1/2 oz gin. Strain into a highball glass with crushed ice. Top with 1 1/2 oz Perrier lime sparkling water.

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