I've been throwing mocktail parties for years. They are awesomely fun for a crowd who won't be drinking. I guess they are less fun if you're used to tying on a pair of beer goggles and using that as an excuse to engage in blackmail-able behavior, but we won't get into that here.
I love a mocktail party for a baby shower, a teen party, your church group, recovering alcoholics, Mormons, Muslims, or local Carrie Nation enthusiasts. Over the past year I've been featuring a bunch of mocktail recipes for fun and zero profit, and now you've decided you want to throw your own mocktail party! I can help!
What You Need For Your Own Mocktail Party
You can pick up a bunch of plastic cups (I won't deny you the clean-up pleasure) but for maximum enjoyment, use real glasses. I own martinis, highballs, tumblers, an assortment of flutes and goblets, and some general good-looking glassware. I've picked them up cheap over the years (IKEA, Target, big box store sale, vintage) and keep them in a cabinet where they look all sparkly-like.
This isn't absolutely necessary, you can provide swizzle sticks, but you really can pick one up in the clearance section of TJ Maxx or Target for just a couple dollars, and just get one, OK? A shaker combines the liquids and flavorings in your mocktail, tossing them with ice. You'll strain the liquid into the glass it so there's no ice in the drink but the drink is cold.
For crushing ice and making blended drinks like margaritas and pina coladas.
You can use a bowl or large container, but pick up an ice bucket. You're an adult.
Cocktail napkins, toothpicks, coasters, swizzle sticks; they're all nice touches that prove you're a civilized individual.
Get bottles of different kinds of juices: pineapple, cranberry, and orange are the usual suspects. Don't be afraid to get whatever else you spy at the store: apricot, cran-raspberry, pomegranate, coconut milk, cherry, or pear. Natural food stores often have cool juices not found in regular groceries.
You'll need plenty of club soda and ginger ale. I also recommend tonic water.
A great shortcut to max flavor. Grab a few bottles of Italian or French sodas. My favorite is lemon, but grapefruit, pomegranate, strawberry, or even lemon-lime and colas are marvy.
Rose's Sweetened Lime and Grenadine are imperative. You can pick up a bottle of bitters if you desire. Maybe even rose water. Even those syrups used to make Italian sodas are fun. Chocolate syrup? Why not? You can find most of these in your grocer's drinks section.
Not Flavored Syrups
Make some simple syrup. Boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water together until the sugar melts and the water reduces slightly. DO THIS THE DAY BEFORE. No one wants to add warm syrup to a mocktail. Keep in a squeeze bottle for easy mixing.
These are the prepared drink mixes found at your grocers. Margarita mix, pina colada mix, bloody mary mix, they're all meant to combine with ice and alcohol and be ready to drink. I've shied away from these lately in favor of fresher flavor, but they're great for an easy wow factor and making blended drinks.
Half and half is totally optional, but delicious. You can use it to make an egg cream. Don't worry! No eggs! A chocolate egg cream is club soda, chocolate syrup, and a little half and half. SO good.
Lemons and limes are important, both for flavor and garnish. Have some oranges and grapefruits on hand for fresh squeezed juices if you like--I usually quarter or half those for easy squeezin'. Maraschino cherries if you are into that kind of abomination. Olives are a nice touch.
Mint is the most important, tarragon or rosemary can be fun.
ICEBecause you aren't an idiot. Cubed, crushed, or pebbled, it's up to you.
I set-up a table with glasses, cocktail napkins, toothpicks, swizzle sticks, sodas, syrups, garnishes, the shaker, and ice. I keep the blender in another spot since it's messier and can cause a guest bottle neck. Have another spot for a cutting board and knife for easy garnish-making. It doesn't matter what you've selected from the liquid and garnishes above, you can simply combine or tailor your offerings because every party is different. You can suggest drinks, but people just love to experiment creating their own.