Spring Refresh: Creative Cocktails and Mocktails to Try This Season

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Sparkling Lavender Lemonade for spring cocktails and mocktails

Spring is a busy season for celebrations. The return of warm weather brings many opportunities to gather with loved ones for holidays or simply to enjoy the longer days. It’s also prime time for many fresh foods that are bursting with flavor and color. Whether you’re hosting a party or just want to chill out, you can elevate your get-togethers with spring cocktails and mocktails featuring seasonal ingredients for added enjoyment.

Here’s what you need to know to begin making seasonal drinks that are as refreshing as a balmy breeze on a sunny day.

Benefits of Seasonal Drinks

Spring is a bountiful season for good food at local farmers markets, farm stands and even the produce section of supermarkets. Many fruits, vegetables and herbs are at their peak in spring. We’re talking about favorites such as strawberries, lemons and basil. The freshest food always is the most flavorful and nutritious.

Buying food in season from local farmers (or growing your own spring produce!) has many benefits. It helps protect farmland and adjoining open spaces near you from development, reduces your impact on the environment and supports the economy in your community. Best of all, you get to eat fruits and vegetables that are naturally sweet and juicy, with an authentic taste of spring rains and sunshine.

Seasonal ingredients also can be an inspiration for you to create beverages that will make your party or hang-out truly memorable. Whether you’re hosting a Mother’s Day brunch or your book club, mix up a pitcher of spring cocktails and mocktails to make the event even more festive.

Following a Nutrisystem weight loss plan? Learn more about alcohol on your plan.

Spring Cocktails

With fresh ingredients, the drink possibilities are endless. You can use the items to enhance the flavor and presentation of your familiar cocktails. We’ve also got a few suggestions to help you discover new favorites.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Collins

Strawberry and Rhubarb Collins

Strawberries and rhubarb are a popular pairing for spring pies and other baked goods. The sweet and tart combination also gives a seasonal twist to the classic Tom Collins.

Start by making rhubarb syrup with ​2 quarts water, 8 cups sugar and 4 cups roughly chopped rhubarb ​in a saucepan. Simmer on low and stir until​ the ​sugar dissolves. Cook for 5 minutes more, then turn off the​ heat and let the liquid cool. Strain out the pieces of rhubarb and store the syrup in a tightly lidded container for up to one​ month.

Blend three-quarters ounce of the rhubarb syrup with the juice from one-half ounce of strawberries and three-quarters ounce of lemon juice. Stir in Aperol, an Italian liqueur that’s made with rhubarb and other botanicals, and your choice of gin (more botanical flavor) or vodka (neutral). Add a splash of club soda for fizz and a rhubarb stalk as a garnish.

Kentucky Buck

Kentucky Buck cocktail with strawberries for spring

Bourbon, the main ingredient in mint juleps, is paired with sweet and spicy companions in this spring cocktail. Muddled strawberries provide the fruity notes, zesty ginger syrup brings a little sweet heat, and lemon juice gives a hint of acidity. Use one more strawberry for the garnish.

Country Thyme

Country Thyme spring cocktail

In this drink, the savory herb thyme complements the sweet flavors of blueberries, which are muddled in a shaker along with lemon juice. You rub the thyme sprigs a little with your fingers to release their fragrant oils, then place them in the bottom of the glasses. Pour in a shot of vodka, agave nectar for more sweetness, and the fruit and lemon juice. Set another sprig of thyme on the rim of the glass for a boost of extra flavor.

Green Margarita

Green Margarita

Pea puree provides the color to this imaginative spring cocktail from the pros at Liquor.com. It’s made by putting sugar snap peas, dry vermouth, a pinch of sugar and salt, and some water in a blender. Whip it until smooth, then put the pea blend in a cocktail shaker along with a shot of tequila, dry vermouth, an orange liqueur like Cointreau, and some fresh lime juice. The drink will have a vegetal taste from the peas complemented by the sweet and tart flavors of the other ingredients.

Craving a margarita with a spicy kick? Try our Virgin Jalapeno Lemon Margarita recipe!

Spring Mocktails

Alcohol is high in calories, so you may want to limit your consumption if you’re trying to stay on track with your weight loss plan. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the drinks made with seasonal ingredients. Try one of these healthy spring mocktails when you want to enjoy a satisfying beverage.

Skinny White Sangria

Skinny White Sangria Mocktail

Sangria is a kind of punch made with wine and fresh fruit. We make our Skinny White Sangria recipe with seasonal favorites like strawberries and peaches. We substitute white grape juice for the wine to save calories without giving up flavor.

Blackberry Mint Julep Mocktail

3-Ingredient Blackberry Mint Julep Mocktail

Mint Juleps are the traditional cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, the horse race held every spring. Whip up a tasty twist on this classic with our 3-Ingredient Blackberry Mint Julep Mocktail recipe.

The sweet and tart flavors of blackberries provide the punch of flavor. They are muddled with mint for a cool taste. Pour in ginger kombucha (a type of fizzy, fermented tea) or use sugar-free ginger ale with the fruit and herbs.

Sparkling Rosemary Lavender Lemonade

Sparkling Rosemary Lavender Lemonade for spring

Fresh-squeezed lemonade mixed with sparkling water makes a bubbly, sweet base for this mocktail. It’s flavored with a syrup made by simmering 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. After turning off the heat, add sprigs of fresh lavender and rosemary. Let it steep as the water cools, for about one hour.

Pour the flavored liquid into a pitcher and mix with a cup of lemon juice, more water and ice. Add a sprig of rosemary and a slice of lemon for garnish.

Cucumber Gimlet Mocktail

Cucumber Gimlet Mocktail

The classic gimlet is a simple drink made with gin and sweetened lime juice. Add cucumbers and you get the vegetable’s refreshing flavor along with the tart taste of lime.

To make this alcohol-free version, muddle a few fresh cucumber chunks in a cocktail shaker. Mix in lime juice and a teaspoon of honey or agave syrup, top with ice and shake until the liquid is chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass with ice and pour in a splash of club soda for fizz.

With a vegetable peeler shave off a thick ribbon or cucumber. Fold it like an accordion and thread it on a cocktail skewer or toothpick for the garnish.

Tips for Crafting Delicious Spring Cocktails and Mocktails

Choosing Fresh Ingredients for Spring Cocktails

Enjoying a drink can be a part of your healthy eating routine, especially when you make spring cocktails and mocktails with fresh, seasonal ingredients. When you’re making spring cocktails and mocktails with fresh ingredients, be sure to choose produce that’s free of damage that could impact the flavor. Any taste that’s off in the ingredients will be magnified in the drink.

How to Muddle Fruit

Muddling is the process of gently bruising fresh ingredients to release their flavor. A special tool called a “muddler” makes it quick and easy, but if you don’t have one, you can also use the back of a spoon to press on the ingredients.

Light pressure is all that’s needed to crush them. They don’t need to be pulverized. With ingredients like fruit or herbs, muddle them in the glass or cocktail shaker before the liquid is added.

Garnishes for Spring Cocktails and Mocktails

Garnishes may be decorative, but they are more than just extras for the drink. When serving spring cocktails and mocktails, the garnishes highlight the fresh ingredients for your guests and enhance the taste of the drink by activating the nose’s aroma sensors.

Garnishes may be as simple as a twist of lemon peel or a sprig of mint. You can also cut a slice into a wedge of pineapple or watermelon to balance it on the edge of the glass. For a savory flavor, thread pickled vegetables onto a toothpick.

Prep and Serving Suggestions

If you’re making just a couple of drinks, preparing them in the glass you will serve them in is simplest. For a party, mix up batches of your beverages in pitchers and set out the garnishes on a tray so everyone can help themselves. Plan for each person to have two drinks.

Always set out snacks for guests to nibble on when you’re serving alcohol. Learn how to make a healthy charcuterie board with our simple guide.

Looking for more delicious, seasonal recipes? Try these easy and healthy spring dessert ideas!