A Foolproof Formula for Mocktails That Sparkle

Just add (sparkling) water.

January 10, 2022

We've teamed up with LaCroix Sparkling Water to share an easy formula for making any-occasion mocktails, from celebratory spritzes to sippable sparklers. Our tip for the best booze-free beverages: Start with a fresh and flavorful sparkling water base, like LaCroix Sparkling Waters, which are free of sugar and artificial ingredients (so you can feel good about drinking ‘em morning, noon, and night).

As someone who could always stand to be a bit more hydrated, sparkling water (or bubble water, as I like to call it) is my saving grace. Normal water? Snooze fest. Sparkling water? Yes, please! It’s basically how I trick myself into drinking an adequate amount of water on any given day, almost like a hidden vegetables mac and cheese approach to hydration.

When I’m looking to switch up my afternoon sparkling water routine, or perhaps mix up a dinnertime sip, I like to get a little fancy. Using LaCroix Sparkling Water as my base, I craft flavorful mocktails that are just as exciting as they are thirst-quenching. My method for mixing the perfect bubbly beverage relies on a few easily riffable components and—plot twist—you probably already have most of them in your kitchen.

All About That Base

My mocktail-making process starts with selecting a LaCroix flavor. This step is important because it’ll inform the rest of your choices—consider it the beginning of your journey to booze-free bliss. For example, Guava São Paulo tastes like vacationing somewhere warm, so I like to lean into the tropical vibes (think: Guava-Pineapple Spritz or Spicy Guava Spritz). If I’ve got Black Razzberry on hand, I might double down on the berries, like in this Blackberry & Mint Cooler, or punch up the tartness by going a sparkling raspberry lemonade route. Experimentation is encouraged, but there’s nothing wrong with falling back on your favorite flavors here, too (I’ll never get tired of the classic Pamplemousse).

Fixin’ the Mix-ins

Mix-ins are a must when it comes to my mocktail formula. Muddled citrus, berries, or herbs (like mint and basil) are great for adding extra oomph and a bit of texture to your sparkling situation. Again, you’ll want to pick out flavors that’ll pair well with your sparkling base—here’s a few that I love:

  • Guava São Paulo + grapefruit + rosemary
  • Black Razzberry + blackberry + mint
  • Beach Plum + lemon + basil

A stovetop syrup or reduction—like the spiced maple syrup in this Spiced Cranberry-Plum Sparkler—can bring a bit of natural sweetness to your mocktail. It can even infuse an unexpected twist, like the vanilla-thyme syrup in this Vanilla-Plum Sparkler. You can also make a simple shrub (the tangy ginger shrub in this Sparkling Plum Switchel is a great one) if you like your drinks less sweet and more on the savory side. Apply these preparations to whatever fruit, herb, vinegar, or spice you’ve got on hand for a mix-in that feels like a good fit for your LaCroix flavor.


Dress It Up

The final flourish here comes from the glassware and the garnish. I love an excuse to drink out of a stylish coupe, like these Italian-style beauts, but there’s also nothing wrong with a colorful and decidedly more casual tumbler. One thing to consider when selecting a drinking vessel is the shape and size of your garnish. Will there be a long spring of rosemary that requires a rather tall glass? A lemon wheel that rests on the delicate rim? It’s possible that the garnish informs the glassware, or the other way around. Maybe you’re sticking an ice pop in as garnish, like with these Raspberry Pomegranate Sparkling Ice Pops—a smaller glass simply won’t do for this one, so plan accordingly.

Serve and Sip

Now that you’ve been fully briefed on my formula for a successful mocktail, there are only two things left to do: Mix one up for yourself, then make sure you’ve got something to snack on while you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Mix Up Some Magic

What sort of mocktail will you whip up first? Tell us in the comments!

If you’re looking for mocktail recipe inspiration, look no further than the bevvy of sparkling water options from our friends at LaCroix Sparkling Water. Their imaginative and delicious flavors—like Black Razzberry, Beach Plum, and Guava São Paulo—are the ultimate foundation for riffable non-alcoholic beverages. Ready to start mixing? Grab a case or two of your favorite LaCroix flavors here.

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Madison Trapkin

Written by: Madison Trapkin

Associate Editor, Food52