Designated Drivers: Five Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails To Keep Everyone Happy

From the moment you receive that little pink plastic rectangle, whether at 17 or 27 years old, two things become overwhelmingly true. Firstly, you’re legally allowed to drive a motor vehicle, and secondly you’ll never have a worse photo of you taken.

For those of us with a driving licence, therefore, the role of ‘dezzy’ or designated driver is one that will very soon be strapped to your unsuspecting back.

If you’re planning a party then, take a moment to remember the time you were given the mantle of taxi driver home, and give your guests some of these wonderful non-alcoholic cocktails to glug, while others are sipping their espresso martinis…

Route 66 

1 25ml Measure grape/elderflower cordial

3 slices fresh cucumber

Juice of 1/4 lime

150ml Ginger beer

150ml clear apple juice

Cracked Black Pepper

(+25ml Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka)

Muddle and crush the cucumber in a Boston shaker, add cordial, lime and apple juice. Shake with ice and sieve into tumbler over ice. Add ginger beer to the top and stir gently. crack a pinch of black pepper over the top and garnish with cucumber and lime slices. 

This one’s a real summer favourite, the clean and refreshing, mellow taste of the cucumber and apple are opposed by the bitterness of the ginger and lime. Cracked black pepper, although rarely used in drinks, adds a nice heat and spice kick. Make jugs of the damn stuff, and slip some bison-grass vodka in for those that aren’t behind the wheel.


Rose-berry Cooler

200ml Cranberry Juice

200ml Cloudy Apple Juice

3 or 4 Sprigs of Rosemary

Add ingredients with plenty of ice into a Boston shaker. shake for 20 secs or until shaker gets condensation over it. Sieve over ice into a Collins glass (the tall one) and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Achingly simple and sticking on the savoury theme, no black pepper, but rosemary in this fancy number. It’s got a floral and herby accent, so don’t worry, it won’t taste like your mothers roast potatoes.

All you ladies with downstairs issues, look, it’s cranberries so it’s good for you. The rest of us, it’s full of immune system boosting anti-oxidants so great for a winter party.

Try it with Hendricks Gin if you ain’t ‘ballin in your ‘whip.


Chai Thai


1 Chai Tea teabag (easy to find in tescos etc)

1 Black Tea teabag (builders stuff)

1 cup hot water

3 25ml measures (75ml) coconut milk

2 teaspoons caster sugar

Add both teabags to a cup of hot water, let it brew and infuse for a good few minutes, more than you would if it were a cup of tea. Add the tea to a Boston shaker with loads of ice and the caster sugar. Shake and pour into an ice filled glass, leaving an inch and a half at the top. pour in the coconut milk and let it cascade down the Collins glass. Serve with a straw, mix gently and add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon if desired.

There’s an amazing Thai rice tea cocktail out there, but I find that using supermarket ingredients (and not some far-flung whatzit bits) you can get a great tasting light, long sunset feeling, east Asian inspired ice cold drink.

The spices of the chai tea are elegantly blended with the bitterness of the black tea and the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk. although it does make it one to aviod if you’re having booze too, or on a diet.

This really works best as non-alcoholic, but if you’re craving that half-cut feeling, you may get away with shoving some Smirnoff in it.


Pomegranate Mojito

150ml pomegranate juice

Small handfull of blueberries

100ml soda water (works better than ‘sparking’)

1/2 a lime

large handful of mint leaves

2 teaspoons of granulated demerera sugar

In the bottom of a Collins glass, muddle/crush the lime (in segments) with the sugar. If your interested, the sugar acts as sandpaper and releases the zesty oils. Collect the mint in your palm and clap, again, releasing the oils. Add to the glass and fill halfway with crushed ice. Crushing can be done with a tea-towel and a work surface… Stir with a thin spoon, adding the blueberries until evenly distributed, and then add the juice and soda water. Stir vigorously again and add more crushed ice to the top. Prod a straw in and garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.

Well, it’s a classic with a twist, and it’s just as good (well, not quite) without the rum. The trick to a good Mojito is a lot of everything. Throw all the ingredients possible into it for a hefty flavour kick. It should ‘twang’ on your moth, then the sweetness should numb it.

You know as well as I do, you’ll be adding some decent white rum. Have fun sleeping in the back of the car, guys.


Mockspresso Martini

2 strips of lemon peel (no flesh)

12.5 ml sugar syrup

1 teaspoon of demerera sugar

3 drops of Angosturra Bitters

25ml fresh espresso coffee

In a Boston shaker, muddle the lemon peel with the demerera sugar, much like the Mojito above. Add the bitters and the sugar syrup. Fill to the top with ice and add the espresso. Shake and sieve into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with floating lemon peel.

Now, first things first, this does actually have a bit of alcohol in the form of Angosturra bitters. but we’re talking literally three drops, so you’re not going to get pulled over for it.

We needed a short drink, so I’ve been able to get an espresso martini inspired drink, with no alcohol, but still with a great smooth and energy-boosting hit. It’s also got a hnt of an old-fashioned to it. (If you don’t know what that is, you’re missing out on the best drink ever created.)


Well, cheers to the drivers of the group then. If you’ve any sense you’ll be staying on the floor of your mates house. But if you can’t stand it then I hope these will help your enjoy it nearly as much as your mates.



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