COMING CLEAN: Why I Love the Mocktail Bar

Give guests the option of fruity sugar-free drinks with or without alcohol and your party gets a whole lot healthier.

mocktail bar

If you’re trying to lose weight or simply eat healthy like I am, nothing may delight you more than seeing a salad bar at a social gathering. Hooray! There’s food I can actually eat!

Usually, I’d load up on the veggie tray and salad offerings, add some meat or beans for protein, then poke around for some olive oil, avocado, and nuts for healthy fats.

Then, sigh, I’d grab a bottle of water, avoiding the sugary sodas and booze, and sit in the corner smiling, trying to pretend that I’m not missing the sparkly champagne cocktails everyone is enjoying.

A salad bar was my saving grace, but the beverage disparity left me wanting.

That is, until I discovered the beauty of the mocktail bar.

Yes, that’s right! A do-it-yourself homemade juice and accompaniments counter, complete with straws, raw sugar (if you choose), and — this is key — a choice between club soda, champagne, or vodka.

Earlier this month, I presented the mocktail bar at a bridal shower and was excited to see such an enthused response. Many people skipped the sugar altogether, and several complimented the drink itself (a riff off a Whole30 recipe) and the option to mix and match.

Here’s what I did, that you can do, too, for your next festive get-together:


  • 1 large glass carafe (seen here from Anchor Glass, purchased at Target)
  • 1 long-handled muddler (I used an attachment for my blender)
  • Cutting board
  • Champagne or martini glasses
  • Straws, long or short (optional)


  • Rosemary or mint
  • Raspberries (about three-fourths of a pint)
  • Lemon juice and wedges
  • Club soda
  • Champagne or vodka (optional)
  • Raw sugar


  1. Place raspberries in a tall carafe and mash with a long-handled muddle or spoon.
  2. Add rosemary or mint leaves.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice into carafe and drop in wedge. Important: Make sure wedges are slim enough to slide out when finished.
  4. Add club soda to fill carafe.
  5. Let sit for three to five hours in refrigerator to allow color to develop.
  6. Serve with glasses, straws, sugar, and a bottle of club soda, champagne, or vodka (or all three as more options for your guests).

For more mocktail options, check out our “Summer Mocktails” story and this how-to video.

TELL ME: What are your favorite healthy-eating strategies for the party circuit? Share in the comments section below, or find me on Twitter at @clewisopdahl.

Photo by Courtney Lewis Opdahl; courtesy of author.

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