A chilled mocktail on a stand.
The Distinctive Science Behind Store-Bought Mocktails
By Elias Nash
Mocktails offer a non-alcoholic cocktail experience, but creating a shelf-stable liquid that can absorb flavors and replicate the burning sensation of alcohol is tricky.
The alcohol in spirits is technically ethanol, which attracts many things that cannot dissolve in water, including flavors like cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla.
In order to to make a mocktail with ingredients that can't dissolve in water, you're going to need science on your side to come up with innovative solutions.
Lyre's, a cocktail maker based in London, infuses their boozeless beverages with a variety of flavorings using nanoemulsion technology.
The Chicago-based brand Ritual Zero Proof uses botanical water-based distillates known as hydrosols to mimic the flavors of various spirits.
Mocktail makers have also managed to mimic the burning sensation from alcohol by turning to spicy foods like chile peppers, ginger, black peppers, and Szechuan peppercorns.
Companies like the English brand Pentire devise totally original alcohol-free beverages based on distillates made with plants endemic to the English coast.
The French brand Alavie has even created sparkling drinks based on plant distillate that are conceptually similar to champagne yet wholly unique in flavor.