Tonics, mixers, mocktails: The best beverages to drink when you're not drinking

Women drinking cocktails park
These recipes have all of the taste, none of the hangover. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Whether you're a teetotaller, you've been cutting down on your drinking over lockdown or you just don't want to break any liquor licencing laws during this weekend's picnic in an Auckland park, having a few solid alcohol-free drink options on hand is always a good idea. 

After all, there's only so much kombucha you can drink without your tummy rejecting it, and by whipping up a delicious, zero-percent cocktail or mixer, you won't feel quite so much like you're missing out on the fun. 

We've put together a selection of some of our favourite alcohol-free options, mixers and cocktail recipes so you can enjoy sipping wherever you are in lockdown. 

G&T, without the G 

Who says tonic is strictly for mixing with gin? Now there are so many local tonic makers experimenting with different flavour profiles and infusions, many stand up on their own. Our top pick is Alchemy & Tonic: a local beverage maker producing beautiful tonics, soda waters, lemonades and ginger ales. The packaging is gorgeous and the tonic flavours are unusual and exciting - think 'Grapefruit and Thyme', and 'Rhubarb and Smashed Mandarin'. They're delicious and because they're in cans, they're easily transportable to your local park or beach. East Imperial is also a well-known range still hitting it out of the park - both the grapefruit and yuzu flavours are excellent over ice. 

tonics by Alchemy and Tonic, East imperial
These tonics are beautiful, even without the gin. Photo credit: Supplied.

Mix it up 

Buying a quality syrup to be mixed with soda water, lemonade or tonic means you can still experience some of the ritual of making a mixed drink at home, without the accompanying hangover. Sometimes it's simply fulfilling that side of the habit we crave, rather than the actual alcohol itself. 

Geraldine stalwart Barker's has launched a new series of soda syrups this week that are delicious, low in sugar, and refreshing for these increasingly warmer evenings. Our top picks for summer are definitely going to be 'Spiced Ginger and Lime' and 'Lemon, Lime, Cucumber and Mint'. 

Sometimes its just the ritual of mixing a drink that we crave.
Sometimes its just the ritual of mixing a drink that we crave. Photo credit: Supplied.

Shaken not stirred

Got a hankering for a cocktail? There are so many amazing zero percent liquor options on the market these days you can easily recreate alcohol-free versions of your favourites. Australian brand Lyre's make a gorgeous alcohol-free gin they've used in these cocktail recipes kindly supplied to Newshub, but you can substitute any alcohol-free liquor option, like Seedlip. 

Lyre's cocktail recipes
There are some delicious, alcohol free spirits on the market you can use in any cocktail recipe. Photo credit: Supplied.

Zero percent cocktail recipes by Lyres: 

Salted Caramel Espresso Quarantini


  • 15ml Lyre's Spiced Cane Spirit
  • 45ml Lyre's Coffee Originale
  • 45ml premium cold drip or fresh espresso
  • 15ml premium salted caramel syrup
  • Caramel popcorn, to garnish


  1. Dry shake, 1/2 fill shaker with ice, shake hard briefly, fine strain into cocktail coupette glass.
  2. Garnish with a caramel popcorn float.

Lockdown Dry Collins


  • 60ml Lyre's Dry London Spirit
  • 15ml white sugar syrup (1:1)
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 60ml premium bottled soda water
  • Fresh lemon, to garnish


  1. Add ingredients to highball glass, stir, fill with ice
  2. Garnish with a lemon wheel.