Best and Worst Picks for Mocktail Mixers
Celebrating? Add a mocktail to the mix to make things considerably more festive and avoid the next-morning hangover.
But beware when reaching for traditional mixers such as juices and soft drinks, as they can contain shocking amounts of added sugar, calories and icky artificial ingredients. Instead, consider better-for-you options like sparkling water, tea and kombucha.
Read on for a rundown of the best (and worst) mocktail mixers, nutrition-wise.
Kombucha: Rich in probiotics and low in sugar, kombucha’s effervescence and ale-like fermented flavor make it a great mixer for mocktails. New Orleans’ own Big Easy Bucha has a variety of flavors that are perfect for DIY mocktails, like this Melon Magic Fauxjito.
Flavored and unflavored sparkling water: Sparkling waters such as those by AHA!, Waterloo, Topo and Chico have zero calories, sugar and or artificial sweeteners, making them a personal favorite.
Tea: The flavor options are endless! Most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, with zero calories, carbs or sugar.
Coconut water: Add a tropical twist to your mocktail while simultaneously getting a boost of potassium with coconut water.
Low- and no-sugar electrolyte drinks and mixes: Those by Body Armour Lyte, Nuun and Ultima & SOS aren’t just deliciousthey are also super hydrating.
Vitamin Water ZERO + Bai: Sweetened with erythritol, these drinks are zero-sugar alternatives to fruit juice.
Swerve simple syrup: To make this DIY simple syrup, use a 1:1 ratio of Swerve to water. Heat until dissolved and use right away.
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Diet soft drinks: Take note: Most diet soft drinks are artificially sweetened with aspartame and/or acesulfame potassium.
Crystal Light packets: These, too, are artificially sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium, and are usually colored artificially.
Ginger beer: Tasty? Yes. But most ginger beers have as much sugar as a soft drink.
V8: Perfect as a base for brunch-worthy Virgin Bloody Marys, V8’s main drawback is that it’s high in sodium.
Sugary soft drinks: When mixing up a mocktail, pass on soft drinks, which can contain up to 30 grams of added sugar or more per 12-ounce can.
Sugary sports drinks and energy drinks: Just like soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks can also be packed with sugar. Opt instead for one of these better-for-you sports drink options.
Fruit juice: You’ll want to avoid fruit juice (even 100% fruit juice) at all costs, as they contain as much or more sugar and calories as a soft drinks ounce-for-ounce.
Frozen, blended slushy drink mixers: Ready-to-drink slushy mixes can easily top 400 calories and 40 grams sugar per drink, which is certainly not something to toast to!
Editor’s note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is she paid to recommend items. A version of this article originally appeared on WGNO’s “Get the Skinny” segment.