Looking to make your next gathering extra special? How about hosting your very own mocktail hour? Fruity, refreshing, and non-alcoholic, mocktails are the perfect excuse for you to gather your friends and family together to try something new and exciting. That’s why RiceSelect® is here to inspire you with a range of spectacular mocktail recipes, along with the best appetizers to pair with them.

Benefits of Hosting a Mocktail Hour

Mocktails offer a refreshing alternative to traditional cocktails. Throwing a mocktail party is a must for anyone looking to host an alcohol-free gathering. Inspired by popular cocktails but containing no alcohol, mocktails are delicious fruit-based beverages that will refresh and delight in equal measure. If you’re someone who likes getting creative in the kitchen, mastering the art of the mocktail will add yet another string to your culinary bow.

Origins of Mocktails

The exact origins of mocktails are unknown, but the concept can be traced back to the 1860s, when ‘temperance drinks’ became popular among members of the Temperance Movement who chose to avoid consuming alcohol. Later, in the 1920s, the US government banned the sale of alcohol outright, thus beginning what would come to be known as the Prohibition Era. During Prohibition, bars and hotels began searching for non-alcoholic beverage options to serve as alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. These beverages, which drew their inspiration from the most popular cocktails of the era, became known as ‘mocktails.’

Essential Ingredients for Mocktails

When it comes to crafting the perfect mocktail, attention to detail is key. The right combination of flavors and presentation can elevate the entire experience. Here’s a rundown of the essential ingredients for making mocktails.

  • Fresh fruit juices

  • Sweetening agents like honey or simple syrup

  • Sparkling water for fizz

  • Bitters for depth of flavor

Pairing Rice, Couscous, and Quinoa Appetizers with Mocktails

Now that we’ve got to grips with the essence and origins of mocktails, let’s dive into some elegant and unique ideas for mocktails, complete with the perfect gourmet appetizers to accompany them.

Lemon Sour with Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice

If you enjoy mocktails that explode with refreshing lemony zest, then this Lemon Sour Mocktail recipe will be right down your street. Made with a scintillating combo of citrus fruits and a sweet and sour mix, we recommend pairing it with our Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice. No fish recipe is replete without a dash of lemon, and that’s what makes this mocktail and appetizer pairing a match made in heaven!


  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

  • 1 oz fresh orange juice

  • 2 oz sweet & sour mix

  • Ice

  • 3 oz sparkling water

  • Lemon slice (for garnish)

Step 1

In a glass, add simple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and sweet and sour.

Step 2

Add ice to glass and top with sparkling water. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Mojito Mocktail with Pearl Couscous Watermelon Salad

Hailing from Cuba, Mojitos are perhaps the most popular cocktail beverage in the world. Made with lime juice and mint leaves, this mojito mocktail recipe makes for a delicious and refreshing alcohol-free mojito.


  • 3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz fresh lime juice

  • 6-8 mint leaves

  • Ice

  • 3 oz sparkling water (plain or your favorite flavor)

  • Lime slice (for garnish)

Step 1

In a glass, add simple syrup, lime juice, and mint leaves and muddle.

Step 2

Add ice to glass and top with sparkling water. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Zesty and minty, this Mojito Mocktail calls for a fruity salad recipe to accompany it. This Cucumber, Pearl Couscous, Basil and Watermelon Salad will complement your mojito perfectly. Made with fresh salad ingredients like cucumber and tomato, it’s elevated by the simple addition of refreshing watermelon to a classic pearl couscous salad.

Margarita Mocktail with Jalapeño Quinoa Cakes

Lovers of classic Margaritas cocktails will be glad to know that the mocktail version of the margarita, or Virgin Margarita, as it’s also known, is equally delicious. Made with lime juice, orange juice, agave syrup, salt, and sparkling water, we’ve paired it with Cheesy Jalapeño Quinoa Cakes. The winning combo of citrus fruits and crumbly RiceSelect® White Quinoa makes this mocktail-appetizer pairing an elegant party option. Don’t be surprised if it becomes the surprise hit of the event!

Grapefruit Pom-Paloma with Chicken Salad Puffs

Sweet, spicy, and satisfying, Pom-Paloma beverages also work wonderfully as mocktails. Featuring the flavor combo of grapefruit and pomegranate, with a dash of Mexican tajín salsa for extra spice, picture your guests sipping on this unique beverage as they snack on these elegant Chicken Salad Puffs.

Tart Cranberry Mocktail with Sausage Arancini

Finally, for a mocktail certain to satisfy those with a sweet tooth, why not try out a cranberry-flavored mocktail? Combining sweet and slightly tart cranberry juice with fresh orange juice, mint, club soda, and simple syrup, it’s a cool and refreshing beverage guaranteed to hit the spot. To complement cranberry mocktails, we recommend a savory cheese appetizer such as this Sausage and Sage Arancini recipe. Stuffed with blue cheese, parmesan, walnuts, savory sausage, and RiceSelect® Arborio Rice, it’s the perfect rice appetizer for any occasion.

How to Make Mocktails: Basic Equipment

Whether it’s a cocktail party or a mocktail hour you’re planning, the success of your beverages will depend on how well equipped you are to make them. Consider investing in some of the following items of equipment if you haven’t already.

  • Cocktail shaker: Available in two or three-pieces, shakers are essential during the process of mixing.

  • Mixing jug or glass: Having a glass to pour out the contents of one mix before adding another is also a must.

  • Strainers: Depending on the variety of mocktail you're making, it’s important to have strainers of various sizes at hand. We recommend investing in a Hawthorne, Julep, and fine strainer for optimal results.

  • Long stirring spoon: This is another essential item as regular spoons won’t allow you to mix the ingredients that settle at the bottom of the glass. For this, a long stirring spoon is required.

  • Measure: In order to follow recipes correctly, it’s important to have an accurate measure to ensure that ingredients are added in their precise ratio. Remember: making the perfect mocktail is a fine art!

  • Knife: Finally, you’ll need a sharp knife to slice fruit for a whole host of mocktail drinks.

The Art of Hosting

At RiceSelect®, we believe that hosting your own gathering with gourmet offerings is among the most satisfying experiences in life. That’s why we’re committed to aiding home chefs in their quest to discover new ways to broaden their culinary horizons. With a little craft and creativity, it’s always possible to dazzle your guests with your cooking skills. For more expert tips and exciting new recipes, be sure to check out our blog.