Top Nosh News

Zero-Proof Happy Hours

May 14th, 2020 | Dining Program | Food Trends | Uncategorized


When happy hours go spirit-free they can become an excellent opportunity for employees to bond at the office, especially if you have an on-site cafe to host the event and supply the drinks! Mocktails, or alcohol-free cocktails, are a growing trend among young professionals. While alcohol used to be a reason for workers to meet up after work, the mocktail trend makes after-work social gatherings more inclusive of those who may not drink. The growing mocktail trend is full of intense colors, globally-inspired flavors, and ingredients that offer health benefits too.

A New Attitude

American workers have become more health-conscious in recent years. For those who are cutting carbs or limiting sugar intake, alcohol consumption may no longer align with their fitness goals. While health benefits top the list of reasons to lower alcohol intake, a recent Nielson study shows that 66% of Millenials are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption as part of the “sober-curious” movement. That trend is likely to continue with Gen Z, who according to research firm Mintel are concerned about over-drinking exploits landing on social media, and find late nights at bars something they might be better off avoiding.

Young professionals today are also more aware and more open to talking about alcohol addiction and mental health. As such, they are looking for social opportunities where friends can meet without the pressure to drink alcohol. Bars and restaurants are taking notice. According to Mintel, the appearance of mocktails on restaurant menus increased by 32% between 2016 and 2019. In Baltimore, bars like Hotel Revival, Topside, and True Chesapeake Oyster Co. all have standing mocktail menus. Alcohol-free bars like Getaway in Brooklyn are popping up nationwide. Alcohol-free Sans Bar was started by Chris Marshal in Austin, TX but now has locations in Nashville, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Focusing on Function

With mocktails, drinkers feel they are doing something good for their bodies while experiencing new sensory adventures among friends. It’s the next wave of foodies. These bold-hued drinks feature beets and matcha. Flavors are refreshing and botanical, taken from herbs like basil, cilantro, lavender, and elderflower. There are also exotic blends featuring dragon fruit, coconut, prickly pear, and spices from Latin America and Asia like guava, chili, cayenne, and cardamom.

Today’s high-end mocktails often focus on functional ingredients with added health benefits. Ready-to-drink brands like Kin Euphorics and Curious Elixirs help drinkers relax and destress through adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens like arctic root, schisandra, and ashwagandha can boost mental clarity, energy levels, and reduce stress and anxiety. CBD, known for its pain-reducing properties,  continues to be a common functional ingredient in mocktails. And watch for popular hangover remedy, Dihydromyricetin or (DHM), to emerge as a popular functional ingredient in 2020.

Make Your Own Mocktail

Are you sober-curious? Our executive chef has whipped up some delicious mocktails to try while relaxing on your deck at home or at your next cookout this summer. Click on the link to print recipe cards!


cucumber lime summer spritz

Cucumber Lime Summer Spritz

A cool, sweet and sour, fizzy refresher for summer. Hot sauce is optional here, but the salt will bring out individual flavors.

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cucumber watermelon refresher

Cucumber Melon Refresher

Cool refreshing cucumber juice and a hint of lime compliment the watermelon in this refresher. Pro tip: Juice your cucumber and watermelon ahead of time and keep cold in the refrigerator.

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strawberry jalapeno mockarita

Jalapeno Strawberry Mockerita

Sweet and spicy, this red berry mocktail has just a splash of refreshing fizz.

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pineapple orange crush

Pineapple Orange Crush

Sweet and citrusy with a splash of fizz. Pro tip: fill your glass with plenty of finely crushed ice.

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rasberry lavender lemonade

Rasberry Lavender Lemonade

Sweet, tangy freshly squeezed lemonade with lavender floral undertones and raspberry syrup.

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shirley temple ginger fizz

Shirley Temple Ginger Fizz

A spiced-up take on a non-alcoholic classic.

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strawberry shrub

Strawberry Jalapeno Shrub

A cordial for mixing. Pro tip: don’t boil these items too hard, it will cloud the syrup and over thicken the shrub.

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During Office Hours

If your office features on-site dining keep mocktails on your radar as a special perk for clients and employees alike. Happy hours that don’t involve designated drivers and align with your company’s wellness initiatives are a win for employers and employees alike. Mocktails offer many exciting opportunities for those with business dining cafes. Why not have your culinary team work up a custom office drink?  Really “wow” your next client with a special drink at a catered meeting.  Feature a special drink at your next holiday party or invite employees to an after-hours event that encourages team building and comradery. 

Top Nosh cafes focus on healthy dining options for employees. We love fresh ingredients, bold new flavors, and foods that are good and good for you. The same ideas that are making the mocktail craze so popular. So as you sip down that Raspberry Lavender Lemonade think about if a totally customizable business dining solution is a good fit for your office. If it is, contact us and start a conversation. We’ll always drink that!