Nonalcoholic drinks have long suffered the “virgin” label—images of sickly sweet pretend cocktails flit through the memory—but there are plenty of drinks we turn to when alcohol isn’t right. Though we’re not averse to adding alcohol to any of these drinks, they are delicious and refreshing on their own.
1. The Shirley Temple, also known as a kiddie cocktail, was reportedly invented at the Beverly Hills restaurant Chasen’s (now defunct), specifically for the eponymous child star. Several recipes claim authenticity, some made with 7UP and some with ginger ale. From what we can tell, the original recipe contained ginger ale on the rocks, topped with grenadine syrup and garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice. We’ve heard reports of a splash of orange juice as well.
2. Can’t decide between lemonade and iced tea? Do as CHOW editor-in-chief Jane Goldman does, and order an Arnold Palmer refreshing half-and-half ration of the two. It’s named after the pro golfer, who put his name on a commercial version. (We prefer to mix the drink ourselves; it’s easy.)
3. We love this simple recipe for Southeast Asian Sweet Coffee. In Vietnam and Thailand, this eye-opening concoction is made by simply combining strong brewed coffee with sweetened condensed milk. It’s great hot or cold.
4. The Agua de Jamaica recipe that we created for our “Burrito Bar” feature was modeled after the versions we find in many of the taquerias in San Francisco. It’s made with Jamaica, or hibiscus, flower pods and brewed in basically the same manner as iced tea. But unlike iced tea, this drink is tart, tangy, and deep magenta in color. It’s got a kick of ginger, too!
5. At its best, hot cocoa is sublime. At its worst, it’s chalky, watery, and too sweet. This version, provided by François Payard of Payard Patisserie & Bistro, is definitely in the former category: so creamy, rich, and chocolaty that it’s a suitable stand-in for dessert.
6. Nothing warms to the core like a nice hot mug of Mulled Apple Cider. We’ve infused ours with classic fixings like cinnamon, allspice, and orange, but kicked it up a bit with the addition of star anise, fresh ginger, and black peppercorns.
7. The person who first gilded the lily by mixing malted milk powder into a vanilla milkshake deserves a medal. A perennial favorite of CHOW editor Regan Burns, the vanilla malt is the ultimate harmonious relationship—the perfect marriage of cold and creamy, deepened with the addition of malted wheatiness.
8. If you grew up in the age of malls, you’ve probably had an Orange Julius from the eponymous juice stand. Though we associate it with the ‘80s, the drink dates back to the 1920s. Yes, it was odd, but you know what? It was pretty darn good too.
9. There’s something simultaneously calming and reenergizing about Moroccan mint tea. Its sweetness pairs well with cookies and pastries (try it with Florentine cookies), while the mint takes the sweet edge off without putting you to sleep. You can find it in most Moroccan restaurants.
10. Our Kiwi Soda is made with ripe kiwifruit and sweetened with agave nectar. It’s fruity, sparkly refreshment. (And perfect at parties for guests who don’t drink alcohol.)