Espresso Mocktini (no, it's not iced coffee) (2024)

I participated in Dry January like many others at the top of the year, wanting to calm my drinking habits and give my body a chance to recover from the holiday celebrations and New Year festivities. I approached the month expecting I’d crave wine and co*cktails more than ever since I was restricting myself, but what I didn’t expect was how pleasant it was being sober for the month.

An outcome for me from Dry January is not keeping alcohol in my home anymore. But, because I truly enjoy the fun that goes into making co*cktails and the aesthetics of it all, I make mocktails to treat myself when I still want to have the experience of sipping a nice drink.

I love a good espresso martini and will still order them when I’m out at dinner or brunch, but when I’m home, this mocktini recipe has become a staple for me. It’s a nice balance of creamy vanilla and espresso-forward flavors that I sip during or after a meal or on its own depending on my mood.

If you’re interested in learning more about why I decided to become sober curious this year, continue reading past the recipe.

Espresso Mocktini (no, it's not iced coffee) (1)

Espresso Mocktini

— ingredients (makes 1 mocktini) —

2 oz espresso

1/2 oz non-alcoholic coffee liqueur (see note below)

1/2 oz non-alcoholic Kahlua cream

1/4 oz vanilla simple syrup*

3 espresso beans

— tools —

co*cktail Shaker

Double Strainer


Your favorite coup glass

— instructions —

  1. Add all ingredients into shaker over ice

  2. Shake well until foam starts to form (seriously, shake well - if you think you shook well, do a few more shakes for good measure)

  3. Strain mocktini in your favorite coup glass

  4. Add espresso beans & enjoy

— note —

I aerate the non-alcoholic coffee liqueur to let the flavor breathe from the bottle (just like how you aerate wine). I found that doing this gets rid of the “fake alcohol” taste that some of these liqueurs have. If you don’t have an aerator, just pour the recipe’s amount of ounces into a glass and let it sit for a few minutes before making the drink.

*Simple Syrup Recipe

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

— instructions —

  1. Boil water

  2. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat then add in sugar and vanilla bean

  3. Stir sugar and bean until the sugar melts and becomes syrup

  4. Let the syrup cool before using

— note —

feel free to add more than the espresso mocktini recipe suggests if you like your drinks a little sweeter

Sober Curiosity (continued)

Consuming alcohol was becoming a problem for me. I hated feeling lethargic the day after no matter how many drinks I had. I was always dehydrated no matter how much alkaline water I drank before, after, or in between drinks. My mind still felt a bit cloudy even after sobering up. A month of no alcohol removed all of these drinking side effects, and I decided to explore being sober curious - my way - after Dry January was over.

Breaking a habit is challenging, though, so I put boundaries on myself to make sure I could do it successfully. One boundary was to stop bringing alcohol into my home. It was so easy for me to open a bottle of wine or make a quick co*cktail after work, which could turn into me drinking more than half the bottle of wine or pushing my one-too-many-drinks limit because I made the excuse of being at home anyway. It also made me reevaluate where I go out because I noticed that I would drink heavier in environments that I was lowkey uncomfortable in just for the sake of going and hanging out. Now, even though I may have a drink or two, if I know I won’t enjoy myself sober in the environment I’m in, I just don’t go.

I’ll never be one to say that mocktails are going to hit the same as co*cktails. Some ingredients with alcohol just set a drink off so much better. But, I now drink to genuinely enjoy the experience of a crafted co*cktail and the flavors that are incorporated, and enjoy alcohol alternatives at home just as much. I’m still going to wineries and ordering drinks like espresso martinis at dinner, but on a very limited and boundary-set basis so I’ll feel confident about my relationship with alcohol.

If you like espresso martinis and are exploring becoming sober curious or just want to lay off from drinking a little bit more than you are already, try this mocktini recipe. What I like about it is that you can make it your own pretty easily. Swap out vanilla simple syrup for another simple syrup flavor you may enjoy better. I just grab an espresso from Starbucks or whatever is on sale at the grocery store, but use whatever espresso you love.

Have fun with it - that’s the point, right? Enjoy!

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Espresso Mocktini (no, it's not iced coffee) (2024)
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