Making a nonalcoholic cocktail, or mocktail, out of fruit juice, fizzy liquid and a garnish turns family dinner into an event. Mixing up customized cocktails is also a way of enticing your child to ingest more fruits and vegetables and ensures she doesn't feel left out at a party full of martini-sipping adults.
Any fruit juice works as the base for a mocktail, as does lemonade. Use club soda, sparkling juice or lemon-lime soda for fizz. Tart ingredients such as lime or cranberry juice add depth but can overpower a child's palate; try using ratios of 2 to 4 parts sweet liquid to 1 part sour. Add whole chunks of fresh fruit or use frozen berries as a replacement for ice cubes. Experiment with using coconut milk, muddled mint leaves, cucumber, tomato juice and ice cream in mocktails too.
One surefire way to make a tasty kiddie cocktail is to make a virgin version of a popular adult drink. Blend a daiquiri using banana, coconut milk and pineapple juice, or make virgin sangria by soaking fruit in a combination of sparkling grape and cranberry juices. A kiddo who loves spice might enjoy a mixture of tomato juice, lime juice and hot sauce. A drink with visual interest will appeal to kids, too. Try stirring together a few kinds of light-colored liquids, such as lemonade and orange juice, then drizzle grenadine into the center of the glass. It will sink and create colorful layers.
Use bright colors and tasty treats to make the finished drink look enticing. Dip the rim of a glass in juice or simple syrup and then press it into a plate of colored sugar, crushed candy or sprinkles. Invite your child to stir together ingredients or shake them up in a sealed jar or cocktail shaker. Ask her to taste the drink and help you make adjustments until it pleases her. If you've rimmed the glass, carefully pour the cocktail into the center of the glass so as not to disturb the rim. Finish the mocktail by adding a stirrer made from a fruity candy cane or a skewer packed with chunks of fruit.
If alcoholic drinks are around when your child is drinking her mocktail, make sure she can tell the difference between her drink and an adult's spiked beverage. Pour her drink into a style of glass that no other guests are using, or affix stickers to a plastic glass so she can always spot her own drink in a crowd. Tell your child that she might sometimes see other drinks around that look like her mocktails, but that she should never drink from a glass unless you or another trusted adult has made it specifically for her.