The Best Alcohol-free Drink - Ipanema
As "mocktails" are usually long drinks, it is even twice wrong, to connect them to a cocktail [which is technically a short drink with alcohol].
Apart of this, I am not a big believer in mocktails. Sodas can be fantastic [home made grapefruit soda is fantastic, or homemade ginger ale, ginger beer or any other odd ingredient sodas]. Juices - fine.
Lemonades - yes, refreshing and good. And iced teas - can be absolutely amazing. Hence you don't need sickly sweet syrupy juice mixtures.
Most of them a mimicking drinks with alcohol. You can make a pretty good alcohol-free Planters Punch, Hurricane or Mojito, if you are using Caribbean Syrup. Or you can use a juniper syrup for some alcohol-free gin drinks.
A drink which I got to know long time ago, very early in my career, is a bit a different beast [well - you cannot call an alcohol-free drink a beast really, but you get the point]. I worked in an American bar and restaurant, called Louisiana and this was one of the most popular drinks without booze.
Truth has to be told - the Ipanema is also mimicking [at least a bit] an alcoholic drink: the Caipirinha - however it doesn't substitute the cachaça with a booze-tasting ingredient - it just goes into a complete different direction adding the exotic passionfruit.
1 piece lime
1.5 piece passion fruit
2 bar spoon sugar [or 2 leveled bar spoons of fructose]
30 ml fresh orange juice
Ginger ale to fill up [home made would be the best!]
Scoop the seeds and fruit flesh out of one passionfruit and add to a glass.
Roll the lime under your palm until it gets softer. Cut the lime into 8 pieces [first half the lime and then quarter the halves] and add to the glass. Add the sugar.
Muddle until really juicy and the sugar is almost dissolved.
Fill up the glass with ice [full of ice] - cracked ice is fine as well as crushed ice - only big ice cubes don't work here.
Add the orange juice and stir.
Fill up with ginger ale and stir again to retain the carbonation.
Garnish with a passionfruit half and lime wheel.
This is my [contemporary] recipe. The original @ Louisiana used passionfruit nectar, which you cannot compare at all with fresh passionfruit [fresh is so much better]. However I had to add fresh orange juice, as the fresh passionfruit is stronger [more acidic and much more concentrated] as nectar - and you can't use that much.
Anyway - the drink is so good, that I featured it on all bar menus, I have written since then [and these are quite a lot]. Is it as good as an alcoholic drink?
You cannot compare tofu to a ribeye steak - can you? It is just different.
But as alcohol-free option, besides of a properly prepared iced tea, lemonade, soda [...] it is definitely fantastic. Much better than your usual mixed fruit juices or sickly sweet juice mocktails.
Try it - you will be pleasantly surprised!