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What is a mocktail?

A mocktail is a non alcoholic cocktail: a mixed drink without the liquor! Mocktails are the perfect choice for people who are pregnant or avoiding alcohol. With a little know, you can make drinks that are just as tasty as the real thing.

Here’s how to make a virgin margarita:

  • Lime juice: Always.

  • Lemon juice: Using lemon as well as lime brings nuance to the citrus.

  • Tonic water: Bubbles add a sparkle!

  • Maple syrup or simple syrup: Just a drizzle balances the tartness.

  • Pickle juice: Yes, pickle juice adds that tequila “funk”! Keep reading for why…

The secret? Pickle juice.

The secret to making this virgin margarita taste over the top delicious? Pickle juice. Adding intrigue to the flavor of a mocktail is essential to making them more than just fruit juice. It’s customary to experiment with all sorts of things, including non-alcoholic spirits. But we didn’t want to add a special ingredient you’d have to purchase specially.

That’s where pickle juice comes in! It brings a briny funk to this virgin margarita that makes you feel like there’s a little alcohol in it. But it’s not so much that it’s noticeable! It’s also totally optional, so you don’t have to do it if it weirds you out. But after multiple taste tests, pickle juice in a non alcoholic margarita was the clear winner!

What is tonic water? Can I use sparkling water?

Tonic water is a carbonated water that also contains quinine and is lightly sweetened. It originally was used against malaria, but these days the quinine levels are much lower. Quinine adds a slightly bitter flavor, but it’s not as detectable with today’s lower levels. Even so, there’s something about the nuance of bitter and sweet in tonic water which is hard to replace.

True cocktails and mocktails use tonic water, so we’d recommend finding some if you can! Sparkling water adds only bubbles, but doesn’t have the nuance in flavor. We buy a brand that comes in small cans, which is nice since you’ll only use a little in this virgin margarita.


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lime juice

  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup

  • ⅛ teaspoon pickle juice (optional but recommended!)

  • 3 ounces tonic water

  • For the garnish: Lime wheel


  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).

  2. In the serving glass, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and pickle juice (adds just the right funky flavor to mimic tequila). Add the tonic water and ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve


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