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Blake Lively Taught Me How to Make the Perfect Mocktail

The actress shared her top tips for impressing party guests.
Mistletoe Mixer (recipe below). Image courtesy of Betty Buzz

Mistletoe Mixer (recipe below). Image courtesy of Betty Buzz

Blake Lively is the queen of style, design and cooking. In short, she’s a fabulous party host. And with husband Ryan Reynolds tackling the booze market with Aviation Gin, Lively decided to create the perfect companion: non-alcoholic mixers.

Launched in September, Betty Buzz is a range of non-alcoholic sparkling mixers made with clean ingredients like real juice and no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. They were designed to be ideal for serving spirits. But Lively wanted them to be tasty enough to be enjoyed independently. So, to prove her point, The Shallows star hosted a virtual mocktail-making class recently that I attended where she shared her secrets that work with or without alcohol. And her tips were awesome (plus a bonus recipe).

Rub Garnish on the Glass Rim

Lively has found a way to make a drink have pop without being overpowering. “Part of [the drinking experience] is smell,” she explained. “So I’ll tear a little mint or other garnish and rub it on the edge of the glass. You just get a little bit more of that flavor. Whenever you rub a leaf, the aromas come out."

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Use Fancy Ice Cubes

“I’m such a fan of using pretty ice because it suddenly just feels like a party—it feels so much more of a treat to have nice ice,” she added. “Even if it’s just round ice, it looks like much more of an experience." Plus, Lively noted, having bigger, fancier ice helps keep garnishes like a cinnamon stick or herb sprig upright.

Create a Drink Like a Parfait

“I like to make my drinks like a parfait,” said Lively. “When you’re mixing, certain things will fall to the bottom differently. So if you just have apple juice on the bottom and ginger beer on the top, maybe it does nothing. But a new layer will give you a hit of more apple juice or sweetness, for example.” She also shared how with a Christmas-themed drink, you can make a subtle candy cane pattern with the different red liquids.

Pile Ice Higher Than the Liquid

Lively also shared another ice trick. She suggested piling the ice higher than the liquid. Why? Well, it looks more chic and prevents the garnishes from drowning. With garnishes more upright, their aroma helps boost the drink without dominating it.

Follow these tips and tricks and your mocktails (or cocktails) are sure to impress. Keep reading for a festive bonus holiday mocktail recipe below.

Mistletoe Mixer

  • 2-3 ice cubes or ice spheres
  • miniature candy canes, crushed
  • 1 bottle Betty Buzz tonic water
  • 1-2 barspoons of Aviation American Gin
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint extract
  • 1.5 oz pomegranate juice, or more to taste
  • ¼ fresh whole pomegranate, plus seeds
  • 1-2 fresh mint leaves

Place crushed candy canes on a small plate. Dip the rim of a highball glass into the juice, then dip into a plate with candy canes to rim. Add 2-3 ice cubes to the glass. Pour tonic water into the glass and fill halfway to the top. Add 1-2 barspoons of gin (if desired). Add a single drop of peppermint extract to a barspoon and then whisk excess extract off to coat the spoon. Then, stir the drink with the spoon. Add pomegranate juice to the glass. Pour in additional tonic water on top. Add a squeeze of fresh pomegranate juice and a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds. Garnish with a mini candy cane and mint leaves, if desired, on the side of the glass.