Sparkling Citrus Pomegranate Mocktail – This bright, crisp pomegranate drink has a delicious sweet-tart flavor and just enough bubbles to keep things fun. You’ll love it all holiday season! (Paleo & Vegan)
A few years ago, our little family of four had Thanksgiving alone for the first time. We went somewhat untraditional in our menu (we’d NEVER have finished even a small turkey alone!), and tried a few new things to make it fun.
One of these was something my kids have just been calling “special drink” ever since, and it’s become a staple around the holidays. Our special drink is a bright, fresh citrus pomegranate “mocktail” (mock cocktail) made from fruit juice, citrus, sparkling water, and a few little extras to jazz it up.
This refreshing nonalcoholic pomegranate drink hits all the right notes for us. It’s sweet, tart, bright, fresh and looks festive as can be! It’s perfect for any party or get-together around the holidays and is perfectly suited for kids and adults alike.
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO OUR CITRUS POMEGRANATE MOCKTAIL…
We make our citrus pomegranate drink with a short, sweet mix of ingredients. No dyes, no added refined sugars. Just simple ingredients like:
- POMEGRANATE JUICE. I love pomegranate juice! It’s got a gorgeous color and has such a delicious blend of sweetness and tartness. I use 100% straight pomegranate juice, but you can also use a pomegranate juice blend. (POM makes several varieties, like pomegranate-cherry, pomegranate-blueberry, etc.). I prefer unsweetened pomegranate juice for our pomegranate mocktail.
- ORANGE JUICE. Our first citrus element is a bit of orange juice. You can use freshly squeezed orange juice or a good-quality store-bought variety. Just know that if your orange juice isn’t great, the flavor will impact this pomegranate drink. (Simply Orange, Evolution, and Uncle Matt’s are a few brands we like)
- LIME JUICE. Next, we round out the citrus flavors with a bit of fresh lime juice. (Don’t use jarred, canned or bottled!) The little bright tang of the fresh lime ties everything together and really makes this feel special. I especially love pairing it with a bit of mint!
- SPARKLING WATER OR SELTZER WATER. (Not sure what the difference is? See the FAQ below!) A little sparkling water or seltzer adds a bit of fizz without any extra sugar. (The juice blend keeps this plenty sweet and the seltzer just adds some fun bubbles!)
- PRETTY GARNISHES. Lastly, we dress up this pretty pomegranate drink with some garnishes. Here are a few you can choose from (it’s so fun to mix and match!)
MAKE IT PRETTY! DRESS UP YOUR POMEGRANATE MOCKTAIL WITH ONE OF THESE CUTE GARNISHES:
- FROZEN CRANBERRIES. Frozen cranberries look so pretty floating in a pomegranate mocktail! The reds are so complementary, and they look like little jewels in your glass. Similarly, you can use…
- POMEGRANATE ARILS. A few pomegranate seeds or arils also look lovely. I love that they add to the pomegranate feel of this drink, and just a few go a long way. If you really want them to stand out, you might want to try…
- FANCY ICE CUBES! Freeze a small wedge of lime, a few crushed mint leaves, some pomegranate arils, or cranberries in an ice cube tray with some water. The cubes look so pretty and will only add to the flavor! (This looks extra impressive if you use an oversized ice cube mold, like this)
- LIME OR ORANGE SLICES. To play up the citrus element in this citrus pomegranate drink, you can add a few thin slices of lime or orange to your glass. (Do know the longer this sits, the more bitterness will pull from the pith (white part) of the fruit, so you don’t want to do it too far in advance. Or, you can add a little slice or wedge to the edge of the glass!
- A SUGAR RIM. A classic sugar rim makes for a fun, sparkly presentation for this pomegranate mocktail! Dip the glasses lightly in water or run a lime or orange wedge around the rim, then dip the glass in a little sugar to “frost” the edges.
- A LITTLE MINT OR ROSEMARY. There’s nothing like some good fresh herbs to dress up a drink! I love how mint plays off these flavors, and how festive rosemary can look. A little goes a long way (especially if you use rosemary), so start small and go from there!
FAQ + TIPS FOR THIS POMEGRANATE LIME MOCKTAIL:
AN EASY WAY TO MEASURE: If you’re making single servings, a little shot-glass measuring cup can really help you get an accurate measure. (If you’re making a pitcher or punch bowl, you’ll probably be ok without one.)
MIX THE JUICES BEFORE ADDING SELTZER. Be sure to mix up the juices before you add the sparkling water/seltzer. (That way you don’t accidentally stir out all the bubbles!)
CAN I MIX THIS CRANBERRY MOCKTAIL UP EARLY? Sort of. You can mix up the juices + add the mint (if using) in advance, but for best results, you really want to wait to add the sparkling water until right before serving to preserve the bubbles.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELTZER AND SPARKLING WATER? They’re both fizzy water and are often labeled interchangeably. The real difference is the source of the fizz or bubbles. If it’s naturally bubbly (like Perrier or San Pellegrino), it’s considered sparkling water. If it’s artificially bubbly or carbonated (i.e. the bubbles have been added, as in Spindrift or La Croix), it’s technically considered seltzer water. Either will work for this pomegranate mocktail recipe!
CAN I USE FLAVORED SPARKLING WATER? Yep! If flavored sparkling waters (Spindrift, La Croix, etc.) are your jam, you can totally add a complementary flavor to this instead of plain sparkling water.
HERE’S A FUN TWIST TO TRY. You can also use ginger beer (stronger) or ginger ale (milder) instead of sparkling water. It’ll add a bit of sugar, but it also adds a lovely warm ginger flavor that’s lovely with the pomegranate and citrus!
TOO TART? TRY THIS. If your juice is running tart (it happens!), you can sweeten the juice mixture with 1-2 Tbsp. of honey or agave syrup before adding the sparkling water. Make sure to whisk it well before adding the seltzer!
HELPFUL FOR THIS RECIPE: