To celebrate the launch of Schweppes ‘12 Twists of Christmas’ event in London’s West End, we mingled with some celebs as well as picking up some tips on what makes a great mocktail from mixologist Matt Whiley.

On a cool December evening, we nipped into a little tucked-away bar just off Leicester Square. Here among the bright lights and bubble-themed bar, we joined pre-Christmas revellers to enjoy some delicious Schweppes mocktails. We weren’t the only ones, reality TV stars Hugo Taylor, Nicola Hughes, Lucy Watson and James Dunmore were all enjoying a festive tipple too. And so was Maitre D, Fred Sirieix.

Don’t forget about the designated drivers

At this time of year, the heroes of the party season are often forgotten about – they’re the ones who stay sober so their friends and family can enjoy a tipple on a night out. But just because they’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a delicious drink. So we decided to get some advice from mixologist Matt Whiley about what makes a great mocktail. Ideal if you’re the Designated Driver.

1. Get creative.

“At this time of year it’s always really good to buy lots of fresh produce to use in your mocktail,” says Matt. “Look into your herb and spice cupboards. There are loads of Christmas spices you can take advantage of – ginger, orange, cloves. Be creative! Try new things to find out which flavours work well together. Have some fun with it.” Matt also suggests studding your lemons with cloves for a festive flavour.

"Schweppes is the King of Bubbles! So much of taste is smell and having those bubbles popping in your glass brings the aroma up to your nose and makes your drink taste even more delicious.”
-- Matt Whiley, Mixologist

2. Do use lots of ice.

It may seem like using lots of ice might water down your drink, but that’s not the case, says Matt. “The more ice you use the colder it keeps the drink – so the ice doesn’t melt and water it down. Just because it’s a mocktail doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the flavours strong. Make sure it’s not diluted.” 

3. Go easy on the sugar.

“The temptation with mocktails can be to make them extra sweet.” That’s a mistake says Matt. “Go for a subtle taste – Schweppes is perfect for that.

“I’m also a big fan of garnishes and peels. There are a lot of hidden oils in citrus fruits. Squeezing those into your drink adds a lot of flavour.”

Matt says even just adding a simple lemon twist or orange peel to your Schweppes Tonic Water will really help to complement the refreshing taste without needing to add extra sugar.

4. Make the most of bubbles.

“Bubbles are what makes the flavours come alive in your mouth,” says Matt. “And Schweppes is the King of Bubbles! So much of taste is smell and having those bubbles popping in your glass brings the aroma up to your nose and makes your drink taste even more delicious.”

5. Go for quality, not quantity.

“Often when people make cocktails they’ll make them really long and they’ll add too much of one thing. And that will ruin it. Keep it short,” explains Matt. It also means that you’ll savour and enjoy the flavours a lot more while drinking.

6. Make it look fabulous.

Just because it’s a mocktail doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look good enough to drink. “We try and make every drink look mouth-watering. So that means the little extra flourishes, such as garnish,” explains Matt. 

“A lot of our enjoyment of food and drink comes from its presentation. Your guests will enjoy it more if they can see you’ve taken the time to make them something that looks great. And remember to use the right glass.”

Fancy making some Schweppes mocktails this Christmas? Try some of these non-alcoholic delicious drinks.