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The mobile caterer's ultimate guide to cocktails and mocktails in the UK | Expert tips and recipes

There are few things more likely to have a queue forming at your mobile bar than a round of freshly made, delicious cocktails. And in these health conscious times, mocktails! But before you begin congratulating yourself on your fabulous new idea to bring in custom, it’s time to sit down and make sure you’ve got what it takes to make it in this competitive market.

We’ve put together an ultimate guide to everything you need to know about cocktails and mocktails. From drinks menu items sure to win over the undecided, to the essential bar equipment any wannabe mixologist needs. Just make sure you’ve also got the right catering trailer insurance for your business needs.


Chapter 1: Cocktails and mocktails – the secret to getting the mix just right

Chapter 2: 5 fabulous cocktails fit to boost your mobile bar offering

Chapter 3: 5 great mocktails to make you stand out from the crowd

Chapter 4: Serving up a storm in style - keeping your mobile bar looking its best

Chapter 5: Smart ideas for mobile cocktail business growth

Chapter 6: Essential bar equipment for you

Passionfruit Martini

Chapter 1: Cocktails and mocktails – the secret to getting the mix just right

Data from the drinks industry has suggested that drinkers are increasingly looking for luxury and premium products. Indeed, Bacardi’s 2022 cocktail trends report noted that 50% of bartenders surveyed said customers are now opting for more premium drinks. With health and mindfulness playing a big part in this move towards premium products it certainly seems that cocktails have a part of play.

With customers becoming more health conscious, it seems they will continue to drink a little less, but opting for higher quality. Undoubtedly they’ll be looking for premium drinks and spirits they can take their time over. And that’s where you come in!

Alongside traditional ‘hard’ cocktails the industry is seeing more and more non-alcoholic cocktails making their way onto drinks menus. Customers are definitely looking for non-alcoholic drinks that deliver different tastes and show off the very best in mixology.

Research from London’s International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) found more than half of drinkers opting for low/no alcohol products rather than going fully teetotal.

This is backed up by research conducted by YouGov for industry watchdog Portman Group which suggests 20% of those who’ve tried low/no alcohol products said they’re more likely to drink these products now compared to a year ago. While 32% regard themselves as semi-regular drinkers of such products.

Around 12% say they now alternate between low/no alcohol products with regular strength drinks to moderate their overall consumption. Clearly, having a range of mocktails to complement your cocktail offering is a wise move for any mobile bar.

Finally, Britvic claims that almost 60% of adults find mocktails or virgin cocktails appealing. With a notable shift in the normal cocktail consumer profile towards parents and males.

If you want to be in the best position to take advantage of such big changes in consumer behaviour it’s vital to have the right catering trailer insurance in place. The helpful team at Mobilers have years of experience in helping mobile caterers find the right cover for them. Why not give them a call today?

Chapter 2: 5 fabulous cocktails fit to boost your mobile bar offering

Anyone who fancies themselves as a capable bartender, has to have a solid range of classic cocktails close at hand. From refreshing Margaritas, to the homely Old-Fashioned, these are just some of the drinks you need to know how to mix.

But it’s easy to brush up on your knowledge with our super simple classic cocktail recipes!


With the salty rim and slice of lime nothing says ‘cocktail time’ quite like the Margarita. Probably the best cocktail ever invented. If you don’t agree, prove us wrong!


  • Dip the entire rim of a Martini or Margarita glass into lime juice and then into a dish of salt.
  • Add 50ml tequila, 25ml triple sec and 25ml lime juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
  • Shake for 30 seconds until the shaker feels cold to the touch.
  • Strain into the salt-encrusted glass. Serve with a slice of lime.

Okay, so if we’re talking Margaritas then we must also mention the delicious Strawberry Margarita. Unlike the traditional Margarita, a Strawberry Margarita is best served frozen as an icy treat. You’ll want to add a powerful blender to your bar setup to create that creamy consistency.


Reigning supreme over the rest of the UK’s favourite cocktails, there are endless variations on this classic Cuban drink. However, our favourite has to be the original. Sheer sublime perfection! If you know how to make it properly, that is.


  • Take a Highball or Collins glass and add the juice of one lime, 1 tsp granulated sugar and a small handful of mint leaves.
  • Muddle the ingredients together, crushing the mint leaves as you go.
  • Now add plenty of crushed ice and pour over 60ml of white rum.
  • Stir with a bar spoon.
  • Top up with soda water, stir again.
  • Add mint leaves and a slice of lime to finish.

The magic in this drink really comes from mixing the mint and sugar to release those super fresh aromas – letting the rum shine through.

For those who really want to get into the holiday spirit then the rum-based Mai Tai is a tropical and fruity treat. Adding a Mai Tai to your cocktail list will result in smiles all round, but be warned: This drink isn’t easily made without a well-stocked bar. To mix one up, you’ll need both light and dark rum, orange liqueur (like Cointreau or Curaçao) and almond syrup. It’s worth the effort, though.


Why not make like James Bond with the classic vodka Martini? You’ll be pleased to hear that it can come both shaken or stirred. And with only three essential ingredients it’s one of the easiest around (and one of the quickest to make). There’s really no excuse for a rubbish Martini!


  • Add 70ml vodka and 15ml dry vermouth to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  • Stir (or shake) vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain into a very cold Martini glass.
  • Add an olive or lemon peel as garnish, and serve.

Because there are so few ingredients in the traditional Martini it’s a drink that is endlessly tweakable. Google reports that both Espresso Martinis and Pornstar Martinis both featured heavily in last year’s most searched cocktails list.

Bloody Mary

The classiest of cocktails is the ultimate brunch time drink. There are few cocktails more likely to put a spring in your step than a well-seasoned Bloody Mary!


  • Pour 50ml vodka, 15ml fresh lemon juice and 125 ml tomato juice over plenty of cubed ice in a Highball or Collins glass.
  • Stir well and garnish with a celery stick and fresh lemon wheel.
  • Have black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco to hand so customers can make it as spicy as they can handle.

An alternative vodka-based cocktail worth having in your repertoire is the Cosmopolitan. Thanks to Sex and The City, the Cosmo is one of the most well-recognised cocktails around.

Old Fashioned

With a history going back at least a couple of hundred years or more, the venerable Old Fashioned is one of the most famous around. If someone orders an Old Fashioned, you’ll know they’re a discerning drinker! Add this drink to your menu if you’re providing cocktails at a wedding or high-class event.


  • Add two dashes of Angostura bitters to 2 tsp sugar syrup and mix together in a Lowball or Rocks glass.
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes and add 50ml whisky and stir gently a few times.
  • Finish with a twist of orange zest or a maraschino cherry.

An Old Fashioned is traditionally made with rye or bourbon, but some mixologists prefer to use other whiskies instead.

This is a no-frills drink that many cocktail connoisseurs won’t appreciate being tampered with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a seasonal tweak to this venerable cocktail. In autumn, Pumpkin Spiced Old Fashioneds could be a real winner! And warm Old Fashioneds are ever so popular in the winter season! Be warned, because there are so few ingredients in this drink, it pays to have a bottle of decent whisky for that wow factor.

Another whisky-based cocktail worth adding to your repertoire is the Manhattan. While the Old-Fashioned uses simple sugar syrup, a Manhattan uses sweet red vermouth. Also, the Manhattan is usually served straight up in a Martini glass.

Something with a bit of fizz

Mobile prosecco bars are a popular choice for those looking to get into the mobile catering game. Are there cocktails you could add to your offering? Well, as luck would have it there are plenty of cocktails that are so easy to make when you’ve got fizz on tap!

Made with sweet, fresh peach puree and prosecco, the Peach Bellini is a sweet, yet crisp cocktail. Incredibly simple to prepare with a jaw-dropping presentation everyone will want one when they see these leaving the bar!

Simply place 2 tbsp of peach puree into a Champagne glass and top with the prosecco. Gently stir and then serve immediately. Delicious!

BBC Good Food has 10 Champagne cocktails that you can make in minutes and will add an extra layer of pizazz to any mobile bar. From Kir Royale to a Champagne Mojito there’s so many to get your taste buds dancing!


Chapter 3: 5 great mocktails to make you stand out from the crowd

According to a survey by Alcohol Change UK around a third of adults are taking steps to moderate their alcohol intake. With health-conscious consumers desperate for something to whet their appetite, mocktails are a useful addition to any mobile cocktail bar menu.

Now is most definitely the time to be looking at the world of mocktails as there’s a huge demand in the market which is only set to get bigger and bigger. But how exactly do you make a mocktail?

The simplest way to get started when it comes to creating mocktails, is to look at the cocktails you have and figure out how to make them non-alcoholic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get really creative. To help you get started try out some of these show-stopping mocktails today.

Spicy Grapefruit Ginger Fizz Mocktail

Looking for a mocktail with a real kick? Then look no further than this spicy number.


  • Muddle together grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, fresh mint leaves and a couple of slices of fresh jalapeno.
  • Add ice to a Highball glass and then strain the grapefruit juice mixture over.
  • Top with ginger beer and stir gently.

Elderflower Apple and Mint Fizz

Cool sophistication, perfect for a summer’s afternoon.


  • Add 20ml elderflower cordial, 50ml cloudy apple juice and a handful of mint leaves to ice in a Highball glass.
  • Squeeze over lime juice and top with sparkling water.
  • Stir gently and add a couple of mint leaves as garnish.

Shirley Temple

The original mocktail is named after the famous child star. And it’s great for those looking for a vintage Hollywood vibe. If you want something less sweet then make the grenadine syrup yourself.


  • Pour a splash of grenadine into a Highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add 100ml of lemon/lime soda and 100ml of ginger ale.
  • Stir and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Alcohol-free amaretto sour

This sweet, sharp and nutty mocktail is hard to distinguish from its boozy namesake.


  • Add 100ml pineapple juice, 50ml lemon juice, 10ml of cherry syrup, a couple of drops of almond extract and half an egg white into a blender.
  • Blend at high speed until the mixture is pale and starting to increase in volume.
  • Add a few handfuls of ice and pulse twice more.
  • Pour into a Lowball glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Virgin Margarita

When it comes to mocktails it’s great to get creative. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. For example, this mocktail takes as its inspiration the most popular drink from any bar, the Margarita. Sweet, tangy, and tart, these are simple to make in no time.


  • Dip the whole rim of a Martini or Margarita glass into lime juice and then into a dish of salt.
  • Add 25ml orange juice, 25ml lemon juice, 50ml lime juice, and 100ml sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice.
  • Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until the shaker feels cold to the touch.
  • Strain into the salt-encrusted glass. Serve with a slice of lime.

One great thing about making your own mocktail is you can customise it any way you like. Want it sweeter? Want it with more tang? All possible with just a few tweaks. There are so many recipes out there you’re really only limited by your imagination.

When arranging catering trailer insurance, you deserve a bespoke package tailored to your mobile bar business. Speak to an insurance specialist to make sure all your needs are met.

Chapter 4: Serving up a storm in style - keeping your mobile bar looking its best

We’ve got lots of great ideas on how to run a mobile bar and one of the best is to know how to market your mobile bar properly. The branding and design of your mobile bar can take a lot of work if you want to get it right.

From seriously cool Airstreams and funky campervans to converted horseboxes, there are so many options available to suit all styles and budgets. But you’ll want the right catering trailer insurance to keep them well protected.

Whether you’re looking to convert a horsebox into a mobile bar or investing in a brand-new catering trailer, take a look at some of these cool ideas for inspiration. 

Chapter 5: Smart ideas to raise the bar when it comes to business growth

Choosing your events wisely is a key part of success when it comes to mobile bars. Add these to your offering to keep your business busy throughout the season.

Corporate events

Companies are often looking to deliver corporate events with a difference. Offering a cocktail and mocktail bar will both entertain and engage guests, while also keeping them well-watered. Check out our guide on how to cater for 100 guests on a budget to help with catering at corporate events.

Private parties

Creating a delicious range of drinks suitable for everyone is too much to ask for most party hosts. Offering a stress-free and fun experience with private bar hire for intimate celebrations is a great idea. And if you’ve really thought about your mocktail offering then you can cover a much larger market.


Oozing class and sophistication, a mobile cocktail bar is perfect for a wedding reception or evening function.

Remember, running a mobile bar isn’t without its risks. Ensure you’ve got adequate catering trailer insurance before you book in any event.

Old Fashioned

Chapter 6: Essential bar equipment for you

Taking a trip into any up-market cocktail bar will leave you bewildered by the sheer variety of equipment available. However, for the vast majority of cocktails you only need a few pieces of basic equipment.

So, if you’re just adding some cocktails and mocktails to your mobile catering trailer menu, then make sure you’ve got these essentials to hand.

Cocktail shaker

Very important indeed and a key mixing tool for great cocktails. There are many different types of shaker on the market.

Hawthorn strainer

This strainer fits on top of cocktail shakers or mixing glasses. It’s the first defence against ice, fruit and other debris getting into your perfectly presented drink.


How else can you get the measures right? They come in various sizes but the key ones are 25ml and 50ml.

Bar spoon

No it’s not just any old spoon. It’s a very long-handled spoon perfect for stirring and layering effectively.

Fine strainer

If you really want high quality presentation for all your drinks then getting those last little bits out before serving is essential.


These pestle-like tools are used to mash and crush fruits and other ingredients. Yes, you can use other items but a muddler really looks the part.

Citrus juicer

Everything tastes better with freshly squeezed juice and it will appeal to your health-conscious customers.

Channel knife

A small spoon-shaped knife great for creating citrus garnish.


Serving your cocktails and mocktails in the appropriate glasses shows great attention to detail and passion for your craft. But the amount of glassware you need can seem never-ending. Some essential glasses you might need include Martini or Margarita glasses, Highball or Collins glasses, Lowball or Rocks glasses, and Champagne and Coupe glasses.

From catering trailer insurance and health and safety advice to glassware and mixers, it’s always vital to use specialist sources for all your mobile bar needs. Catering specialists Nisbets has a great guide to cocktail glasses worth checking out!

So that’s our ultimate go-to guide to cocktails and mocktails. From how to mix up the finest drinks and catering trailer insurance to the best equipment for you, we’ve covered a lot of information here. Is there anything we’ve forgotten?

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