You’re off the clock at 5pm sharp and the virtual happy hour starts at 5:30pm—just enough time to make your top-half look presentable and shake up an adult beverage. With the pent-up stressors of the coronavirus quarantine piling atop the usual demands of a typical workday, cocktail culture is more important now than ever. Instead of popping a beer or uncorking another bottle of wine, treat yourself to something special and sophisticated to get the edge off. Here are seven simple vegan cocktails and mocktails to sip on after-hours. 

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1. Vegan Whiskey Sour by The Edgy Veg
Traditional whiskey sours include whipped egg whites, but this veganized version replicates the drink’s silky smooth texture by swapping in aquafaba (whipped chickpea brine—just trust it). Whether you’re using Jim Beam or an aged single malt variety, this libation will go down smooth.

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2. Grapefruit Gingerade Kombucha Mocktail by GTS Living Foods
A quality kombucha makes for an excellent mocktail—the fizzy, flavorful drink experience encourages sips instead of massive swallows. Simply stir in some sparkling water, fruit segments, and a few sprigs of mint with your favorite flavored kombucha and you have an equally sophisticated beverage to toast to your co-workers. Take a tip from this recipe and dip the rim of your glass in coconut sugar—this works for any sweet mocktail or cocktail.

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3. Dirty (or not) Shirley by Real House Moms
It may no longer be your go-to, but that old school mix of lemon-lime soda and grenadine never fails to induce a comforting wave of nostalgia. If you’re drinking the childhood version, add large cubes of ice to a glass then top with one ounce of grenadine, eight ounces of lemon-lime soda (such as 7-Up or Sprite), and as many maraschino cherries as your 12-year-old self desires. For the dirty version, add an ounce of vodka or follow the recipe linked above. 

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4. Chocolate Martini by Om Spirits
For the chocolate connoisseur, what could be better than a luxurious spiked chocolate beverage? Shake soy creamer, chocolate liqueur, and vodka over ice and your night just got exponentially better. Cheers. 

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5. Strawberry Frozé Margarita by Dora’s Table
Frozé (aka frozen rosé) has been a summertime trend for years now, and we just discovered it can get even better by turning it into a margarita. Sip this punchy cocktail and pretend you’re on that Cancún vacation you had to cancel. Sorry, too soon? 

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6. Coconut Old Fashioned by Kat Odell
Cinnamon simple syrup and coconut water make an old fashioned seem new. With just five ingredients (two of them are garnishes), you’ll be shocked by now many flavor notes pass over your tongue on the way down. When we can host parties again, this will be our new house cocktail. 

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7. Seedlip Spice and Ginger Mocktail by Seedlip
Seedlip is a UK-based line of distilled non-alcoholic spirits that have propelled the mocktail trend onto mainstream cocktail menus. While mocktails of the past typically left out the alcohol, Seedlip-based beverages are built around these spirits to deliver the same nuanced tasting experience—without the buzz or hangover. This three-ingredient recipe combines Seedlip Spice with ginger ale over ice. Serve with an orange wedge, and you’re ready for happy hour. 

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: GT’s Living Foods

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