There’s nothing to mock about a good mocktail – but is enjoyment the main ingredient for each experience?

The surge in mocktail popularity goes hand-in-hand with the growing sober curious movement. Being sober curious can mean avoiding alcohol for personal or wellness reasons, or just experimenting with decreasing alcohol consumption in your life.

But regardless of whether you identify with the sober curious movement, mocktails can be a great way to enjoy a drink. So, with that in mind, you may be wondering: what’s the best way to have a mocktail for end-of-summer hang-outs?

We tried three different methods — from restaurant-style to in-a-can — and noted the price, time invested, and quality of the social experience.

I recently went out with a group of coworkers to celebrate a birthday, and living in a sprawled city, driving is the only dependable way to get anywhere. So mocktails seemed like the obvious answer to the age-old question: who’s the DD?

Once we got to the restaurant, asking about the availability of mocktails wasn’t awkward at all—but because we weren’t drinking anything with alcohol, our options were limited. We had three choices from the full list of nine: a Thai basil mocktail, a lychee martini, and a coconut margarita.

I ordered the Thai basil mocktail, but between the four of us, we were able to try all three. They each tasted very similar to their alcoholic counterparts (which the birthday boy so graciously ended up ordering for us to compare). The only difference was that they were missing the bitter aftertaste of the alcohol—which was a very welcome change, in my opinion.

Each drink cost around $7 – around half the price of an alcoholic cocktail. And we opted against a rideshare service, so a lot of money was saved that night, and we still had great conversations. A win-win-win all around.

Nothing says summer like drinks and a pool day. But it’s also no secret that alcohol can dehydrate you, especially if you’re sitting out in the sun. Luckily, mocktails can cool you down without drying you out.

I recently accompanied my pool day with a pineapple Spindrift. I usually don’t enjoy seltzers, but this one was flavorful. A lot of people describe seltzers as someone thinking about a fruit really hard next to a glass of water, but this one actually tasted like the fruit in question. Using real fruit juice probably helped.

I bought a pack of eight cans for just $6, which comes out to 75 cents each. It’s a much more economic option compared to buying drinks at a bar, and you can take them anywhere — the pool, in the car, maybe even out for a walk if you’re into that.

If you want to jazz things up a bit, pour your seltzer into a festive glass and garnish with some fresh fruit.

If you’re feeling a little fancy, DIY mocktails are easy to make and sure to impress. I wanted to make something that would beat the heat, and — in my humble, recently-turned 21 opinion — there’s nothing more summery than a frozen strawberry daiquiri mocktail.

To make the mocktail, I used frozen strawberries, lemon-lime soda, lime juice, strawberry juice, and fresh strawberries for garnish. For two drinks, the total came to around $2.50 each. We love to ball on a budget.

This is definitely the most labor-intensive option out of the bunch. Accounting for ingredient shopping, actually making the drink, and cleanup, the whole process took around an hour.

However, I also found this to be the most rewarding option. It wasn’t a difficult recipe, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment when it turned out well. Call me Carmy!

There are lots of different ways to enjoy a mocktail, but these three methods provide enjoyment for distinct reasons.

Grabbing a mocktail while out at a bar provides the least labor-intensive experience. Staying in and enjoying one yields an inexpensive time of refreshing. And making your own mocktail with ingredients of your choice presents an inventive and overall rewarding time.

However you choose to close out this summer, adding mocktails to it is a cool choice.