How to Enjoy Alcohol-Free Cocktails for the Sober and ‘Sober Curious’ this Holiday Season

by Alyx Carolus

Mindful sobriety has been touted a new trend in wellness but we’d like to think it’s more than just a buzzword. Due to the ongoing pandemic, many people have started reevaluating their relationship with alcohol – especially as the world entered recurring lockdowns. In 2020, the festivities are looking very different, with many countries around the world entering new lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, people are not spending time with their extended families and it is no secret that drinking can become a source of comfort for many. We don’t shame the choice to drink alcohol, but we acknowledge that choosing sobriety is not easy. The holiday season, especially whether in celebration or in lonesomeness can make the task evermore challenging. For those looking to escape the prospect of overindulgence, we want to offer a few ideas for alcohol-free drinks to indulge freely.

Whether you are sober, “sober-curious”, or simply looking for a mocktail that suits your palette, we have a few options for you!

 

Are you thinking about going alcohol-free?

Earlier this year I wrote about going sober, a choice I’d never thought I’d make but the pandemic really opened up the possibilities of life without alcohol. This season will be the first that I don’t have any champagne or other festive cocktails so I thought it would be great to share some options. If you’re trying to be mindful of your sugar consumption or just want to stay hydrated – alcohol-free drinks are a good idea for the holidays. 

 

Kombucha Cocktail 

 

Kombucha in a cocktail? Yes, you’ve read that correctly. It’s a popular wellness drink touted for having great benefits, like being a source of probiotics, antioxidants and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. 

Our Director of Brand and Business, Roki Prunali shared this recipe in 2018 and it features apple cider shrub, kombucha and honey. It originally was an alcoholic beverage but you can omit the liquor for a tasty, fizzy drink. I personally love kombucha but it’s an acquired taste and not for everyone.  

 

Ingredients
Apple Cider Vinegar Shrub
1 cup of chopped apple
½ cup of water
½ cup of raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of raw honey
½ tablespoon grated ginger
Cocktail
2 tablespoons of ACV Shrub
4 oz of original kombucha

Method:
Stir the apple, water, vinegar, honey, and ginger in a container. Refrigerate for a couple of days, then remove from the fridge and blend until smooth. Strain and remove any solid chunks. Fill a glass with ice, then add the shrub, whiskey and top off with Kombucha.

Image via Cody Chan/Unsplash

Sangria 

 

Sangria is the drink of choice for the summertime. The popular wine-based fruity concoction is perfect for a warm day by the pool or the beach. Have you tried a non-alcoholic version of it before? The Kitchn has a helpful option that has no alcohol and can be brewed in one day using a ton of flavorful ingredients, lemon, lime and pomegranate juice.  

 

Ingredients 

2 cups boiling water

2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser; decaf tea is fine)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Orange (1) sliced into thin rounds

Lemon (1)  sliced into thin rounds

Lime (1) sliced into thin rounds

1 medium apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

3 cups carbonated water

 

Method: 

Pour the boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.

 

In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in glasses over ice.

 

Sparkling Ginger Lemonade 

 

Lemonade might feel like a basic drink to make or enjoy over the festive season, but it’s packed with Vitamin C, aids digestion and can help with hydration. In 2016, Tamu shared her recipe for an easy lemonade with ginger and manuka honey. Manuka honey is adored by celebrities alike (think Kourtney Kardashian et al) and has beneficial properties like soothing a sore throat, improving digestion and can aid with gastric ulcers. Want a little festive fizz? Cool down this lemonade and add some sparkling water with additional garnish. Check out the Taste of Home Sparkling Ginger Lemonade recipe for a sparkling drink with some kick. 

 

Ingredients 

1 cup lemon juice 

2 cups water 

2 cups club soda 

1 cup of honey

2 tablespoons of minced ginger 

 

Method:
In a small saucepan, bring the water, honey and ginger to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding ginger. Cool. Transfer to a pitcher; stir in soda and lemon juice. Serve immediately over ice.

 

Apple Elderflower and Mint Sparkle 

 

If you’ve recently decided to give up alcohol or have more booze-free beverages, chances are you might still have some cocktail mixer ingredients to use up. Elderflower syrup is a popular cordial in so many refreshing drinks – so why not try your hand at this sweet and minty drink from BBC Good Food Magazine. 

 

Ingredients

75ml elderflower cordial 

1l cloudy apple juice 

A handful of mint leaves 

A bottle of sparkling water 

 

Method: 

For a grown-up non-alcoholic drink, mix elderflower cordial with cloudy apple juice. Add a small handful of mint leaves, stir well, then pour into a chilled flask or pitcher.

Pour half glasses of the juice and top up with sparkling water.

 

Featured Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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