A new year is upon us, so you might be looking to cut down on drinking with a round of mocktail recipes. But while you might be willing to give up the booze, you're not willing to give up flavor. Fortunately, you don’t have to with these juicy drinks.
So if you want the fun of sipping while socializing without dealing with the effects of alcohol (think: headaches and sluggishness, among other more severe health impacts) meet these snazzy mocktails and refreshing nonalcoholic drinks. Booze-freedom doesn't need to mean boredom. Whether you’re participating in dry January or are giving up booze altogether, these mocktail recipes are just as satisfying as the real deal. Here you’ll find a virgin paloma, a zero-proof michelada, an Aperol-free spritz, and so many more beverages. If you’re not yet sober curious, you will be soon.
In 2021, a NielsenIQ survey showed that 22% of consumers reported they were cutting back on alcohol consumption. Why? Health and wellness took the cake as the top reason why people were turning towards low-ABV and nonalcoholic beverages, followed by a lack of opportunity and general lack of interest.
Some brands like Seedlip, Blake Lively’s Betty Buzz, Katy Perry’s De Soi and others offer nonalcoholic spirits made with carbonated water and fruit juices, botanicals and natural adaptogens. These spirits can be sipped on their own as an apéritif or shaken with other mixers for a booze-free cocktail. Or, better yet, experiment with them and one of our many mocktail recipes below.
This fizzy alcohol-free spritzer is perfect for sipping when you want something crisp and refreshing but are refraining from rosé.
Not to be dramatic, but there’s nothing worse than a cold beverage that gets watered down by melted ice cubes. To combat that, we’ve frozen the base of a Shirley Temple into a popsicle mold — water, grenadine and lime juice — and served the pops in a glass with ginger ale.
This is a delicious variation on the espresso martini. Although not true to the classic, it displays a great way to manipulate texture and add complexity to a nonalcoholic cocktail.
This drink has everything you love about a mai tai (aka a tropical juice bomb of orange juice, pineapple juice, and lime juice) without anything that you don’t love (aka tomorrow’s hangover).
If you love gin and tonics but need to ditch the gin, this drink uses lemon, corinader, elderflower, ginger and juniper berries to achieve that refreshing, citrusy, botanical taste.
This recipe calls for a good amount of mixology technique — shaking, straining and muddling — so it really feels like you're treating yourself to a fancy drink.
"This recipe uses one of my favorite shrubs that’s made with plenty of orange peel," says Maureen Petrosky. "I like to make this with a nonalcoholic IPA-style beer, which is high in hops (hence the name). Perfect for any beer-lover, this refreshing sip is great for tailgating or just kicking back outdoors."
Matcha powder has lots of health benefits, including antioxidants, and is said to have a calming effect on the body. So this little green cocktail is the perfect zero-proof pick for a healthy and relaxing happy hour. Typically, sours call for an egg white, but this recipe uses aquafaba (the liquid found in a can of chickpeas) instead. You achieve identical results — rich texture and a pretty froth on top — without the worry of raw eggs.
The Paloma, a tequila cocktail that hails from Mexico, gets a sober makeover here that is just as salty, sweet and perfect for cooling down any hot day. Bubbly grapefruit seltzer gives body to this gorgeous sip and a big batch will keep the party going.
Everyone has a take on this Mexican beer-tail. Here, we’re dressing up a nonalcoholic lager with tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and lime. No matter if you make it spicier or less spicy than this recipe, serve this refreshing sip for brunch or lunch or even an early happy hour.
This is an Aperol-less spritz. The orange and tea mimics the Aperol with bitter tannins, while the fresh orange juice serves as a delicious base for this drink. The one thing that we couldn’t let go of? An orange slice for a garnish.
"This is a take on a drink I came up with at my restaurant, the Lambs Club, with bourbon honey and lemon juice," says Geoffrey Zakarian. "Here, I use spiritless whiskey, honey simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white. It tastes almost like a whiskey sour."
The rum swazzle is Zakarian’s version of a Manhattan, which is, in his opinion, one of the greatest drinks ever. A combination of nonalcoholic rum, ground ginger and lavender simple syrup is a simple but elegant take on a classic drink. And the Luxardo cherry on top makes it!
A great margarita is nothing without lime. This homemade lime simple syrup hits all the notes you want from a stellar margarita. Top it off with soda water for a fizzy finish. To give this mocktail even more true margarita flavor, add a salted rim to the glass before pouring.
Ginger is still the star of the show in this alcohol-free version of a classic Moscow mule. Lime adds acidity and combining the two in an easy-to-make syrup brings out a touch of sweetness. Top it with soda water.
This is a riff on Jordan Salcito's low-proof grapefruit wine spritz — it’s just nonalcoholic. Grapefruit is always refreshing in a spritz, while extra-dry ginger ale keeps the drink bright and bitters ensure balance.
Transport yourself to paradise with Giada's strawberry-basil agua fresca. Experiment with your favorite fruits and herbs to make your own customized version of the nonalcoholic drink.
Looking for something in lieu of morning mimosas? A special drink sets the tone for a great meal. This fizzy drink will help keep any brunch light and lively.
This bubbly, ginger-laden sip hails from Hong Kong. It's brightly flavored with naturally spicy ginger beer, ginger ale and a touch of lime juice.
Frozen grapes make a simple and delicious alternative to ice cubes because they keep drinks cool without watering them down. Not only do frozen grapes keep this sparkling grape and citrus sipper cold; they double as a nice treat to snack on.
This zero-proof drink has a tart and tangy flavor, thanks to the lemon-lime shrub. If you like a spicy margarita, try this one on for size. It just might become your new go-to drink.
Bubbles aren't just found in a flute of Champagne or a glass of seltzer. This drink is inspired by the beautiful wreaths decorating the shopfronts of New York City during the holidays. It will wake up your palate with the kick of ginger.
This is a wintry twist on a classic summer cocktail. Vivian Chan loves experimenting with kumquats in the kitchen because of their tangy-sweet flavor. When in peak season, they're so juicy that they quite literally explode with freshness to wake you up from the winter blues.
This espresso "martino" is the perfect pick-me-up at the end of a heavy winter meal. The warm spices bring this mocktail to a whole new level.
This mocktail is a typical agua fresca in Mexico made from hibiscus flowers — with the spicy addition of ginger.
Gin and tonics are a classic because the combo allows the botanicals of a great gin to ring through. By subbing juniper tea for gin, you still have botanical notes on full display without any alcohol.
Whether served cold or hot, apple cider is a seasonal staple for a reason. The homemade spiced syrup in this recipe elevates and adds the complexity needed to wow anyone drinking it. This batch is perfect because the whole family can enjoy it together as a nonalcoholic beverage.
Add a refreshing, vacation-like twist to your morning cold brew with this mojito-inspired coffee drink.
The floral and citrusy flavor of baobab powder makes this invigorating ginger beer even more refreshing. Using a duo of fresh and ground ginger amplifies the naturally sharp zing of the aromatic root.
"This refreshing summer treat reminds me of visiting my grandma in southern Japan," says Candice Kumai. "I have so many memories with her and cherished summers with yuzu and kabosu."
The combination of sweet and sour cherries makes this limeade a standout virgin sip.
This is an incredibly refreshing drink made from the vibrant dried flowers of the red sorrel plant, which is reputed to offer many health benefits including reducing blood pressure and calming nerves. The flowers have a sharp-sour punch, but when sweetened with sugar, the juice resembles cranberry juice.
Compared to the regular basil that you’re probably used to finding in the grocery store, Thai basil is spicier and stronger. It’s a delicious herb to perk up a glass of sweet lemonade.
A traditional Arnold Palmer recipe calls for mixing equal parts of black iced tea and lemonade; we made this one just a touch sweeter by incorporating homemade simple syrup.
Adding just one scoop of matcha powder to this refreshing summer sipper gives it a green tint and a boost of antioxidants.
Inspired by a Moscow mule — the vodka-based cocktail mixed with lime and ginger beer — this mocktail combines a thyme-based simple syrup with grapefruit juice and ginger beer for a thirst-quenching beverage.