Trying to lighten up this New Year’s Eve? Or planning to take part in Dry January? (It’s a popular movement to abstain from alcohol for a month and a good way to recover from any holiday overindulging.) We can help with some simple, refreshing mocktail recipes that will rival your favorite adult beverages.
If enjoying an occasional beer, glass of wine or cocktail is part of your healthy lifestyle, you know that moderation is key. Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk for many health problems. One good way to moderate drinking is to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.
But if you’re truly sober-curious (or the designated driver), you may want to skip the booze altogether. That’s where a great mocktail comes in. It provides the flavors (tart, smoky, spicy, sweet) and feel (smooth, icy, dry, bubbly) of a cocktail without all the alcohol, added sugars and calories.
When drinking pre-made mocktails from a store, restaurant or bar, watch out for added sugars — they’re often bumped up when the alcohol is taken out. And remember that tonic water has calories and added sugars, but plain club soda, seltzer and mineral water usually don’t.
7 Easy zero-proof drinks you can make at home
- Create a festive, low-calorie holiday refresher by dressing up club soda or seltzer with mint or basil leaves and a few cranberries or raspberries. Try it with sparkling apple cider in a champagne flute for extra flair (and a few more calories).
- The O.G. of mocktails is the Shirley Temple — ginger ale or lemon-lime soda with a splash of grenadine and a maraschino cherry. Lighten it up by replacing half the soda with unsweetened cherry- or lemon-flavored sparkling water. You can also swap out some or all the sugary grenadine for unsweetened cherry juice.
- Mix up a batch of colorful, tasty Fresh Fruit Sangria. Frozen fruit works just as well in the winter.
- Make a simple non-alcoholic version of a kir royale with one part pureed frozen raspberries and three parts sparkling cider.
- Muddle mint leaves or other favorite herbs and fruits into a glass and top with fresh limeade for a mock mojito.
- Add a splash of your favorite 100% fruit juice to club soda or seltzer and garnish with chopped fruit, berries and herbs like basil, rosemary or mint.
- Brew up a strong Raspberry Basil Iced Tea and give it some fizz with a bit of seltzer.
How to lighten up favorite winter drinks
- Go half and half on the ‘nog. Fill half your glass with low-fat or skim milk and then add the eggnog. You’ll get the flavor without all the calories.
- Cut the fluff. With coffee drinks or hot chocolate, skip the big dollop of whipped cream to avoid the extra sugar and saturated fat.
- Spice it up. Try hot chocolate made with low-fat or skim milk and without whipped cream or marshmallows. Sprinkle with grated cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor.
- Read the labels. When buying apple cider, choose options with less added sugar.
- Do it yourself. When making cider at home, use unsweetened apple juice and a variety of spices (like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and whole cranberries) for fantastic flavor with fewer calories.
Switching up your beverages is a good way to get healthier whether you drink alcohol or not. Sugary drinks are the top source of added sugars in the American diet and a big source of empty calories.
So what’s the easiest, cheapest, healthiest thing you can drink? Good old water.
Cheers to a happy and healthier new year!