I, admittedly, never gave much thought to finding alcohol alternatives when I got sober. My go-to drink at parties and bars was usually a soda. So much sugar and caffeine! I ended up feeling wound up, bloated and peeing just as often as my inebriated buddies.
Recently, I started experimenting with different mocktails and booze alternatives and I have must say, I’ve been missing out!
Mocktails and other booze substitutes can be fun and relaxing. It’s all about finding the right ones.
So in that spirit, here’s my list of delicious alcohol alternatives for days you want to get a little fancy with your beverage choice.
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Alcohol Alternative #1: Curious Elixirs
Curious Elixirs are booze-free, craft cocktails formulated with adaptogens to help you relax. They’re made with high-quality ingredients and no refined sugar (hello!).
Their cocktails are designed to mimic high-end cocktails with unique flavor profiles but without the booze.
I. Love. Them.
This honestly surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy them as much as I did. I never drank alcohol for the taste and was rarely impressed by overly complicated (and over-priced) cocktails.
But perhaps I was wrong? Because these are so nice.
The taste and uniqueness really do mimic the experience of having a cocktail, but not in a triggering way. They have enough bite and fullness that you aren’t left feeling like you’re drinking something meant to be infused with the hard stuff.
There are five different flavors, all of which closely resemble common alcoholic cocktails, but again not in a way that makes me wish I could have the alcoholic version.
Where to buy Curious Elixirs
Currently, Curious Elixirs are only available online. They offer a monthly subscription service that earns members 17% off four bottles and 25% off twelve bottles.
You can also order bottles a la carte and have them delivered to your home.
The cost can be a little prohibitive. I don’t consider these an everyday kind of drink. They’re more of a special occasion treat. Whenever the world opens back up, I will have these stocked for a proper adult gathering.
To order a sample pack or make a larger purchase, visit Curious Elixirs website here.
Alcohol Alternative #2: Recess
Recess is a sparkling water cocktail infused with hemp extract and adaptogens. Each can also contains American ginseng, lemon balm, and L-theanine which are said to improve concentration, brighten mood, and promote a feeling of calm.
My personal favorite flavor is Black Cherry. It has just the right amount of sweetness and lacks the tea-forward flavor of some of the other options.
Recess Sparkling Water – Black Cherry, 12oz can, 12 pack
Does Recess actually “work”?
A fizzy beverage that promises to help you focus and feel relaxed sounds great, but does it actually do that?
Mostly, but manage your expectations. This isn’t the same kind of “calm” you might get from alcohol, and it doesn’t prick your brain like an espresso.
Did I feel more focused? Yes. Did it relax me? Yes, but in the way a nice herbal tea can relax you. It is the beverage equivalent of taking some deep breaths and soldiering on.
It’s a good option for days you want to relax with a non-alcohol drink with a little extra something. Again, it’s pricey, so it’s not the same as, say, grabbing a can of sparkling water. Use these as an occasional treat.
Personally, I prefer an extra fizzy beverage, so I add in a little more seltzer to get a bubblier version. It also goes great in mocktails.
Where can you buy Recess?
Alcohol Alternative #3: Dry Botanical Bubbly
DRY is a fun line of non-alcoholic sodas that are specifically designed to pair with food like their alcoholic counterparts. The flavor profiles are elevated and “grown-up” which makes for a fun treat at dinner parties. They’re also great mixers for mocktails.
I especially love that each flavor includes suggestions for food pairings, mixes, and the best way to serve. Why yes, Dry Botanical Bubbly, I think I will mix up your Rainier Cherry with some sour mix on the rocks. That sounds delightful!
Where can you buy Dry Botanical Bubbly?
This fizzy alcohol alternative can be purchased on their website, on Amazon, and at various retailers. It’s also more affordable than some of their crafty counterparts. That being said, these aren’t meant to be consumed like standard flavored, sparkling water.
As DRY puts it, these are meant to be sipped and savored. In my opinion, that makes them a perfect alcohol replacement.
Alcohol Alternative #4: CLEAN Cause Sparkling Yerba Mate
CLEAN Cause is a wonderful alcohol alternative if you’re in need of pick-me-up. At 160 mg of caffeine per can, these bad boys pack a punch, but sometimes that’s what you want! Plus, it’s significantly healthier than sugar sodas.
Another great benefit of CLEAN Cause? Fifty-percent of all proceeds goes toward supporting individuals in recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
CLEAN is available in four different flavors: Peach, Lemon Lime, Raspberry, and Blackberry (my favorite). Because it’s made with Yerba Mate, you aren’t going to get the extreme spikes and crashes that come with coffee or soda.
You can find it in most stores and on Amazon.
Alcohol Alternative #5: Kombucha
A word of caution: kombucha can be alcoholic so always read the labels before buying. Kombucha is a wonderful alcohol alternative for a variety of reasons.
- Is very fizzy, which is great for beer and cider drinkers who miss the bubbles.
- Helps curb sugar cravings.
- Contains antioxidants.
- Has strong antimicrobial effects.
- Is excellent for gut health.
My personal favorite brand of Kombucha is GT’s Kombucha. This is the first kombucha I ever tried and I’ve stuck with it for years. Why mess with a good thing?
It’s also a great mocktail ingredient because it adds a fabulous mix of fizz and bite.
Alcohol Alternative #6: Kava Tea
Another word of caution: Kava comes in a variety of potency levels. It is easy to overdo it and catch yourself falling back into old numbing habits from your drinking days.
That being said, there are mild potency kava tea options on the market that really do have a gentle, calming effect. They’re great for moments you need to catch a breath or want to wind down before bedtime.
I personally love and use Yogi Kava Stress Relief tea. It tastes amazing. Seriously. You do not need to add a thing to this tea. Just as importantly, it works.
It’s a great alcohol alternative for people who want something to help calm down without resorting to stronger euphorics.
Alcohol Alternative #7: DIY Mocktails!
The elements of a great mocktail are relatively simple: fizz + acid + sweet = we’ve got ourselves a party! Sky’s the limit.
Start with your fizz – seltzer water, ginger beer (not a real beer), or other carbonated drink. Personally, I love Topo Chico. I like my bubbles to punch me in the throat and that is exactly what Topo Chico delivers. A close second is the sparkling water line, Spindrift.
These are by far the best sparkling water brands I’ve tried. They taste good and take the edge off when I want something fizzy and fun without all the sugar.
Once you’ve selected your bubbles, decide how you’re going to add acidity and sweetness to your drink.
It’s common to use citrus for the acidity. (Think: limes, lemons, oranges, etc.)
For your sweet element, you can go with a fruit juice, which is easy, or you can fancy it up a bit and use flavor-infused simple syrups. You can even use honey, agave, or maple syrup as your sweetener.
Alcohol substitutes can be just as sophisticated as boozy iterations.
It’s all about choosing the right alternatives and finding recipes that work for you. Having drinks as a social activity or a way to unwind after a long day is one of the hardest things to let go of when you quit alcohol.
But you don’t really have to. You just need to find booze alternatives that scratch the itch. From there, you can create new, healthier habits to replace your boozier ones.