The holidays can be a tricky time for people who are sober, newly sober, or just trying to take a break from alcohol.
One of the trickiest situations to navigate? Holiday parties and family functions where alcohol is front and center.
And then there’s the winter months. For many people, that means hunkering down from the cold. The days are short. Some of us wrestle with seasonal depression. And a lot of folks get the urge to drink.
I get it.
My sobriety date is December 19th so I was in the thick of it once Christmas rolled around and it took a Herculean effort to abstain from drinking that first Christmas sober.
But even if you’ve been sober for years, it can still feel awkward walking around with a bottle of water or soda while everyone else sips wine and cocktails from their fancy glasses.
But just because we don’t drink alcohol, doesn’t mean we can’t have little festive drinks, too! So I’ve made a list of some deliciously festive mocktails for a wide range of palates and preferences.
And the cool thing is, with so many non-alcoholic alternatives available these days, the sky really is the limit as to what you can throw together. It doesn’t always have to be fizzy juice in a punch bowl (although you can do that, too, if it floats your boat.)
I’ve pulled some of the most festive, unique, and occasionally simple winter mocktails for you because my food photography skills are subpar (though I am learning, so stay tuned!) and these creators are amazing at what they do.
You should make these drinks and give them a follow!
1. Hot Honey Plum Mule
I LOVE virgin Moscow Mules in all their iterations, which is weird because when I actually used to drink alcohol, this was NOT the drink for me.
Now, the recipe above calls for some harder-to-find ingredients like the NA bourbon and Moscow Mule mixer. You can modify this though.
The basic elements of a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule are:
- 3/4 cup of ginger beer
- 1/4 club soda or selzer
- 1 TBS of simple syrup
Keep these ratios in mind as you double, triple, or quadruple the batch and substitute the NA Bourbon and Moscow Mule mix. If this drink sounds appealing to you, but you’re not trying to hunt down the NA Bourbon, this will taste just as yummy.
Also, everyone should just have some hot honey on hand in the house because it makes everything so much better.
2. Grown Up Shirley Temple
The ginger ale and cherry ice cubes elevate this classic holiday mocktail. Now I tried this with the little ice cube tray and made a huge mess, so don’t wear white when prepping this one! It was yummy, though and easy to throw together.
Get the little tray thingies here.
3. Cranberry Pie Holiday Mocktail
This is a relatively easy drink to throw together. The most unusual ingredient is the HipStirs Cranberry Pie Syrup, which honestly, you can order on Amazon and have on hand for future use. (Epic company name, by the way!).
One thing I would note – if this leans too heavily on the sweet side for you (as it does for me sometimes), you can always balance it out with a little lime juice.
4. Spicy Cucumber Sour Mocktail
Okay, this drink might not scream holiday, but it’s my new recent obsession and I live in a warmer climate, so I’m including it.
Now, here’s how to modify the recipe above to get “spicy” part. In addition to the cucumbers, throw in a few mint leaves, and 1-2 THIN slices of jalapeno (depending on your spice tolerance) and muddle those together before adding the rest of the ingredients.
5. Apple Pie Spritzer
This one is SUPER simple to make. The one wildcard is the star anise. I don’t know how many people have that on hand. I do, but that’s because I love to cook Indian food.
It’s also a nice winter mocktail that you can make a pitcher for a party.
It’s very simple to make. The mocktail itself is just a few ingredients:
- 2 cups apple cider or juice (I prefer apple cider because I like my drinks to punch me in throat)
- 2.5 cups of ginger beer
- 1 teaspoon of lime (fresh is best)
- 1 star anise (it’s a little star-shaped spice that packs a powerful flavor punch)
These ingredients make about four mocktails. She also makes a cinnamon-sugar coating for the rim of her glasses. That’s up to you.
Even in my drinking days, I was never really a “things on the rim” gal. I didn’t like salt on my margaritas or anything like that. But if that’s your vibe, go for it!
Any other winter-themed mocktails you’d add to this list? Add them in the comments! I’m always looking for ideas.