If 2019 is the year of the mocktail, then we have high hopes for the non-alcoholic beverages on offer at this year’s holiday parties. Frankly, there’s no excuse to be serving tired old soda and lime to everyone who chooses not to say “Cheers!” with booze. (And no, water isn’t an alternative.)
Mocktails — or cocktails sans ethanol — deserve a place at every celebration, because there’s something for everyone. Like your AF drink with a helping of spice? Got it covered. Fancy a virgin version of your old favorite boozy cocktail? Sorted. Or maybe you want to try something different because, what the hell, it’s the holidays.
So, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or anything else this time of year, there’s plenty of zero-proof drinks to choose from. Here are 10 batch recipes for the best non-alcoholic holiday cocktails. They’re definite crowd-pleasers.
Let’s start with something simple. All you need is pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and ginger ale to create a super refreshing punch that goes down a treat at any time of day (or night). The addition of sliced lime and fresh or frozen cranberries is the perfect finishing touch.
Did you know your slow cooker is good for more than curry and cassoulet? Throw in apples, oranges, and festive faves cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cloves, fill it up with water, and you have the basis of a delicious sweet cider to keep you warm when it’s cold out.
If you like AF cider and punch, here’s the best of both worlds. And if you like pretty drinks, behold the color of this Sparkling Pomegranate Cider Punch. Coarse sugar adds sparkle, making it almost too pretty to drink. But not, because it’s delicious. Just make sure you ‘gram it first.
It’s no surprise that glogg, like hygge and koselig and all those other words that make you feel cozier just by saying them, is a Scandinavian invention. Traditionally, it’s mulled wine made with brandy, almonds, raisins, and spices — but of course, you can ditch the wine and brandy part (just use unsweetened blackcurrant juice instead) and still have a scrumptious winter warmer of a beverage. Skål!
Who says the holidays have to taste of cranberry or cinnamon? Tropical flavors go down a treat at any time of the year, and anything that’s bright red is a dead cert for the festive dinner table. Crimson Christmas Punch is simple to make — just don’t forget the key ingredient: Raspberry sherbert for as much foam as you can handle.
Blackberries might say “summer” to many people, but they’re arguably an underrated festive ingredient. Among their many health benefits, they aid digestion. This means a Blackberry & Sage Spritzer or two might just ease some of that inevitable festive bloat. Add as much or as little syrup as you like to suit your sweet tooth.
You’ll impress your holiday party guests if you forgo cranberry and pomegranate and offer up something altogether more exotic. In Jamaica, a drink named “sorrel” is made from hibiscus blossoms and mixed with ginger for a tangy drink. If you can’t get your hands on hibiscus blossoms (known as “flor de jamaica” in Latin American markets), the next best thing is to make a strong brew with hibiscus tea bags from a specialty tea brand like Celestial Seasonings or The Republic of Tea.
Why have one punch when you can have several? Another recipe for the slow cooker, Wassail Punch is the ultimate hot, spiced holiday drink. FYI, “wassailing” is an ancient Anglo-Saxon custom (the phrase “waes hael” means “good health”), traditionally enjoyed on New Year’s Eve and the Twelfth Night. This AF take on Wassail consists of apple cider, orange juice, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.
The OG mocktail deserves a place in every dry bar. Simple, inexpensive, and more than a little nostalgic (hey, it’s the holidays), the Shirley Temple is a refreshing celebratory drink. You can play around with the soda, ginger ale, and cherry juice measures, depending on your preference. And don’t forget the maraschino cherry garnish on the rim of the glass — it’s crucial.
10. Virgin Mary
If you’re hosting a holiday brunch, a batch of Virgin Mary is a failsafe. With all the great taste of a Bloody Mary without the booze, it’s packed with good stuff (tomato juice, celery, and hot sauce) and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you wish. Give it a twist and sub the tomato juice with clamato juice for a Virgin Caesar. Or serve both! Happy holidays.
Whether you’re helping to host a holiday party at work, have family coming over for Christmas dinner, or are thinking about serving New Year’s Day brunch to your friends, these non-alcoholic holiday cocktails would be perfect for any occasion. And bonus, they’re SO yummy that you should probably make extra — since they’re sure to be crowd-pleasers with drinkers and non-drinkers alike.