Celebrations can seem like a drag without being able to join others during a toast. If you’re in recovery, pregnant or choose to avoid alcohol for other health reasons, you can still eat, drink and be merry. Mocktails allow you to lift your glass at the holiday party and enjoy the colorful flavors of a celebratory drink — without any of alcohol’s adverse effects.
What Is a Mocktail?
A mocktail is a cocktail without alcohol. You can make mocktails that imitate classic cocktails like martinis or mojitos or concoct new drinks bursting with flavor and nutrition. Instead of using liquor as an ingredient, you can mix juices, sodas, syrups, infused waters, teas, fruits, spices and endless garnishes to create festive and delicious non-alcoholic beverages. Some mocktails include flavors that mimic the taste of bourbon, gin and other liquors.
What Are the Benefits of Mocktails?
Mocktails make great additions to holiday get-togethers, family meals or any special occasion. Mocktails offer countless benefits when compared to traditional alcoholic cocktails. Here are a few.
- Easy to make: Mocktails are usually easy and quick to make, and some require only a few ingredients. You can whip up impressive mocktails for yourself or guests without being an experienced bartender.
- Healthy: Mocktails are much healthier than cocktails. Drinking too much alcohol at once or over time takes a major toll on your body, potentially impacting the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of developing certain cancers, such as liver cancer and breast cancer. Mocktails, on the other hand, can include ingredients that support your physical and mental well-being.
- Fewer calories: Alcoholic beverages are highly caloric, and since they’re also intoxicating, they can easily lead to binge eating. However, you can make mocktails with simple, low-calorie ingredients and keep your wits about you so you won’t overindulge.
- Won’t affect sleep: Alcohol is a depressant, so it may help you fall asleep due to its sedative properties. However, your liver will continue to metabolize alcohol throughout the night, which can disrupt your sleep and lower its quality. Since mocktails are alcohol-free, you won’t have to worry about your holiday beverage ruining your sleep.
- Nutrient-packed: Mocktails often include nutritious ingredients like pieces of fresh fruit or vegetables, herbs, coconut water or kombucha. Therefore, mocktails allow you to join in on the fun while increasing your intake of vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients.
- Hydrating: You can makemocktails with hydrating ingredients like coconut or mineral water. These beverages can help you stay energized during a party and avoid the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
- Inexpensive: Alcohol is typically the most expensive ingredient that goes into a cocktail. When you remove alcohol from the recipe, you can still enjoy your beverage’s different flavors and save money at the same time.
- No hangover: A hangover can make you feel awful after a night of drinking, and can lead to problems at school or work. Several factors contribute to a hangover, such as dehydration and inflammation. Mocktails allow you to enjoy the festivities without the lingering effects of drinking alcohol.
- Won’t impact decision-making: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment and decision-making skills. Its effects on your brain can lead to dangerous or embarrassing situations. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people lose their lives each year due to drunk driving. With mocktails, you don’t have to worry the next day about your actions the night before.
- Safe for everyone: Mocktails allow everyone to enjoy a tasty drink without the risks of alcohol, including pregnant people, chronically ill individuals, children, designated drivers and those in recovery.
- Not addictive: Alcohol is an addictive substance, and more than 14 million American adults have alcohol use disorder. People drink alcohol to experience a release of feel-good endorphins, and despite the harm it causes, they may crave alcohol again. Mocktails remove the risk of alcohol addiction and any related problems.
Healthy Holiday Mocktail Recipes
Looking for some yummy mocktail recipes for this holiday season? First, here are a few mocktail-making tips to stir your imagination.
- Use real fruit juices and calorie-free mixers: Make your mocktails with natural fruit juices with no added sugar, and use sparkling water or diet tonic water to increase its volume and carbonation.
- Add whole fruit or vegetable pieces: You can increase the fiber and vitamins in your mocktail by adding pieces of whole fruit or vegetables. Use antioxidant-rich sweet fruits — like berries, grapes or oranges — to make fruity mocktails, or vegetables like okra or celery to whip up savory mocktails. If you want the fruit to double as ice cubes, choose frozen chunks.
- Garnish with fresh herbs or spices: Herbs and spices increase mocktails’ flavor, color and wholesomeness. You might garnish a drink with a sprig of mint, lime slice or cinnamon stick, for example.
- Select a fancy glass: Make your mocktails look extra festive by serving them in a champagne flute, wine glass or martini glass.
Here are a couple of healthy mocktail recipes you can try at your next holiday gathering.
Bloody Mary Mocktail
Enjoy this anti-inflammatory Bloody Mary Mocktail recipe for brunch or on New Year’s Day. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8 ounces of tomato-vegetable juice
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of celery salt
- Ice cubes
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Celery stick, olives, lemon wedge or other garnish of your choice
In a glass, combine the vegetable juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric, extra-virgin olive oil and celery salt. Mix well.
Add the desired amount of ice cubes and stir the drink again. Top the mocktail with black pepper and your favorite garnishes.
Light, Non-Alcoholic Eggnog
This light, non-alcoholic eggnog recipe is a treat you can enjoy during the holidays or any time of year, guilt-free. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 4 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup of raw honey
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, plus extra for topping
- 1 1/2 of teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for topping
- 1 tablespoon of whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
In a blender, add the almond milk, egg yolks, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon, and blend for a minute or until the mixture is smooth. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the mixture with whole cloves. Heat the eggnog for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Remove the eggnog from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the eggnog into an airtight container. Refrigerate the eggnog for six to eight hours or overnight. Top with cinnamon and a small amount of nutmeg before serving.
Stay Sober This Holiday Season
Enjoying mocktails is one way to celebrate the holiday season while maintaining sobriety. If you’re in recovery, staying sober during the holidays will help you keep stress in check, give you more energy to spend time with family and help you stay in the present moment. However, sometimes protecting your sobriety can feel like a challenge. We understand that maintaining sobriety is an ongoing battle, but it’s not something you have to do alone.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, we’re here for you at AppleGate Recovery. We are an opioid addiction treatment clinic with locations in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. At AppleGate Recovery, we specialize in office-based opioid treatment, providing outpatient medication-assisted treatment with counseling for opioid addiction. To learn more about our individualized treatment and support services, contact us today and take the first step in your recovery.