The mocktail movement is adding tasty, refreshing non-alcoholic beverages to drink menus at restaurants, bars — and house parties too. What’s great about these fresh and flavorful options is that they come with some tangible and wholesome benefits, without the unhealthy side-effects.
“Non-alcoholic cocktails are growing in popularity, and not just for non-drinkers,” says Shannon Roque, a registered dietitian at Atlantic Health System, “Today, adults are thinking more consciously about their decision to drink alcohol. Mocktails are a great alternative at social gatherings when you don’t feel like drinking, you’re abstaining for health reasons, or you simply want to pace your consumption.”
The Upside of a Mocktail
So, whether it’s for health reasons or just a curiosity about what life would be like without alcohol, mixologists are creating some great alcohol-free drinks for sober curious adults. Consider a mimosa with sparkling cider rather than champagne. A virgin daiquiri or margarita. A Bloody Mary, sans the vodka. These drinks may not take the edge off the way a glass of wine, mixed drink, or a beer might, but they come with some solid advantages for your mind and body:
- Align with a healthy lifestyle
- Eliminate the hangover
- Reduce calories and sugar consumption
- Save a little money
- Introduce your tastebuds to new flavors and ingredients
The Downside of a Cocktail
Unlike food, calories from alcohol contain little to no nutritional value. Alcohol is more calorically dense than carbohydrates and protein – nearly double at 7 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram. Add in simple syrup or sweetened juices and you’re drinking more than 300 calories in one cocktail — without feeling full or nutritionally satisfied.
So, move out of the way liquor. Alcohol-free beer and wine are gaining space on supermarket shelves. Restaurants and bars are pairing liquor-less drink options with their food menus. Even party hosts are adding mocktails to their signature drinks or punch bowls, all with liquor served on the side.
“There are lots of new, healthy ways to socialize that don’t involve alcohol,” says Roque. “But if you do want to have an alcoholic beverage, canned hard seltzers or vodka with club soda or seltzer water garnished with a lemon or lime are still great alternatives.”
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- One 750mL bottle chilled sparkling cider
- 1.5 cups cold orange juice
- One 12-ounce can cold sparkling water/seltzer OR for a little sweetness, Italian Sparkling Soda – any flavor you’d like (think Blood Orange, Mandarin, or even Strawberry!)
- 1 navel orange thinly sliced
- 8-10 strawberries sliced
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves plus extra for garnish
- Combine the sparkling cider, juice, and sparkling water in a large pitcher with a bit of ice.
- Add the orange slices and strawberries to the pitcher, leaving a few out for garnishes.
- Stir in the fresh mint leaves.
- For the best flavor, let sit for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Pour over crushed ice and garnish with extra orange slices, strawberries, and mint!