Whether you’ve recently quit drinking or are well-adapted to sober life, the holidays can be an uncomfortable time. If your friends and family drink alcohol, it’s easy to feel left out of the celebration as you sip a soda or plain water.
This year, you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy a fun beverage while staying alcohol-free. From coffee to candy cane cocktails, here are the best drinks for recovering alcoholics this holiday season and beyond.
1. Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is the go-to for recovering alcoholics. Simply water that’s been carbonated to give it a fizzy texture, this drink is a great alternative to a glass of the flat stuff. Not only does it help you stay hydrated, it also satisfies the craving for something other than water or juice.
Also known as soda water or seltzer, sparkling water is a blank slate you can customize to your taste preferences. Add syrup, a lime or a splash of fruit juice to your glass to shake things up, or opt for a flavored variety everyone will enjoy.
If you love coffee, you know it’s the perfect drink for any occasion. And like all the best drinks, it can be prepared according to your exact preferences. Make it hot or iced, with cream or sugar, and tailor it any way you please.
Plus, you don’t have to leave the house to have a great cup of coffee. Invest in some good beans and a milk frother and you’ll have everything you need to be your own barista. Get creative with homemade syrups and flavor your cup with everything from vanilla bean to hibiscus.
Few things are more comforting than a mug of hot tea, which is why it’s one of the best nonalcoholic drinks out there. Plus, the drink boasts numerous health benefits, including a strengthened immune system and lowered risk of heart disease.
Choose from calming herbal blends and fruity mixes that steep to perfection in just minutes or opt for black tea for a slightly bitter taste. Add a slice of lemon to your cup or pour it over ice to mix things up.
4. Ginger Ale
Like sparkling water with a spicy kick, ginger ale is another beloved nonalcoholic beverage. Even if you’re not a fan of ginger’s spiced, slightly heated flavor, you may still enjoy an icy glass of this drink.
Carbonated water and sugar team up to prevent the ginger from overpowering your taste buds for a beverage that’s truly the best of both worlds. Plus, ginger may even offer relief from headaches while boosting your immune system. Skip the commercially bottled brands and go for an ale made from real fermented ginger root.
Nothing says festive like a mug of hot spiced cider. This drink is perfect for social events like work parties or holiday gatherings because everyone will enjoy it. The sweet, fruity base is the perfect canvas for a host of spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
Cider can be served hot or over ice for a cool take on the classic drink. Purchase a premade bottle of cider or make your own to share (add a splash of cranberry juice for a delicious tart undertone). Apple is the most popular variety, but try a cider made from pears and you won’t be disappointed.
6. Hot Chocolate
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, a steaming cup of hot chocolate is the perfect drink for you. Creamy, chocolaty and always festive, hot chocolate is guaranteed to give anyone’s mood a boost.
Instant hot chocolate packets are convenient but don’t always make the most enjoyable cup. This year, make your own and tailor it to your taste preferences. Brew it slightly bitter and ultra-thick or sweet and milky. Add a dash of peppermint extract to the pot for an added minty twist, and be sure to top it all off with a dollop of whipped cream.
Eggnog is one drink that’s synonymous with the holiday season. With its rich texture and spicy-sweet flavor, this beverage will satisfy anyone’s cravings. Though a boxed version from the store will do if necessary, wow your friends by making it yourself this year. Take a heavy hand with the cinnamon and nutmeg for a drink that just screams “celebration.”
Though the alcoholic version is popular at holiday parties, eggnog’s delicious flavor is strong enough as a mocktail — no alcohol needed. Leave it out and your fellow holiday guests won’t even miss it.
8. Chile-Lime Pineapple Soda
If you like spice, a chile-lime pineapple soda will quickly become one of your go-to mocktails. Club soda and pineapple juice mix with sugar and chile de árbol for an alcohol-free drink that will leave you energized and refreshed.
The spicy chile mingles with the tart pineapple for an intense flavor, while the club soda tones everything down to a perfect drinking level. Add a squeeze of lime at the end for an extra punch.
9. Strawberry Ginger Lemonade
Nonalcoholic drinks should have the perfect balance of sugar, spice and freshness — and strawberry ginger lemonade ticks all the boxes. Crushed strawberries mix with ginger and lemonade for a blend of sweet, spicy and tart you taste with every sip. Add a splash of lemon-lime soda for a fizzy delight.
Though strawberry lemonade is traditionally a summer drink, get creative and swap the fruit for cranberries or blueberries for a seasonal twist.
10. Chai Blossom
Some nonalcoholic beverages will make you forget about drinking alcohol altogether, and the chai blossom will do just that. Mix hot chai tea with soda water, sugar and lime juice for a drink that will warm up your body and your taste buds.
Spices like cinnamon and cardamom marry well with the citrus fruit, while the soda water gives everything an energetic fizz. While this is a perfect cold-weather beverage, you won’t stop drinking it after the season has passed.
11. Shirley Tonic
The Shirley Temple is an iconic mocktail, but it could use a refreshing twist. Update the classic by adding pure pomegranate juice to the grenadine syrup and club soda mixture. The pomegranate’s flavor adds a tart, slightly bitter taste to the beverage, which many find excessively sweet. Use lemon-lime soda instead of plain sparkling water to add some acidity.
12. Cranberry Fizz Mocktail
While mocktails are delicious in their own right, it’s common for recovering alcoholics to long for the cocktails they ordered when they were still drinking alcohol. For some, that drink was a cranberry fizz.
Luckily, you can still enjoy your favorite drinks without alcohol. Mix sparkling cider, cran-apple juice and cinnamon sugar to satisfy your cravings with this sober twist on a classic. Don’t forget to add a squeeze of lemon or lime to brighten up the drink.
13. Minty Mocha Protein Shake
Most nonalcoholic drinks are lacking in one thing: protein. Get all the nutrients your body needs with a minty mocha protein shake that comes together in minutes.
Simply blend coffee, milk, mint leaves, protein powder and unsweetened cocoa together for a drink that’s both refreshing and nutritious. Mint and cocoa are a match made in heaven, and any coffee lover will love the energizing burst of flavor.
14. Candy Cane Sparkler
Candy canes are an iconic holiday symbol. Add them to your mocktail this season with a delicious candy cane sparkler. Just mix pomegranate juice with sugar, sparkling water and candy canes for a drink that will keep you and your friends in the holiday spirit. Serve it in a champagne flute and toast to your continued sobriety as you ring in the holiday season.
Need Help Managing an Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol abuse is tough to manage any time of year, but especially around the holidays. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, Ranch Creek Recovery is the best place to find help.
RCR has helped recovering alcoholics in Southern California for over 25 years. People at RCR’s alcohol addiction treatment centers find a caring support system and a dedicated team of mental health professionals. From the initial detox process through your recovery, you’ll find the guidance and tools you need to overcome your addiction once and for all.
Contact us online or call (877) 997-8931 to start your recovery journey today.