What to Drink Instead of Alcohol

What to Drink Instead of Alcohol

Having a nice glass of wine at the end of the day, meeting for happy hour with friends, or bringing drinks to most of our activities—drinking alcohol is a big part of our culture. So it’s not surprising that we find ourselves drinking more than is healthy for our bodies and minds. 

If you’re ready to enjoy life with alcohol-free alternatives to create a better balance, this blog post is for you. 

What to Order at a Bar

What to order at a bar instead of alcohol

If you want to drink less or quit drinking alcohol altogether, but you love sitting in a bar or restaurant and having a drink, choosing a non-alcoholic beverage might be tricky. 

Here are a few ideas for non-alcoholic choices at a bar or restaurant that still feel like a cocktail to make it easier for you. 

Virgin Mojito

Making a mojito virgin is an easy task for the bartender and a tasty treat for you. It’s a fresh and refreshing twist on the original cocktail, without the hangover.

Arnold Palmer

Lemonade and iced tea—it’s as simple as that! This is a delicious option that may even give you a shot of energy if the tea is caffeinated.

Muddled Fruit and Club Soda

For a sober twist on a summer spritz, ask the bartender if they can crush some berries at the bottom of your glass and top it up with club soda. Add a twist of lemon to complete this tasty alcohol-free drink.

Orange Juice & Cranberry Juice

A classic! The original combination for this cocktail uses vodka and is known as a madras. But this recipe is so delicious that it‘s easy to skip the alcohol and you won’t even miss it. It looks and tastes like a real cocktail.

Cranberry Spritz

Ask your bartender to mix soda, cranberry juice, and lime. The combination of cranberry with lime is a refreshing take on the alcoholic version. 

Ginger Beer

A glass of ginger beer over ice with lime will give you the feel of a Moscow mule but without the alcohol content. 

Virgin Tom Collins

This is basically an adult lemonade. It contains lemon juice, simple syrup, and carbonated soda. It just has a more fun name.

Water with Lemon or Lime

It’s as simple as it sounds. This drink will also keep you hydrated all day (or night) long.

Non-Alcoholic Wine

For all you wine lovers, there are a ton of options that mimic the taste, aroma, and flavors of a great bottle of wine without the alcohol.  The flavor has improved over the past few years.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

Non-alcoholic beers have been around for some time now, but they’ve improved year-on-year. So, if you tried them before and didn’t like them, give them another try.

Check the Mocktails Available 

We now see more and more mocktails in bars and restaurants. So check the bar menu to look for something you like—you might be pleasantly surprised.  

Mocktails to Make at Home

Margarita Mocktail

If taco Tuesday isn’t complete unless you have a margarita in your hand, check out this non-alcoholic version of a margarita that the whole family can enjoy. This recipe makes enough for an entire pitcher, so there’s plenty for everyone.

Alcohol Alternatives: Non-alcoholic margarita

Ginger Beer Mocktail

If you love the ginger and lime combination found in a Moscow Mule, this mocktail might be an excellent option for you. It’s a bubbly drink that is refreshing with a little kick.  The recipe makes two servings of this delicious mocktail. 

Strawberry Mojito Mocktail

This mojito recipe is the perfect drink for a hot summer day. The strawberry and lime provide a tasty treat after a long day.

Mimosa Mocktail

Non-alcoholic mimosas may be one of the easiest mocktails to make. This traditional drink is typical at brunches and special occasions because of the festive bubbles. Luckily for us, non-alcoholic mimosas taste basically the same as the original cocktail. Simply mix non-alcoholic sparkling wine with orange juice, and you’re ready for a perfect fun girl’s day!

Pina Colada Mocktail

Sometimes when you’re laying out in the sun, you crave a creamy pineapple drink. This piña colada mocktail is the perfect summer drink, so serve it up the next time you’re enjoying a day in the sun with your friends.

Healthy Alcohol Alternatives

Kombucha

Healthy alcohol alternatives: kombucha

There’s nothing like the bubbly, tangy, and slightly sweet kombucha to enjoy on a hot day or while relaxing poolside. Kombucha is definitely a unique experience and a flavor you love or hate.

There’s nothing like the bubbly, tangy, and slightly sweet kombucha to enjoy on a hot day or while relaxing poolside. Kombucha is definitely a unique experience and a flavor you love or hate.

Kombucha is made from fermented tea and can have different flavors depending on the fruit, herbs, and spices added during the fermentation process. Because it is fermented, kombucha can have 1-2% of alcohol.

Like other fermented foods, kombucha is a potential source of probiotics and, if made from green tea, can have the same well-known benefits. In addition, it can also have antibacterial properties.

So cheers for a tasty drink that’s also good for you! It’s perfect served cold in a beer glass.

Tepache

Tepache is a fermented drink from Mexico that’s made from the rind and peel of pineapples. It’s usually sweetened with brown sugar and served with cinnamon. It doesn’t contain much alcohol; however, it does contain a small amount from the fermentation process.j]

Now that it’s also popular in the United States, you can find it in many health stores. 

Other Alcohol Alternatives

There are plenty of other options other than alcoholic drinks that can provide either the soothing effects you may feel from alcohol or the same taste. For example, CBD, kava, and adaptogens are great choices for feeling more relaxed after a stressful day. They also contain great health benefits.

CBD

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second most prevalent ingredient in marijuana. CBD by itself cannot cause a typical “high” as marijuana does. But it does provide a relaxing feeling to the mind and body.


What’s more, research has shown that CBD can reduce anxiety, promote healthy sleep patterns, reduce chronic pain and inflammation, and can help manage addiction. Cannabidiol comes in the form of oils, extracts, patches, vapes, sweets, and topical creams.

Kava

Kava is a beverage made from a plant, specifically the piper methysticum plant. Like alcohol, kava is considered a depressant drug. It can be consumed in different forms, such as a brownish-colored drink, a brown powder, capsules, extracts, or drops. Kava is used in many countries, mostly islands, as a drink for rituals and cultural practices due to its relaxing effects.

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are either herbs or mushrooms that are considered to have great health benefits. They are known to help decrease stress by stimulating the body’s stress-protection response, which helps get your body into a balanced state called “homeostasis”. 

Activity Alternatives to Drinking With Friends

There are so many activities you can do with friends other than drinking, for example:

  • Go for a walk
  • Cook dinner together 
  • Movie night 
  • Workout classes
  • Check out an art gallery
  • Tour a museum
  • Go to a concert
  • Watch a sporting event
  • Volunteer in your community together
  • Try out karaoke

Health Benefits of Cutting Down on Alcohol Intake

There are many benefits when it comes to cutting down on your alcohol intake, including developing a stronger immune system, healing your organs, lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and potentially decreasing the risk of developing certain cancer types.

Furthermore, if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking less will help you lose some pounds. For example, imagine this: one 5-oz glass of wine can add 44,895 calories in a year! 

Other health benefits of decreasing your alcoholic drink intake are an improved sex life, better sleep, a more robust immune system, and less brain fog. 

Finally, it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.

Risks of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking can lead to health risks that are almost always avoidable. Long-term alcohol usage can lead to a multitude of damage to your body. Specifically, it can damage organs like your liver, brain, pancreas, kidneys, heart, and stomach. 

Another negative health effects include a weakened immune system. We especially don’t want a weakened immune system, considering the pervasiveness of Covid. Chronic drinkers are more likely to get sick than those who drink only occasionally. 

The Sober Curious Movement

The Sober Curious Movement is a wellness trend to be sober or cut back on drinking alcohol for the physical and mental health benefits. It’s different from being sober, as that’s associated with alcoholism.

This global trend incorporates mindful drinking and starts by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is it a good idea for me to pick up this drink?
  • Why is it expected for me to drink?
  • How is this drink is going to impact my well-being?

Conclusion

As you can see, you have a wealth of choices for alcohol alternatives. If you want to improve your health by taking just one simple step, drink less or stop drinking altogether and see how you feel!

“What to drink instead of alcohol” was written by Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, and Registered Dietitian Meagan Murphy.

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