There are many reasons you may be looking to cut alcohol out of your diet. But regardless of your reason, enjoying a refreshing drink from time to time with friends and family can be a great way to stay connected and socialize. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy ways to make sure you’re not missing out on these experiences!
If you’re someone who is looking to cut down on alcohol or already has, a “mocktail”—or an alcohol-free cocktail—can be a fun and delicious way to take part in these activities. The problem is, however, many popular mocktail options that are currently trending on social media are loaded with sugary fruit juices, simple syrup, and other added sugars or sweeteners that can make them less-than-ideal to sip on.
Instead, making a homemade variety with whole fresh fruit, small amounts of coconut water or even apple cider vinegar can be a way to add some antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to your drink. Stay with us as we explore some of the health benefits of reducing alcohol consumption and share our favorite recipes for alcohol-free beverages.
Benefits of Cutting Down on Alcohol
Many people like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in moderation, but cutting out or reducing your alcohol intake can offer a number of health benefits. Some of these potential benefits include things like:
- Improved liver function
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Better immune system functioning
- Improved cognitive function
- Better blood sugar regulation
- Improved sleep patterns
- Higher energy levels
- Better weight loss results
Reducing or eliminating alcohol from your lifestyle can have benefits for mental health as well, as alcohol can impair cognitive abilities and contribute to mood swings. People who choose to go alcohol-free frequently experience better sleep patterns, increased energy levels, and a more balanced emotional state.
While these benefits are all great, it can be hard to take the first step towards reducing or limiting the amount of alcohol you consume. This is where mocktails can come in! Finding a delicious and refreshing concoction that you can enjoy in the place of an alcoholic drink can even provide its own health benefits.
So, if you’re looking for a few new non-alcoholic drink ideas to enjoy and drink with friends, here are nine of our nutrition team’s favorite healthy mocktails to try out.
Try These 9 Healthy Mocktail Recipes
Before we get into our favorite mocktail recommendations, keep in mind that while these recipes are lower sugar options than many other mocktail mixes you might find in the store, they do contain some naturally occurring sugars.
You may find an added benefit to including some protein with your mocktail. Pairing with protein can help improve your glucose response.
1) Ginger Lemon Kombucha Mocktail
Recommended by Marie Funk, MS, RDN, LDN
Marie says, “I'm a kombucha fan when it comes to mocktails, and this ginger lemon kombucha recipe is a great non-alcoholic option as it has no added sugar or syrups, and you get some probiotic benefits from the kombucha. It makes for a nice and refreshing summer drink!”
- Ginger lemon kombucha
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- Lemon juice from a fresh lemon
- Crushed ice cubes
2) Keto Virgin Margarita
Recommended by Becky French, MS, RDN, LDN
Becky says, “If you want to enjoy a margarita-style drink without the higher sugar and alcohol that you’d usually find in a regular cocktail, this keto virgin margarita recipe is my favorite. It’s such a simple summer mocktail that you can quickly mix together and serve over ice.”
- 1 freshly squeezed lime juice (medium to large size)
- 1 tsp liquid stevia (or another sweetener)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 drops of orange extract
- Crushed ice
3) Citrus Berry Kombucha Mocktail
Recommended by Jillian Buckley, RDN
Jillian says, “I love using kombucha for mocktails! I usually add a bit of citrus–lemon, orange or lime juice—for tang and sweetness, mint for freshness, and fizzy sparkling water for extra hydration.”
- 4 ounces kombucha (I really like GT’s Gingerade)
- Juice from half of a lemon
- 1 ounce muddled blueberries and raspberries
- 4 ounces sparkling water
- A few sprigs of mint
4) Ginger Pear Cider Mocktail
Recommended by Payton Baker, RD, MS, LMNT
Payton says, “This ginger pear cider is the perfect mocktail drink recipe for fall. It's a twist on your traditional cider but with the benefit of the anti-inflammatory effect from the ginger. Anti-inflammatory foods are something that we all need in our diet—so why not include some while having fun with a delicious mocktail?”
Note that the original recipe includes maple syrup, but we left it out of our version, since the pears alone will contribute plenty of sweetness.
- 2 ripe pears, cored and chopped
- 1-2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 1-inch piece fresh vanilla bean
- 1 ¼ cups water
5) Pumpkin Pie Mocktail
Recommended by Amanda Donahue, MS, RD, CD
Amanda says, “I'm a huge pumpkin fan in the fall, so I love this homemade seasonal mocktail with all the "boos" and none of the "booze!" This drink also packs a bonus of nutrients from the pumpkin such as vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.”
The original recipe contains maple syrup, but we’ve opted for a lower sugar option with a bit of seasonal zest—a tablespoon of apple butter.
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened apple butter
- A pinch of nutmeg to garnish
6) Low Carb Blackberry Mojito Mocktail
Recommended by Victoria Eaton RDN, LDN, IFNCP
Victoria says, “When I’m in the mood for a refreshing cocktail but would rather not drink alcohol, this low carb blackberry mojito recipe is always a delicious option! The blackberry and mint combination is perfect for warmer weather!”
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 12 drops liquid stevia
- ¾ cup sparkling water
- 1 sprig of mint
- ¼ cup blackberries
- Crushed ice
7) Spicy Margarita Mocktail
Recommended by Jordyn Wallerius, MS, RDN, CD
Jordyn says, “My favorite mocktail recipe is Callie Gullickson’s Spicy Margarita. It’s the perfect combination of spice and tastes almost exactly like the real thing! It’s also so easy to make at home if you just keep a few simple ingredients on hand.”
•Zero proof tequila substitute
• Limeade or fresh squeezed lime juice
• Mineral/sparkling water
8) Berry and Basil Green Tea Spritzer
Recommended by Heather Davis, MS, RDN, LDN
Heather says, “This green tea mocktail is a great way to get all the healthy benefits of green tea and berries into your diet. Not only can it work as a mocktail, it’s a great variation of homemade iced tea!”
- 1 cup blueberries
- 5 fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 2 cups unsweetened green tea, freshly brewed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Ice, as needed
- Splash of sparkling water or lemon-flavored seltzer
9) Cranberry Lemon Spritzer
Recommended by Heather Davis, MS, RDN, LDN
Heather says, “This lower carb option may require you to spend a little extra time on prep in the kitchen as you make the cranberry-lemon concentrate, but it’s worth it.”
- ½ cup fresh organic cranberries
- Low-carb sweetener of choice (erythritol, stevia, etc.) to taste
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup lemon juice bottled or fresh
- sparkling mineral water
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Heather has worked in healthcare and nutrition for over 15 years, with bachelor's degrees in Microbiology and Philosophy and a master's degree in Nutrition Science. Her professional background includes nutrition and diabetes research, nutrition education, medical writing, and extensive clinical work in a functional neuroendocrine specialty practice.