A Seedlip Grove 42 cocktail

Non-alcoholic drinks for Christmas

Abstaining this festive season? Check out our guide to the best zero-alcohol drinks and low-alcohol cocktails

Looking for non alcoholic drinks? In the last few years many of us have opted to cut our alcohol intake. As a result, the market for zero- and low-alcohol products has exploded – from 0%-ABV spirits to funky kombuchas – as drinkers seek options beyond sickly sweet soft drinks. Read our round up of the best ways to reduce your booze intake without compromising on flavour – from ready-made products to non alcoholic recipes you can whip up at home.

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Zero-alcohol cocktails

A Seedlip Grove 42 cocktail
A Seedlip Grove 42 cocktail

Booze-free substitutes for spirits are becoming increasingly popular. Seedlip are pioneers in the category and its latest release is Grove 42, a citrussy expression that’s delicious with tonic water and a twist of orange peel. The past year has also seen a host of new brands pop up – from Stryyk (try their peppery Not Vodka) to Irish brand Silk Tree and its warming, aromatic distilled non-alcoholic spirit. Premium mixers good enough to drink on their own have also become widespread – Schweppes’s excellent 1783 range is a good place to start (we love their salty lemon tonic) or check out our tonic water taste test.

The sour, punchy flavours of drinks like kombucha (fermented tea) can make them a great substitute for booze. Quality can vary with ready-made ones but for a booch with a proper funky hit try Jarr Kombucha, or for something more delicate but still tangy try Real Kombucha, which relies on the flavour profiles of the tea itself – from smoky black tea to fragrant Darjeeling. To learn more check out our ultimate guide to kombucha, or listen to our podcast on the subject. Other fermented drinks worth exploring include switchels – tart concoctions of apple cider vinegar, water, honey and ginger, and shrubs (drinking vinegars). These syrups of fruit, vinegar and sugar can be topped up with water for a tangy, refreshing drink. Try our elderberry vinegar here, or check out Nonsuch Shrubs’s range of sparkling flavours, including peach and basil and sour cherry and mint.

Avid tea and coffee drinkers should check out our guides to the best places for a brew in the UK, from where to find the best baristas to the best Instagrammable coffee spots and our favourite UK tea houses. If you’re making it at home, check out our round up of the best resuable coffee cups.


Low-alcohol cocktails

The Resting Room
A low-alcohol sherry cobbler at The Resting Room in London

Even if you’re not planning to go dry many of us are still opting for low-alcohol tipples – whether it’s a sessionable beer you can drink at the pub or a gentle cocktail you can sip on a week day evening. Fortified wines like vermouth and sherry are perfect mixed with tonic for a summery drink, while many of the bitter aperitifs so on trend right now are delicious with soda water for a chic low-ABV bev. Classics like Campari and Aperol are reliable favourites, but it’s worth exploring more niche bitter liqueurs like gentian-based Suze and artichoke amaro Cynar, or new brands like Pampelle – a zesty grapefruit aperitif that’s an olive team favourite.


Non alcoholic cocktails to try

Orange Fizz Mocktail Recipe with Rosemary - non-alcoholic cocktail served with cinnamon sticks, orange slices, rosemary and pomegranate seeds
Orange and rosemary fizz
Hibiscus Tea Punch Recipe
Mulled tea punch

Wine-based cocktails are perfect low-ABV options for drinkers and our iced tea sangria is zesty and easy drinking, while this white port and grapefruit cooler jug cocktail is perfect for a crowd. Sherry – particularly crisp fino – makes for an excellent low-ABV cocktail. Try our Tiojito here.

Planning to go dry? We’ve got plenty of alcohol-free tipples that don’t compromise on flavour, from turmeric chai tea to super-freshing water kefir limeade. Recreate the flavours of your favourite cocktails with recipes such as orange and rosemary fizz, elderflower and raspberry mocktail and Saudi champagne. You can also whip up a batch of our warming quick ginger cordial to keep in the fridge for when you’re thirsty – just top up with water.

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Words by Hannah Guinness