Whether it’s due to the change in season, the time spent with family, the amazingly delicious food, or all the old traditions, the holidays are generally a period of gatherings and good times. Signature drinks are a great way to liven up any social gathering, and while I love a great cocktail, alcoholic drinks aren’t for everyone.
It could be that they don’t imbibe or they’re watching their waistline, but not everyone wants cocktails. When it’s time to celebrate the holidays, there are lots of beverage options, including those sans alcohol.
Here are some of my favorite nonalcoholic cocktails – mocktails – for this holiday season and beyond!
Note: All recipes are for two drinks/servings unless otherwise specified.
Can’t-elope the Holidays
- 1 cantaloupe, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup ice
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- Mint, for garnish
- Blend all ingredients to a smoothie-like consistency.
- Garnish with mint. Try it with a sugared rim, if your cantaloupe isn’t as sweet as you’d like!
Gingerbread Eggnog Mocktail
Recipe from Orchids + Sweet Tea
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups high-quality eggnog
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Handful of crushed ice
- Whipped cream (optional, for garnish)
- Crushed gingersnap cookies (optional, for garnish)
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water, espresso powder, and brown sugar, stirring together until sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a slight boil, then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool completely.
- In a bowl, add the eggnog, cooled mixture, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whisking everything together until combined.
- Add crushed ice to serving glasses; top with whipped cream and crushed gingersnap cookies.
Mint Cucumber Cooler
- 5 to 6 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup
- 1 Persian cucumber, grated
- 2 cups sparkling water
- Handful ice cubes
- 1 jalapeño, sliced (for garnish, optional)
- Muddle mint leaves at the bottom of a cocktail shaker/glass using a wooden spoon or muddler.
- Stir in honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup to incorporate.
- Add cucumber to mixture.
- Add a handful of ice cubes to glass.
- Pour sparkling water into drinking glasses, then add in cucumber and mint mixture
- Top with optional jalapeño slices.
Pom Pom Teaser
- Handful of ice cubes
- 2 cans (8 ounces) sparkling water, plain or strawberry-flavored
- 4 ounces pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils
- Sprigs of thyme (for garnish)
- Fill each glass with ice.
- Add sparkling water and pomegranate juice, stirring to combine.
- Add pomegranate arils.
- Garnish with sprigs of thyme.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 green-tea bag
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Pour apple cider into a small saucepan and bring to a low boil.
- Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and add the tea bag, steeping for 5 minutes
- Add cinnamon sticks, grated ginger, cloves, and star anise.
- After simmering for another 5–10 minutes, add lemon juice.
- Remove tea bag and serve hot, with cinnamon stick and star anise as garnish.
Orange Cranberry Mimosa Mocktail
Recipe from Rhubarbarians, makes one serving
- 1 orange slice
- 1 tablespoon sugar (for glass rim)
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 ounces cold sweetened cranberry juice
- 2 ounces cold sparkling apple cider
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Fresh cranberries, cinnamon stick, and sprig of rosemary (for garnish)
- Sugar the rim of a champagne glass by wetting the rim with a slice of orange and dipping into the sugar.
- Combine orange juice, cranberry juice, and sparkling apple cider in glass.
- Top with cinnamon and optional garnishes.
Cheers to the Holiday Season
It’s always nice to give yourself and your guests options, when it comes to what they’d like to drink at a holiday gathering. The holidays can be an emotional time for people, and throwing alcohol into the mix isn’t always the best choice. A refreshing mocktail is something everyone can enjoy.
My medical training taught me the importance of physical health from a scientific standpoint. However, my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) really helped me to home in on the things that contribute to our emotional and mental well-being. These are just as important as physical health but often get overlooked. Limiting alcohol use and establishing meaningful social connections are both pillars of lifestyle medicine and important components of living a full and satisfying life.