Move over, Shirley Temple. Virgin cocktails have stepped up their game since the old days of sugar, food coloring and water.
More and more drinkers are opting for non-alcoholic beverages these days. Maybe you’re trying to stay safe on a night out, or skip out on the calories. Maybe you never really liked the taste of alcohol that much. Maybe you’re conscious of your digital footprint, and don’t want the consequences of a night of heavy drinking to greet you on your newsfeed in the morning. Or maybe you’re trying to save money and want to avoid the expense of drinking alcohol. Spending a night out drinking often involves spending a healthy chunk of one’s paycheck.
Of course, no judgement to those who do partake every now and again (or again, and again). But for those who abstain should no longer avoid the bar or the party for want of a festive, non-alcoholic way to participate.
Just because you’re not choosing to drink alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun, delicious drink. Here are a few to try. Order these next time you’re out or, better yet, play bartender yourself.
This tropical, fruity libation doesn’t pack a punch, but its beautiful presentation is sure to be a hit at your next summertime gathering (or that wintertime gathering when you wish it were still summer). Serve this drink over crushed ice in a long-stemmed gin glass for maximum effect.
Fill the glass about half-full with ice. Being sure to shake all your juices well before pouring, fill the glass up to the halfway point with pineapple juice. Without mixing the two, add apple juice – but only up to about the three-quarter point of the glass. Spinning the stem of the glass so as not to mix the juices, pour in cranberry juice until the glass is full.
The result should be the red of the cranberry resting on top of the orange to create a smouldering, sunset effect. Add a paper umbrella and create a Hawaiian sunset in a glass.
Now, before you write off the name of this utterly original virgin cocktail, give it a taste. It’s cool, refreshing, and boasts an eye-catching presentation. This may not be the choice for the kids’ table, but it’s a sophisticated yet playful treat for teetotalling adults. What’s more, it’s simple to make.
Spill a few healthy drops of grenadine into the base of your glass to create a red bead. Add ice (crushed works best). Again being sure to shake well before pouring, fill the glass about half full with grapefruit juice. Fill the remainder of the glass with orange juice. Et voilà.
This cool, creamy drink is so rich and decadent it feels like a dessert. Serve in mason jars for an old-fashioned feel and enjoy at your next family-friendly gathering, or on your own when you feel like a treat. It’s a snap to make and can easily be multiplied to serve several.
All it takes is two parts strawberry juice to one and a half parts milk, a heavy splash of cream and a dash of raspberry syrup. Mix well with ice cubes and serve over fresh ice.
Virgin Pina Colada
Most forget that you don’t have to sacrifice the unbeatable refreshment of a pina colada when you don’t add alcohol. Our version is the sweet, tropical treat you crave without any of the extra calories – you’ll feel like you’re on the islands, and you’ll be beach-ready, to boot.
We spice up the classic pina colada mix – half pineapple juice and half coconut milk – with a dash of coconut syrup. If you’re really feeling festive, try a shake of nutmeg. Don’t forget to garnish with a lime.
Not interested in making your own non-alcoholic drinks? Not to worry – here are the best options to order at the bar and have a trained professional prepare for you:
A fresh, easy choice that won’t leave you falling over yourself before midnight – feel free to stay out as long as you like with this one. It’s just club soda, some grenadine, lemon juice, orange juice, and some pineapple juice.
Virgin white lady
This non-alcoholic take on an old classic maintains the best of the original, without the extra calories. The original combination is simply lemon juice, egg white and sugar syrup – see if your bartender will add some grapefruit juice for some extra flavor.
A fresh and energizing choice for a night out, a St. Clements will get you a refreshing glass of orange juice and some bitter lemon.
This virgin take on a Collins is simple and sustainable: fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and soda water.
Tired of feeling tired after a night of drinking? Try an iced coffee. Ask if your bartender could even do a kind of virgin espresso martini for some extra richness from cream and syrup.
The French classic, without the alcohol – just half sprite, half orange juice.
Tea hot toddy
A virgin hot toddy, made just with the tea of your choice that your bartender has on stock plus lemon, honey, cinnamon and cloves, is just the thing to for staying warm and energized at the bar.
Syrup and soda
It’s as simple as it sounds – any combination of club soda, ginger ale, cola or other soda with any syrup flavors the bartender may have on hand, such as cherry, vanilla or mint.
A fun alcohol-free drink: your choice of fruit juice topped with soda water. See if your bartender can’t garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Gibson in disguise
This virgin cocktail is made with apple juice, an extra-dry vermouth reduction, and alcohol-free bitters. If you’re wondering where the name Gibson comes from – legend has it that a teetotaling American diplomat drank a version of this cocktail rather than an alcohol-infused option.
A fresh take on a simple cucumber-soda water combo: a mix of sparkling water, chopped cucumber, fresh mint, and a little elderflower cordial.
Syrup and herbs
Try it with your choice of soda and mint, which works particularly well muddled with a variety of sodas.
If you’re looking for a more complex flavor than ginger ale, and trying to avoid the sweetness, ask for a non-alcoholic ginger beer.
Just like a Shirley Temple, but with cola instead of sprite, a Roy Rogers can even pass as a rum and coke thanks to its darker coloring.
No Tequila Sunrise
All you need for this one is pineapple juice, 7Up and grenadine.
Seedlip is marketed as “the world’s first nonalcoholic spirit” – it’s a special blend of six individually distilled barks, spices, and citrus peels. See if your local bartender has some on stock.
OJ and lemonade
If you’re looking for something even more packed with Vitamin C than a St. Clements, go for this – half OJ, half lemonade, all germ-fighting goodness.
Juice and honey
The perfect hangover cure, or non-alcoholic midweek pick-me-up.