It’s no wonder that more than 30 percent of the nation’s $30 billion in wine and beer sales takes place in final few months of the year. Between the many dinner, work, and holiday parties that happen around this time, the season can easily be called the Season of Cheers. But what about the sober folks looking for alcohol-free drinks?
December is National Impaired Driving Awareness Month. The National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an average of 30 million Americans drive drunk each year. Furthermore, the NHTSA reports that traffic fatalities involving alcohol and drugs increase significantly during the holidays. This holiday season, choose a designated driver (DD) or choose to be one.
But staying sober during this season can be challenging, especially if you’re throwing a New Year’s Eve party — or attending one. Still, you don’t have to drink to celebrate. Here are a few alcohol-free “mocktail” recipes to help you and your guests toast the end of the year in style.
Alcohol-Free Cocktails for New Year’s Eve
¼ oz grenadine syrup
Boylan’s Ginger Ale, as needed
Maraschino cherry, for garnish
Lemon wedge, for garnish
- Pour the grenadine into a Tom Collins glass filled with ice.
- Top with the ginger ale, then garnish with the lemon wedge and a maraschino cherry.
Sparkling Cucumber Mint Tonic
Crisp, clean and refreshing, this alcohol-free cocktail is a great way to hydrate while dancing the night away.
- Combine the mint leaves, lime juice, cucumber juice, and 2 cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker. Gently muddle to combine flavors. Add the remaining cucumber slices to the shaker, fill with ice and shake vigorously.
- Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass filled with ice and top with tonic. If desired, garnish with fresh mint.
This cocktail is inspired by the classic Jack Rose cocktail, traditionally made using an apple-based brandy, such as Laird’s Applejack, and of course, Roseland, New Jersey. To make this version, substitute the brandy for apple juice or apple cider from your local Jersey Fresh Community Farmers Market.
- Add the lemon juice, grenadine, apple juice or cider, and egg white to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the remainder of the shaker with ice, then shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. If desired, garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Spy House Mata Hari
This is a gently spiced mocktail inspired by the cognac-based cocktail — which is inspired by history’s most famous lady spy, as well as the history of the historic “Spy House,” (aka the Seabrook-Wilson House) in Port Monmouth. According to legend, the house was a tavern frequented by British troops during the Revolutionary War. Their barroom chatter about battle plans was given to nearby colonial forces by the tavern owner.
1¼ oz cold chai tea
½ oz maple syrup, or more to taste
¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Half (½) oz pomegranate juice
Seltzer or tonic water, as needed
Orange slice, for garnish (optional)
- Stir the chai tea and maple syrup together in a mixing glass.
- Add the lemon juice and pomegranate juice.
- Pour the mixture into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with ice, top with seltzer, and stir.
Here’s another sparkler inspired by one of New Jersey’s most important crops: cranberries. A sweet and zippy lime sugar rim adds excitement to this mixture of cranberry juice, lime juice, and bubbles.
- Rim a cocktail glass with a small amount of lime juice, then dip the glass into sugar to create a sweet, lime-flavored rim.
- Combine the remaining lime juice and the cranberry juice in a mixing glass filled with ice. Add the seltzer or tonic, and until all the flavors are combined.
- Strain the mixture into the prepared cocktail glass and garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.