Looking for alternatives to alcohol? We’ve got you covered! Whether you’re trying to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for health reasons or just want to explore new options, there are a variety of great alternatives that will have you sipping and savoring in no time. From craft mocktails to non-alcoholic beers and wine alternatives, there’s something for everyone here.
Below is a list of alcohol alternatives for every occasion, whether you’ve quit drinking alcohol permanently or just want to cut back a little.
So the next time you’re invited to a picnic at the park, hosting a bbq, or planning a special event like a wedding, why not give one of these alternatives a try?
Non Alcoholic Drinks vs Alcoholic Drinks
Before we dive into the options, it’s important to understand what products are being marketed as non-alcoholic beverages.
The language on the label depends on the country, but generally speaking, beer, wine, spirits, and even kombucha can be labeled as non-alcoholic when they contain 0.5% ABV or less. To compare, some ripe fresh fruit like bananas can often contain this amount of alcohol naturally.
Here are the top non alcoholic alternatives to try and when, including specific product recommendations.
Non Alcoholic Beer
Non-alcoholic beer is a great alternative to alcoholic beer. Many craft brands brew their non-alcoholic beer in a similar way to the alcoholic version, and they end up tasting great. There are some completely alcohol free beers and some with a minor amount.
Non-alcoholic beer may also offer potential health benefits, one being electrolyte content for hydration. Also, alcohol free beer is typically lower in calories than alcoholic beer. If you’re skeptical whether this is actually healthy, you should read my deeper dive into the subject: Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Good for You?
When to Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer: Backyard BBQ
Here are a couple of great non-alcoholic beers to load up up your cooler for a pool party or backyard bbq (links to more detailed reviews and tasting notes):
Mocktails with Non Alcoholic Spirits
Yes, non-alcoholic spirits are a thing, and they exist in abundance today. What are they? Most simply, they are alternatives to alcohol meant to be mixed in non-alcoholic cocktails. Sometimes they attempt to be flavor substitutes, but many of them are unique products that create unique mocktails.
When to Drink Mocktails with NA Spirits: Taco night
There are so many great choices, but one excellent way to skip the alcohol and still have a great cocktail is to make a margarita with a non-alcoholic tequila. I like to use Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative, and have tested it in several versions. Take your pick of margarita mocktails and get to mixing for taco night at home! Ginger beer is also a great mixer with non-alcoholic spirits, as proven in all these great ginger beer mocktails. Or stick to a classic and try a non-alcoholic gin and tonic.
Here are some more non-alcoholic alternatives that are great for mocktail mixing:
Mocktails without Spirit Substitutes
If you don’t have any non-alcoholic spirits handy and want to get mixing, there are many nonalcoholic drinks you can make with everyday ingredients. Look around and consider mixing fresh fruit with herbs, sweet and sour, blended or shaken. One of the reasons to make a mocktail is to create a drink that feels festive. So add garnish, add an umbrella – bump up the flair! For ideas, check out some of these tried and true mocktail flavor combinations.
When to Drink Mocktails without Spirit Substitutes: Kid’s Birthday Party
Make a Watermelon Mint Mocktail. Dress it up with a mint garnish, flamingo stir stick. The best part – pour it in some popsicle molds and freeze for the kids. Everybody wins.
Ready-to-Drink Alcohol Alternatives
There are many great alternatives to alcohol that come in a can or bottle, and they’re perfect for when you don’t have time to mix something up.
When to Drink RTD Beverages: Happy hour aperitif
Weeknights are a great time to try and skip drinking alcohol. Maybe you had a long day of work and just want a drink at the end of the day. Substitute it with a ready-to-drink mocktail – no effort required. After trying lots of different canned mocktails, Kin Euphorics Kin Spritz is still my favorite for an aperitif.
Non-alcoholic wine comes in many forms, but sparkling is still the queen. Alcohol free wine is made in different ways, whether that is removing alcohol post production or fermenting in such a way that it never creates a high ABV. There’s nothing more festive than a glass of bubbles, right?
When to Drink Non-Alcoholic Wine: Day after wedding brunch
Not all non-alcoholic wine is alike. Many of them are very sweet, but not for everyone. Noughty Sparkling Wine is a great non-alcoholic wine that doesn’t taste like sparkling grape juice. Throwing a brunch the day after your wedding? Consider adding some bottles of Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay to the table. Your guests will thank you.
Komucha is a fermented drink made from tea and sometimes fruit juice that has been around for centuries. It’s made by fermenting sweet tea with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). The fermentation process creates carbonation and a slightly vinegary taste.
When to drink Kombucha: With lunch in a fancy glass
There are so many great brands of kombucha, but the ones with ginger are my favorite.
Teas have been used in Chinese medicine and other alternative therapies as remedies and health products for ages. Green tea, herbal teas, and all other tea varieties have antioxidant properties and are considered to offer various benefits like aiding digestion, calming the mind, and lowering risk of various medical conditions.
When to Drink Tea: Relaxing at home or as an after-dinner digestif
If you’re looking for a tea that will help you relax in the evening, we recommend chamomile. There are many herbal tea blends that claim to aid in digestion, like ginger and dandelion root. So, next time you consider having a nightcap, why not substitute it for something new?
Sparkling Water and Soda Water
It might seem like a boring choice, but sparkling water and soda water can be very refreshing, especially when dressed up with a sprig of rosemary or a lime wedge. It’s a great alternative to alcohol and even soft drinks (hello, sugar content), since it has that satisfying fizz.
When to Drink Sparkling Water: Whenever you want!
While there are canned flavored versions of sparkling water available, I prefer to use plain and dress it up myself. More variety is always better, IMHO.
Why not drink alcohol?
Consumption of too many alcoholic drinks can contribute to various health issues. Whether it’s for mental health, physical health or a desire to change poor drinking habits, everyone has their reasons. “Why drink alcohol?” is an equally valid question.
Are there any substitutes for alcohol that taste like alcohol?
Yes, there are some non-alcoholic spirits that are pretty convincing flavor substitutes for alcoholic spirits, but without the booze. One that comes to mind is Lyre’s White Cane Spirit, a non-alcoholic light rum. Also, Monday Gin is a very good substitute for London dry gin in a classic gin and tonic.
Whether you are sober curious, interested in alcohol free drinks for pregnancy, or are already booze free, there are loads of products and options available for every flavor and drink preference. If you’re looking for more suggestions, be sure to check out the taste testing and reviews of alcohol alternatives in product reviews. Which non-alcoholic alternatives will you try first?