Delicious Non-Alcoholic Drinks

by Grace Bonney

Earlier this year I decided to stop drinking. I was never much of a drinker in the first place, but after seeing an allergist I realized that all the things I felt when I drank even the tiniest bit of something alcoholic were signs of an alcohol intolerance. Nothing was severe enough to send me to the emergency room, but every time I had the occasional beer, my nose would immediately stuff up, my throat would start itching and my skin would get flushed so much that I felt like something was wrong with me. It turns out there was something wrong and that, shockingly, this wasn’t something that everyone else was feeling. So I decided to cut it out of my life and haven’t looked back since. That said, I still enjoy the act of having a festive “drink” when I’m out with friends celebrating something. So instead of drinking what everyone else is having, I have learned to ask bartenders about mocktails or anything they can make easily without adding alcohol. Those requests have led to some of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever had (the blood orange mocktail at Lola in Cleveland is amazing), so I decided to share some of my favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes for anyone looking to mix up something special for end-of-the-summer celebrations. Served in a punch bowl, these can be great drinks for anyone at a party (including younger guests) but you can easily dress them up in a fancy coupe with a garnish for older guests who want something that looks a little more sophisticated. I hope you’ll enjoy these drinks as much as I do! xo, grace

Image above: Chelsea Fuss’ Elderflower Drink is as summery as it gets. The post includes a version you can add alcohol to, but it is not required for the recipe.

Click through for all of my favorite mocktails after the jump!

Lemon Thyme Lemonade: Helen from Tartlette shared a delicious recipe for a summer lemonade that gets an extra boost of flavor from fresh thyme.

Sarsaparilla Strawberry Float: I love a strawberry drink and this recipe from Anton Nocito is a fresh, summery spin on one of my favorite treats: an ice cream float. The post includes a recipe for a sauce you can add that uses alcohol, but you can easily leave it off for a non-alcoholic drink.

Almond Joy Milkshake: For those of you who want something a little more decadent, Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn shared his recipe for a rich Almond Joy-inspired milkshake. This would be a delicious way to end a backyard BBQ!

Kumquat Spritzer: The Kitchn created one of my favorite mocktails that uses kumquat to add a dash of super fresh, super citrus flavor.

Chai Blossom: I love the taste of chai any time of year. This recipe from Bon Appetit makes it a bit more summery by using chai tea bags, lemon and lime.

Strawberry Basil Soda: The Kitchn also created this refreshing strawberry basil soda that reminds me of being a little kid again. The flavors are sweet but not too sweet and the basil is a nice counterbalance to the fruit.

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  • Awesome to see some fancy mocktails! All the blogs I read are constantly posting cocktail recipes and while that’s totally fine, I appreciate y’all branching out :)

    As a fellow non-drinker, my standard non-alcoholic-drink-that-looks-enough-like-a-drink-so-that-people-don’t-ask-me-why-I’m-not-drinking is just soda water with bitters and lime. It’s delicious, not sweet, super inexpensive, and pretty much everywhere has the supplies on hand.

  • I’ll try these – food allergies have changed the way I eat this year and these sound delicious. WhatI thought were my same old seasonal and environmental allergies turned out to be some new food allergies too.

  • Grace, I love this post. I’ve been looking for a few recipes like this for when I go out with friends. I still enjoy a good alcoholic beverage, just not all of of the time. I’m definitely going to try these.

  • These look delicious! I wish more bars would have Mocktails menus, I also don’t drink because of allergies but I wish I could go out with my friends and have something a little more special then soda. Even in my foodie town (Portland, Maine) the selection is sparse.

  • Thank you! As a pregnant woman during the height of fabulous summer parties and warm evenings out, I am at the END of my tolerance for the arnold palmer. If I drink another, I might throw up. This is fantastic. Especially interested in the kumquat mocktail!

  • I don’t drink often and my favorite drink is what I call a pomegranate spritzer- it is pomegranate juice, mixed with lime flavored seltzer, and a twist of lime. It is light and refreshing- the perfect summer drink!

  • This makes me happy! I don’t drink Coke/Pepsi type sodas and I’ve been cutting back on the booze, but I really miss having a tasty-drink-in-a-fancy-glass at the end of my workday.

  • Grace,
    I am allergic to alcohol as well. If you are ever on Kauai stop by Oasis on the Beach and have Joel mix one for you. He made some of the best ones I have ever had. His Mom is also alcohol intolerant.

  • Thank you for the suggestions. I love everything that contains mint. Even hot chocolate, which is not a drink, but it is tasty anyway. It is so sad that the summer is almost gone. I love to have all varieties of vegan ice cream with good drink in my favorite part of Toronto = Distillery District.

  • Actually think that I will try these all! I cannot drink either, makes me really unwell, I only miss Processo. These all look much more fabulous than wine and beer. Awesome.

  • Love this! I’ve been TTC for the whole year which has meant I’m often getting mocktails at Brooklyn bars. My favorite is cranberry soda with a lime – pretty much any bar has these on hand!