8 Healthy & Delicious Non-Alcoholic Drinks You Should Try

Cutting back on alcohol can have several health benefits. Try these healthy and delicious non-alcoholic drinks.

Delicious healthy mocktails
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Published:
May 17, 2024
May 4, 2023
— Updated:
May 5, 2023

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We’re well past dry January, but non-alcoholic drinks have been gaining popularity among people interested in improving their health and wellness. As more people become conscious of lifestyle changes that support their longevity, there is a growing interest in non-alcoholic beverages as a healthier option for drinking. 

Drinking less alcohol, or no alcohol, can have many important health benefits. Non-alcoholic spirits and non-alcoholic beer are popular alternatives for people who want to enjoy the taste and social experience of drinking without the effects of alcohol. This article explores the benefits of non-alcoholic drinks and some healthy and delicious recipes to try. 

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn more: </strong> <a href="/blog/alcohol-and-blood-sugar">Does Alcohol Raise Blood Sugar?</a>.</p>

Health Benefits of Taking a Break from Alcohol

There are numerous health benefits to not drinking alcohol, while not sacrificing the experience of drinking. Companies like Athletic Brewing Company are revolutionizing non-alcoholic beverages for the modern adult with great-tasting, craft, non-alcoholic beer and hop-infused sparkling waters. 

Some of the most significant benefits of switching to non-alcoholic beverages include:

Better liver function

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, so drinking too much alcohol can damage liver cells, which can cause conditions like cirrhosis. Drinking less alcohol reduces the strain put on your liver.1 

Better sleep

While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it’s actually disruptive to your sleep patterns and results in poor-quality sleep. Drinking less alcohol or avoiding alcohol before bed can improve your sleep quality and overall health.2

Lower risk of cancer

Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including liver, breast, and colon cancer. Choosing non-alcoholic mocktails can help decrease your risk of developing a life-threatening disease.3

Weight loss

Alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. When you drink alcohol, the metabolism of fat shuts down because all of your body’s resources go to getting the alcohol out of your system. Reducing alcohol and choosing low-calorie mixers could help you better manage your weight.4 

Improved mental health

Drinking alcohol can negatively affect mental health, including increased anxiety and depression. Ditching alcohol can profoundly improve mood and mental health.5

Avoiding alcohol can have several health benefits, including improved liver function, better sleep, lower cancer risk, weight loss, and improved mental health. You may also experience better blood sugar control when you don’t drink alcohol.

Healthy Mocktail Ingredients

There are many fun and healthy ingredients that are great to use for a healthy and delicious non-alcoholic drink. Some common ingredients used in non-alcoholic drink recipes include:

Herbs like mint, basil, and rosemary can add an aromatic and refreshing twist to your non-alcoholic cocktail. To add some fizz, you can use sparkling water. Use coconut water to add a unique tropical flavor for a booze-free pina colada.

8 Delicious and Healthy Mocktail Recipes 

1. Ginger Hibiscus Spritzer

Ginger Hibiscus Spritzer

This brightly-colored beverage gets its deep red color from dried hibiscus flowers. The hibiscus elixir can be made up to three days in advance. Add seltzer just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 6 Tbsp dried hibiscus
  • 6 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups water
  • Ice
  • Sparkling water

Bring ginger, dried hibiscus, honey, cinnamon stick, and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a heatproof container. Add 2 cups water; refrigerate until cold. Pour halfway up ice-filled glasses; top with seltzer.

Per serving: 23 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 0 g protein, 4 mg sodium, 6 g carb, 6 g sugars (6 g added sugars), 0 g fiber

2. Blackberry Mojito Mocktail

Blackberry Mojito Mocktail

If you're a fan of mojitos, you'll absolutely love this non-alcoholic blackberry mojito, also known as a "virgin" mojito. It's a refreshing mocktail that's perfect for savoring on a hot day or serving at a summer cookout. Made with fresh mint, lime, and blackberries, this drink has a sophisticated touch and a gorgeous color. This recipe yields two servings but is easily scalable to accommodate larger groups.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated cane sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided in half
  • 2–3 cups ice
  • 16 oz sparkling water

Wash and pat dry the blackberries. Pick off mint leaves from the stem, wash, and pat dry.

Put the blackberries, mint leaves, and granulated sugar in a small bowl. Use your muddling tool to muddle the berries and mint by pressing down firmly and twisting it back and forth. Continue to muddle until the berries resemble a jam and the mint is fragrant.

Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into two 16-ounce drinking glasses. Squeeze the juice of half a lime into each glass. Fill each cup generously with ice cubes.

Pour sparkling water into the glasses. Use a spoon to mix the mojitos, dispersing the berries and mint throughout the glass. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint or slices of lime!

Per serving: 15 calories, 0.2g protein, 0.1g fat, 4g carb, 1g fiber, 2.4g sugar, 0mg sodium

3. Guava Margarita

Guava Margarita

This delicious tropical guava margarita can be served straight up or blended with ice. It’s the perfect mocktail for a summer party or hanging by the pool. No tequila needed!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. guava nectar 
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge, for serving

Directions

Fill a shaker with ice, then top with juices. Shake and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice. Serve with a lime slice.

Per serving: 78 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 1 g protein, 486 mg sodium, 20 g carb, 14.5 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 1 g fiber

4. Sparkling Strawberry-Ginger Lemonade

Sparkling Strawberry-Ginger Lemonade

Quench your thirst with this refreshing and zesty Sparkling Strawberry-Ginger Lemonade. The perfect balance of sweet strawberries, tangy lemon, and spicy ginger, topped with sparkling pink lemonade for a fizzy finish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hulled strawberries (about 6 ounces), plus sliced and/or whole berries for garnish
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle of sparkling pink lemonade
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles of ginger beer
  • Mint sprigs for garnish

Place strawberries in a large glass measuring cup; mash with a muddler or wooden spoon until very juicy. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl; press firmly to express as much juice as possible. 

Combine the strawberry juice, lemonade, and ginger beer in a large pitcher. Serve over ice in tall glasses. Garnish with sliced and/or whole berries and mint sprigs, if desired.

Per serving: 101 calories, 0g fat, 25g carbs, 24g sugar, 9mg sodium 

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5. Iced Lemongrass Mint Tea

Iced Lemongrass Mint Tea

Sip on a refreshing glass of this iced lemongrass mint tea, and take a moment to unwind. It has a perfect balance of lemongrass and cooling mint that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated without the hangover.

Ingredients

  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 6 bags of green tea
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 6 sprigs mint, plus more for serving

Cut lemongrass stalks in half lengthwise, then smash them with the back of a knife. Place in a large saucepan, add 6 cups water, and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add tea bags and honey, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a pitcher. Stir in 2 cups cold water. Serve over ice with mint.

Per serving: 24 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 0 g protein, 3 mg sodium, 6 g carb, 6 g sugars, 0 g fiber

6. Matcha Mint Lemonade

Matcha Mint Lemonade

This non-alcoholic lemonade features fresh mint and matcha powder, topped with club soda and crushed ice. This sparkling matcha mint lemonade is delightfully refreshing and too easy to make. Plus, some studies show that drinking green tea may help with weight management.6

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 2 tsp sugar or sweetener of choice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 sprig of mint leaves
  • ¾ - 1 cup sparkling water/club soda
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Add matcha powder and sweetener of your choice to a large glass with a little bit of water. Whisk until all the matcha powder has dissolved. Add fresh mint leaves and use a muddler to crush the leaves. Add lemon juice and mix until combined.

Divide the matcha green tea mixture into two smaller glasses or mason jars. Top with sparkling water or club soda. Serve the sparkling matcha mint lemonade with crushed ice and fresh mint leaves.

Per serving: 12 calories, 0.2g protein, 0g fat, 3g carb, 0.3g fiber, 2g sugar, 8mg sodium

7. Whipped Frozen Creamsicle

Whipped Frozen Creamsicle

The frozen mango and juicy flavor of the fresh orange juice make this drink taste like summer on a stick. Unsweetened vanilla coconut milk brings just a hint of sweetness while keeping this recipe vegan.

  • 1 ¼ cups orange juice or tangerine juice (fresh or refrigerated, not from concentrate)
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups ice cubes
  • ¼ cup frozen mango chunks
  • Orange slices for garnish

Combine orange (or tangerine) juice, coconut milk, ice, and frozen mango in a blender. Blend until the mango is pureed and the ice is crushed to a slushy consistency. Divide the creamsicle between two 12-ounce glasses, garnish each with an orange slice, if desired, and serve immediately.

Per serving: 96 calories, 1g protein, 1g fat, 21g carb, 2g fiber, 17g sugar, 2mg sodium 

8. Tart Cherry Sparkling Lemonade

Tart cherry sparkling lemonade

This non-alcoholic mocktail is sweet, tart, and a little fizzy. With just three ingredients, it’s an easy-to-make and is the perfect refreshing summer drink!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tart cherry juice
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup lime-flavored sparkling water
  • 1-2 Tbsp agave or to taste (optional)
  • Ice
  • Sugar and lime wedges to garnish optional

If using the optional sugar garnish: Use a lime wedge, and moisten the rim of the two glasses. 

Sprinkle sugar onto a plate and dip the moistened rim of the glass into the sugar.

Pour the tart cherry juice, lemon juice, lime sparkling water, and agave (if using) into a glass or jar. Mix well. 

Add ice to each glass. Pour half of the sparkling lemonade into each. If desired, add another splash of sparkling water or a squeeze of fresh lime.

Per serving: 113 calories, 1g protein, 28g carbs, 22g sugar, 11mg sodium

FAQs on Non-Alcoholic Drinks

What is the difference between alcohol-free and nonalcoholic?

“Alcohol-free" and "non-alcoholic" generally refer to drinks that do not contain alcohol, but there may be some differences in how the terms are used.

"Alcohol-free" typically means that a beverage contains no alcohol at all. This is often used to describe beverages such as beer, wine, or spirits that have had the alcohol removed through distillation or filtration. Some common examples of alcohol-free beverages include zero-proof alcohol and alcohol-free beer or wine.

“Non-alcoholic" may be used to describe a product that does contain a small amount of alcohol, usually less than 0.5% by volume. This small amount of alcohol is often a natural byproduct of fermentation to create beverages like kombucha or kefir.

Is there any alcohol in kombucha?

Yes, kombucha can contain a small amount of alcohol, typically less than 0.5% by volume. This is because the fermentation process used to make kombucha naturally produces small amounts of alcohol as a byproduct.

What are the healthiest mocktails to order?

Mocktails can be a great way to enjoy a flavorful and refreshing drink without the alcohol content of traditional cocktails. However, ordering drinks at a bar or restaurant can be challenging when trying to avoid alcohol and added sugar. 

Ask the bartender to transform your favorite traditional drinks into alcohol-free and low-sugar versions. To avoid added sugar, skip regular sodas and drink tonic water, club soda, or sparkling water.

Here are the best non-alcoholic drinks to order:

  • Pomegranate juice with seltzer and a splash of lemon and lime juice, or ginger juice (a more sophisticated version of a Shirley Temple)
  • Orange juice and seltzer with a splash of ginger juice (this one takes like a mimosa)
  • Muddled mint with pineapple juice, seltzer, and a splash of lime juice
  • Muddled berries and seltzer with a splash of lemon or lime juice
  • Muddled basil and cucumber with seltzer and a splash of lemon juice

Is there a healthy alternative to alcohol?

There are many nonalcoholic zero-proof beverages you can drink instead of alcohol.

  1. Sparkling water and fresh lime.
  2. Muddled berries in iced sparkling water.
  3. Kombucha. The new kid on the block and definitely the ‘it’ drink at the moment. Check the sugar content is no more than 5g/100ml.
  4. Virgin Bloody Mary. For those who prefer a saltier cocktail, this reworked classic is also a great option for those wanting to avoid alcohol and pack the veggies in, too.
  5. Virgin Mojito. Without the rum, a Mojito has about 35-40 calories and less than two spoons of sugar, so this is a good option.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Keep reading: </strong> <a href="/blog/alcohol-weight-gain">How Alcohol Contributes To Weight Gain</a>.</p>

Learn More About Healthy Nutrition with Signos’ Expert Advice

Signos is an excellent resource for expert advice on nutrition and healthy eating. Signos has a team of registered dietitians who compile evidence-based nutrition information to help you improve your health and wellness. Check out the resources here.

Signos CGM empowers you to improve your health by keeping track of your diet, exercise, sleep habits, and blood sugar. Knowledge is power, and a CGM can give you specific information about how your habits affect your health. 

Take a quick quiz to determine if Signos is a good fit for you.

People also ask:

  • What are the healthiest mocktails to order?

Ask the bartender to transform your favorite traditional drinks into alcohol-free and low-sugar versions. To avoid added sugar, skip regular sodas and drink tonic water, club soda, or sparkling water.

  • Is there a healthy alternative to alcohol?

There are many nonalcoholic zero-proof beverages you can drink instead of alcohol. Some ideas include sparkling water and fresh lime, muddled berries in iced sparkling water, Kombucha, and virgin bloody marys.

  • What is the best non-alcoholic beverage?

The best non-alcoholic beverage is the one that suits your preferences. Go for low-calorie, low-sugar ingredients, and use fruit and herbs for flavoring.

  • What are some of the benefits of drinking non-alcoholic drinks?

Benefits of choosing non-alcoholic beverages include better sleep quality, improved liver health, weight loss, and reduced risk for cancer. Not to mention you won’t have a hangover.

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References

  1. Hendriks HFJ. Alcohol and Human Health: What Is the Evidence?. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2020;11:1-21. doi:10.1146/annurev-food-032519-051827
  2. Thakkar MM, Sharma R, Sahota P. Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis. Alcohol. 2015;49(4):299-310. doi:10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.07.019
  3. Pelucchi C, Tramacere I, Boffetta P, Negri E, La Vecchia C. Alcohol consumption and cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(7):983-990. doi:10.1080/01635581.2011.596642
  4. Suter PM. Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for weight gain and obesity?. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2005;42(3):197-227. doi:10.1080/10408360590913542
  5. Gémes K, Forsell Y, Janszky I, et al. Moderate alcohol consumption and depression - a longitudinal population-based study in Sweden. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2019;139(6):526-535. doi:10.1111/acps.13034
  6. Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009;33(9):956-961. doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.135

About the author

Victoria Whittington earned her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from the University of Alabama and has over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.

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