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Alcohol Alternatives You Will Love: Non-Alcoholic Spirits, Mocktails & More

Many alcohol alternatives exist, including a variety of drinks that can replicate the flavor or general feel of alcoholic drinks without containing any alcohol. Common choices include non-alcoholic spirits, mocktails, and a variety of carbonated beverages. The alternative you choose doesn’t particularly matter if it helps you avoid alcohol abuse and you are somewhat mindful of the drink’s nutritional value.

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Alcohol Alternatives

Alcohol alternatives are beverages meant to replace alcoholic drinks. Exercise dietitians say these beverages are healthier than their boozy counterparts. Removing alcohol means limiting damaging problems like gut inflammation and dehydration. Mocktails are also less addicting than cocktails.

It’s wise to watch the sugar and calorie content of mocktails. However, you can consider these beverages healthier than cocktails.

Here are some alcohol alternatives to consider:

Non-Alcoholic Spirits

Some people enjoy the taste of spirits, such as gin, whiskey, and rum. One option you can consider if you want the taste of these drinks but are avoiding alcohol is trying a non-alcoholic version. There are a variety of non-alcoholic spirits to choose from at a variety of price points, all with no risk of a hangover or other negative effects related to alcohol. 


A mocktail is a fun name for the many varieties of mixed drinks meant to replicate the taste of a cocktail but without any alcoholic component. Like with alcoholic cocktails, these drinks can vary in prep time and come in many different styles and flavors, depending on what you’re looking for. 

This fun salted watermelon juice recipe from Bon Appétit takes only minutes to make, requiring just some watermelon and kosher salt. 

Simple Soda Mixes

Some people prefer to avoid trying to directly replicate the taste of alcoholic beverages when seeking alternatives. One very common choice is trying a simple mix of soda water and your preferred juice. You can try mixing it with cranberry juice or adding a dash of lime

You can also try drinking soda water on its own, with or without ice. Many non-drinkers default to a simple club soda, which is a good option if you find yourself at a location that mostly serves alcohol because many bars and similar venues will still offer it. 


Kombucha is a fermented tea drink, often flavored with spices, that mixes a carbonated fizz with a sweet-and-sour flavor. While fermenting does inherently mean it contains alcohol, it isn’t an “alcoholic” beverage, with a negligible alcohol content that would not generally result in an alcoholic “buzz” even if you drank much more than normal. 

Comparing Alcohol Alternatives

We’ve outlined a few beverages you can try instead of alcohol. What should you buy when you’re out shopping for something fun to drink? This table contains a few options that could be just right:

Beverage TypeBrand NameFlavor ProfileSugar ContentCalories
Nonalcoholic whiskeySeedlip Spice 94Spiced with cardamom, clove, and nutmegLow42
Nonalcoholic rumLyre’s Dark CaneRich molasses, caramel, and vanillaLow13
Ginger beerFever TreeStrong ginger flavorHigh70
CitrusSan Pellegrino AranciataSparkling with a hint of sweetnessMedium60
KombuchaHealth-Ade Ginger Lemon KombuchaGinger balanced with lemonMedium30
MocktailCurious Elixir No. 1Mock negroniMedium30
MocktailCurious Elixir No. 7Mock champagne cocktailLow25

How Do Alcohol Alternatives Taste?

Some alcohol alternatives taste very similar to their boozy counterparts. However, some experts point out that these beverages simply can’t taste just like alcoholic drinks, as they’re missing a key ingredient.

For example, mock whiskeys and rums are often created with the same processes used to craft alcoholic beverages, but the kick is either blocked during distillation or removed. A drink like this might taste very similar to the alcoholic version.

However, mocktails can taste very different than cocktails. They don’t contain the bite of alcohol, so the flavors involved in the drink can come forward and become the star of the show. A mocktail you might order from a bar could have a complexity of flavors you never encountered when the booze was running across your palate.

The mouthfeel of alcohol alternatives can also be different. Alcohol can cause a burning or tingling sensation on the first sip, which could be absent in nonalcoholic versions altogether. Alcohol also has a telltale odor that is absent in a mocktail.

Other Options to Consider

If you’re avoiding alcohol, you can also try a significant departure from the general flavor of alcoholic beverages. While it’s important to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet, these are some fun options you can try on occasion:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Milkshakes
  • Fruit juices

Even better is simply drinking a refreshing glass of water. 

A Step-by-Step Plan to Cut Back on Drinking

According to Pew Research Center, about 19% of adults who drink polled in 2023 say they sometimes drink more than they should. Cutting back on your intake could be a healthy first step toward sobriety.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Set a Limit

Determine how many nights per week you will consume alcohol, and outline how many drinks you’ll have on those days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines moderate drinking as up to two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women. Using these limits as a benchmark could help you set healthy boundaries with alcohol.

Step 2: Count your Drinks

Limits mean nothing if you don’t stick to them. Put an app like Less on your phone, and count how many drinks you have on your drinking days. Apps like this can help you understand how many calories you consume, how much money you spend on drinks, and how it impacts your sleep.

Step 3: Define & Manage Triggers

Some people, places, and emotional states can prompt you to drink more than you should. Observe your drinking behaviors and cravings for a few days, and you could spot meaningful triggers.

With your triggers defined, create a plan to reduce their impact. For example, if a certain friend often encourages you to go drinking after dinner together, connect during lunch instead.

Step 4: Ask for Help

Tell your friends and family members about your decision to drink less and encourage them to support it. If you find it hard to stick to your commitment, these allies could help you get back on track quickly.

Tips to Reduce Your Drinking

If you’re looking to reduce your drinking, here are some tips to consider:

  • Know what triggers your desire to drink. Then, avoid those triggers when possible.
  • Try to maintain an alcohol-free house, and set days where you won’t drink any alcohol.
  • Measure your alcohol intake, not just your “number of drinks,” as different beverages have different amounts of alcohol.
  • Alternate drinks, drinking one non-alcoholic drink for every alcoholic drink you consume.
  • Don’t drink alcohol to quench your thirst. Instead, choose water.
  • Seek help if you can’t stop drinking more than you would want to or alcohol is actively damaging your quality of life.

One especially important tip to remember is that breaking a period of sobriety doesn’t have to represent a “floodgate” moment where you suddenly start regularly abusing alcohol again. While people who struggle with alcohol abuse are generally encouraged not to drink at all, slips happen. 

If you’ve been avoiding alcohol and then have a drink, you can still avoid alcohol as best you can in that moment and then continue your sobriety in the morning or when you next have the ability to resist that temptation. You don’t “lose” when you have an alcoholic beverage, and it doesn’t have to represent any kind of major reset of your progress in overcoming alcohol abuse or addiction. 

Relapse is often part of the recovery process. You can continue working to resist drinking and making the healthiest choices possible regardless of how long it has been since your last drink. The important part is to get back on track as soon as possible.

Profile image for Dr. Alison Tarlow
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated April 24, 2024
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