Keep Your Spirits Bright: Healthier And Booze-Free Winter Cocktail Options
Holidays are a time of indulgence, and here at mindbodygreen we believe in finding the delicate balance between treat yo'self and fitness #goals. For most of us, that means taking advantage of these next couple weeks as a time to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and even bond with colleagues, while making sure that our beverage selections are healing, too.
Whether you're into booze or not, chances are you'll be confronted with egg nog, hot toddies, and bubbly galore during these celebratory times. And hey, sometimes you want to indulge in the classics! But you don't have to if that's just not your jam. For one, the sober social movement is trending, and as a result, so are non-alcoholic craft cocktails that aren't full of sugar. On the other hand, sometimes you actually choose booze, but you know a glass of egg nog, spiked cider, or champagne will leave you in a tapped-out downward sugar spiral.
To that end, we compiled a list of our favorite healthier and non-alcoholic cocktails for the holidays. Cheers!
Healing, plant-based cocktails
The link between alcohol and healing has been blurred in modern culture, but historically alcohol was often used throughout history as a medicinal tonic. Even today, it's used in making potent tinctures and modern herbalists like Jessa Bales host cosmic cocktail parties that serve healing, plant-based libations. These three healthier drink ingredients will help you concoct the winter elixir you've been craving.
Most commercial kombuchas today have minimal, trace amounts of alcohol in them and don't even require ID for purchase. But some home brews and stronger commercial brands are purposely keeping the booze levels higher. Having tried one such brand, Kombrewcha, the effects are subtle, but noticeable: it's quickly become a favorite easy weekday indulgence.
"Kombrewcha has naturally occurring alcohol as a result of the (tea) fermentation process already built in the product. At two percent alcohol by volume and four delicious flavors, plus the added bonus of live probiotics, organic acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants and the fact that we are only sixty-five calories and have four grams of sugar, Kombrewcha is truly a guilt free indulgence," says Kombrewcha co-founder Ariel Glazer. Whether you add it to a cocktail like the recipe below or drink it straight from the bottle, it's a delicious way to drink better.
Smoked Healthy Rosemary Moscow Mule
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- 2 ounces of ginger kombrewcha
- rosemary, for garnish
- Lightly shake vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup.
- Add ginger beer and shake.
- Serve in a copper mug and garnish with rosemary.
If you prefer no alcohol, we recommend Health Ade's Holiday Cheers kombucha blend, which has a mild tea flavor that includes ginger, cacao, and all-spice.
Spiced Almond Milk
Pressed Juicery has released a seasonal spiced almond milk with the flavor profile of a warming winter drink. It's high in good fats and boasts a dash of cinnamon, both will help stabilize your blood sugar levels keeping spirits bright. With only 10 grams of sugar per serving, the spiced almond milk is a huge improvement on the classic egg nog, which often includes added sugar through chocolate and simple syrups.
Spiced Almond Milk "Egg Nog"
- 8 oz spiced almond milk
- 1 tbsp rum
- coconut whipped cream (recipe here)
- cinnamon stick and powdered nutmeg to garnish
- Make coconut whipped cream to garnish. Add 8 oz. of spiced almond milk to a fancy cocktail glass of your choice, mixing the rum in well.
- Add the cinnamon stick, whipped cream, and powdered nutmeg to garnish. To preserve raw nature of this nut milk, we recommend serving "egg nog" chilled.
Pea protein milk
Before you dismiss this as crazy "pea milk," Ripple has created a beverage that's delicious and high in protein: two things that are not easy to come by in a plant-based milk. The Pajarete is a touch more indulgent than the others but calls for only the best ingredients—including mezcal which also made our wellness trends this year! So if you're craving something a little stronger, the pajarete is your best bet.
- 1 oz bourbon
- 1 oz mezcal espadin
- 3 oz Chocolate Ripple
- 1/4 oz agave
- 2 dashes aromatic bitters
- Shaved ice
- Grated chocolate
- Sprig of mint
- Using a blender, create the shaved ice, making enough to form a small ball the size of your fist. Put into a double rocks glass and set aside.
- Shake together all ingredients except the ice. Pour mixture over ice.
- Garnish with grated chocolate and a sprig of mint.
Craft cocktail alternatives
To be honest, we never understood why a seltzer and lime or shirley temple were the only cocktail alternatives. Even more honesty: We're not huge fans of the word "mocktail." Let's face it: without the booze, many cocktails lose their bitter flavor, especially the old-fashioned craft variety. We're relieved to share that, finally, a handful of bright minds brands are beginning to change that, championing the alcohol-free selection in a modern, flavor- and scent-forward way.
Curious Elixirs: Complex cocktails without the booze
The brainchild of a yogi and an artisan bartender, Curious Elixirs are cocktail-inspired bottled beverages that aim to mimic the complexity of boozy cocktails...because why should drinkers have all the fun? They're small batch and made in upstate New York from top quality ingredients, sourcing locally and sustainably when possible, and abiding by fair trade and non-GMO practices. Did we mention there's no sugar added and that there are new seasonal varieties every month? We'll raise a glass to that!
Seedlip: Non-alcoholic spirits
Based out of London, Seedlip's Ben Branson set out to distill herbal remedies sans the alcohol for the world's first non-alcoholic spirits. The product looks like something out of a perfumer or apothecary, with the main scent notes displayed on each bottle. The drink has no calories, no sugars or sweeteners, and it's recommended to serve it with tonic, just like a regular cocktail. It's worth mentioning that the packaging is one of the most beautifully designed beverages we've seen.
With a fresh variety of holiday cheer, there's no reason not to raise a glass this season. Salud!