As I’ve written before, my husband and I really love Dry January. It lets us reassess and break bad habits, as well as give our livers a rest and catch up on quality sleep and so forth. I’ve got a few days picked out where I’m definitely drinking (inauguration and my birthday on the 28th) but I may actually try to do at least 7-8 weeks because that is how long it allegedly takes to create new habits.
In fact, creating new habits is the big thing I’m trying to do during this dry spell, rather than just knuckling down and ignoring old habits. In Atomic Habits the author talks a lot about how “getting rid of an older habit is like uprooting a mighty oak from your soul while forming a new habit is like cultivating a delicate flower — one day at a time.” (Here’s my entire Atomic Habits review!)
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In past dry periods I’ve alternated between a few different lazy-ish mocktails that got a bit boring after a while — kombucha, seltzer with bitters/shrubs/drinking vinegars, non-alcoholic Heineken, or premade drinks like iced teas or sugar-free lemonade. We love our Sodastream to make plain seltzer, but I also really like Spindrift and a random one my mother has found at Costco — I think it starts with a K, like Karborum or something.
We also like as unicorn juice, which the readers turned me on to — seltzer with a small bit of sugar-free pink lemonade. I need to find something tiny to measure it with, though, because “just a dash” always results in an overly sweet drink. We have a ton of True Lemonade products that are great for mixing with seltzer, too.
Some of our favorite non-alcoholic drinks and things to add to plain seltzer (we love our Sodastream!) include:
This year, though, as part of my trying to create a new habit, I’m trying to get into the mocktail spirit with actual recipes, whether they include juices, syrups, or fake alcohol. I’ve purchased a bunch of fake alcohol and may review them later on, including Ritual, Monday, and Proteau — and if I were a beer drinker I’ve heard great things about Athletic Brewing Company. So I thought I’d round up some great recipes!
I should note, though — my husband and I are open to having low-alcohol drinks instead of non-alcoholic drinks, so if it’s easier for us to find, say, elderflower liqueur versus elderflower syrup, we use that. Bitters, in fact, are actually very concentrated alcohol — sometimes as high as 44%. So be wary if you’re avoiding alcohol entirely for reasons like allergies, medication interaction, pregnancy, or others.
(A tiny admin note: This post is put together using a tool that I’m still learning — if it’s unclear to you, the text in gray is mine, and clicking on the links will take you to the actual recipes on other sites.)
Readers, let’s hear from you — are you doing Dry January this year, or reassessing your alcohol consumption in general? For those of you who have stopped drinking entirely, what new habits have you created? What do you think are great mocktail recipes?
(Another admin note — the photo at the top of this post is a stock photo, but this grapefruit/elderflower drink is close, or this mock margarita looks awesome.)
If you’re more interested in moderation, here are some great tools to help you with that:
Pictured above, some ideas on how to moderate your drinking: Caloric Cuvee, Mr. Picky Stemless Wine Glass (the brand has several options available), and Wine-Trax; all $9-$19 at Amazon. I’ve also talked about how much I love the beautiful cocktail glasses from The History Company because they’re generally smaller!
10 Great Mocktail Recipes
These are ten great mocktail recipes that I've either tried or are on my list...
I am not usually a grapefruit fan and I never like flowery gin, so I wasn't sure I would like this, but we had some fresh grapefruits and elderflower liqueur (think St. Germain) so we decided to make this into a very low-alcohol cocktail. WOW. Amazing. So tasty! I really loved this one.
Spiced Hibiscus Mocktail — Dr. Katie
I had ripped out a Real Simple article where the founder of Proteau gave a similar recipe, so we tried this one -- it was tasty! We let it sit about 24 hours; I might make sure to shake it before serving next time because the end of my second glass was so much more cinnamon-y and pepper-y than the first one.
Pomegranate Ginger Paloma
We haven't tried this exact recipe yet but we did try a lazy mock margarita with Ritual's alternative tequila (well, low alcohol because we used Curacao for the first round and then Cointreau for the second round) and WHOA. I'm going to do a separate post reviewing all of the fake alcohol we're trying this month, but this one is super fiery and complex -- not sweet at all. As the saying goes, "that'll put hair on your chest!" If you're a fan of any sort of jalapeño/tequila drink, you need to try this one.
Warm Up the Entire Family With This Nonalcoholic Hot Not Toddy
This one is on my list to try -- a nice hot toddy is so perfect on a winter night!
Summer Fruit Shrub Recipe
I've really enjoyed shrubs in the past but I've just purchased them (and paid a ton for shipping) -- I might try this shrub recipe. Just mix with seltzer!
Monday Gin is another of the fake alcohols we're trying this month, but we haven't opened it yet -- I'll report back when we do. This recipe looks great.
Sparkling Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail
I'm a big fan of kombucha (we've even made our own, although I wouldn't say we made our own successfully) -- and while kombucha in a fancy glass always feels like a bit of an upgrade, a kombucha mocktail sounds even better. This one is on my list of mocktails to try!
Mango Raspberry Margarita with LaCroix Sparking Water
Readers turned me on to a lot of the great recipes at the LaCroix website -- this one looks divine!
Mulled Pomegranate 'Wine' Recipe | Zero Proof
This mulled pomegranate "wine" recipe looks fabulous, especially for a cold Saturday night.
One of my big motivations for doing dry January is cutting calories, so I'm always interested in mocktails that are low cal -- and Hungry Girl features a ton of them!
Readers, let’s hear from you — what do you drink when you’re not drinking alcohol? Do you have any great mocktail recipes to share?
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Shopping help please. I am looking for a wool beanie that is fleece lined and also has a pom. I already tried Lulu’s most popular option, but it was somehow too small for my (small) head while also being too bulky. I don’t think it was fully wool either so maybe I’m asking too much. I’ve looked at Smartwool and Anthro but neither seem to have exactly what I want. As for mocktails, I’m not doing dry January because I want to support our local breweries who are hurting. Just my two cents on that.
I used to have this one before I lost it. Thinking of repurchasing. Sounds like exactly what you want. Their website also has a few more options so check it out. https://www.turtlefur.com/products/amelia-knit-beanie
I have one from patagonia! I was looking for the same thing all of last winter and it’s surprisingly hard to find…
I have one from Plush that is super cashmere/fleece. Not sure if the current collection includes wool though.
It’s not wool, but I have a fleece-lined CC beanie (with pom!) that is very comfy and warm.
Thanks all! Going to check out each of these!
Paging the commenter from yesterday who asked me about electric cargo bikes – was going to reply and then, you know, insurrectionists tried to take over the Capitol….
We got a RadWagon and we LOVE it. We’d ridden it before as one of our friends have one and so didn’t really look at anything else because RadWagons are substantially cheaper than other options. I’ve also test driven an electric Urban Arrow and it was also really nice, but much bigger and would require more storage space. Only had our RadWagon since the summer but have substantially cut our car usage both for kid hauling and grocery hauling. We live in a city and basically travel in a two mile radius from our home, even in the Before Times, so it is perfect. Love never having to think about parking but also not having to get super sweaty hauling two kids in a trailer.
That was me! Thank you! Very helpful. I have a car but trying to use it less as well.
I rode my regular bike a lot before we got the e-bike, but the increased cargo capacity plus the ease of riding it makes it much more likely I will take the e-bike rather than the car now. If you get one, definitely get the front basket. And order everything that you can at once – shipping costs are kinda high.
Is anyone still bothering with dry January after yesterday?
Lol – I am cutting back to weekends but…. made an exception yesterday!
Ha! I was real close to falling off the wagon, especially after yesterday also turned out to be a day of Stupid at my actual work…
I’m not doing dry January, but I recently decided to only drink on the weekends. Well, that went out the window yesterday.
This was me, too!
Ha! Yes, Hubby and I are hanging in there. And I can’t be bothered with mocktails and am making do with Pellegrino and store-brand La Croix.
Although last night as we watched the craziness on TV, I might have been heard to say “I wish I had a drink and a cigarette and a box of See’s candy!”
It’s Nearly Dry January for me now.
hahaha that was my reaction, I am not doing dry January but I was cutting out alcohol to see if it would help with a bladder urgency/pain issue I am having (that is definitively not an infection). I was supposed to stop all alcohol for 2 weeks and was 6 days into it before yesterday. I will be restarting the two-week trial AFTER inauguration day I think.
Anon for this
I had this happen earlier this fall and was at my wits’ end. (I posted about it here and got lots of good vibes that it would not turn out to be IC.)
Turns out – two months of unexplained, intermittent bladder and urinary pain later, two urine samples, an ultrasound, and physical therapy sessions – it was a large kidney stone that was missed on the kidney and bladder ultrasound I had done. Thinking back, I did have some unusually bad cramps one night, but not the classic ‘back pain that sends you to the ER’ that you hear about. All symptoms were gone within 2 days.
Thank you so much for this post! I feel like we are feeling the same way, Kat! While I am not actually doing Dry January, I am cutting back and interested in finding good mocktail recipes. So far, I’ve just been combining an 8oz can of cranberry cocktail with 12oz can of plain seltzer in a Yeti tumbler. Not particularly creative, but I feel like that was progress. :)
I want something interesting to drink but not with too much sugar, and I want to be able to have multiple drinks at a party that goes on for hours without overdoing it. I wish I could find bubbly canned drinks with an ABV of 2% or lower. I feel like there is a huge business opportunity there for whoever can make something like that work.
I want to be more health conscious and kind to my body while still enjoying life!
I highly recommend experimenting with different flavors of bitters. A dash in club soda is often enough of that ‘bite’ to taste like a drink but with only the tiniest bit of alcohol.
Agree! I really like cucumber bitters, very fresh and interesting taste to add.
Thank you for the suggestion!
I have bought some spiked seltzers that turned out to be kinda crap, but were quite good when mixed with unsweetened grapefruit juice (though it’s worth noting that bitter is my jam)! I’m pretty sure the finished product was about 3% ABV, just based on the ratios. Adding some ice and a sprig of mint makes it a ~fancy drink~
Thanks! I’ve been basically flatlined by depression for the past months, but here’s hoping I can pop in more often to yell body positivity at people and recommend LJs :-P
I’ve missed you, too. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling; I hope you are doing much better. Welcome back!
Not a mocktail, but at 18 months dry, my favorite thing when I’m feeling fancy is Fever Tree’s grapefruit soda. It’s meant as a mixer, but SO tasty on its own if you want something fizzy that isn’t too sweet.