Mocktails Make for Safe Merriment

Mocktails Make for Safe Merriment

‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer. That often means getting together with friends and family. Good food, refreshing drinks and time with your favorite people are all ingredients for a wonderful time, right? Just make sure you don’t over indulge in alcoholic beverages. With cocktails, eggnog, hot toddies and bubbly on the menu, it can be easy to drink too much.

You don’t have to drink alcohol to be social, and overdoing it can be dangerous.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans leaving site icon advises drinking in moderation. What does that mean? Generally, it is defined as up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

One drink is:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor

One day is one 24-hour period, so don’t stockpile five days’ worth of drinks for your next party. Even occasional binge drinking can do permanent damage to your heart. It can enlarged the heart and even trigger a heart attack, stroke or heart rhythm problems.

Use Smart-Sip Strategies

Instead, fill your flute or mug with non-alcoholic beverages. Drink a glass of water before and after every alcoholic drink. It will help you stay hydrated and full. A little sparkling water can go a long way toward helping you feel festive. Another good option is sparkling fruit juices, but there are others, too.

If you’re hosting a holiday get together, make sure some tasty non-alcoholic drinks are on the menu. Here are a few easy and fun recipes to consider.

Punch Drunk on Love
Serves 12

1 48-ounce bottle of chilled, sweetened cranberry juice cocktail
3 ounces of thawed, undiluted lemonade concentrate
1 bottle (about 24 ounces) of chilled sparking water

Combine the first two ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Add the chilled sparking water and stir gently. Serve immediately in champagne flutes or martini glass. Add a rosemary twig, cranberries on a toothpick, lime twist or other festive garnish.

Cozy by The Fire
Serves 6

5 cups of apple cider
3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of whole cloves
A shake of nutmeg and salt

Whisk all the ingredients together. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Strain and serve warm in mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and an orange slice or twist.

Please, Sir, I’ll Have S’more
Serves 6

First, make the cocoa mix:
3 cups of sugar
2 cups of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of table salt

Mix and store in resealable container or bag.

Next, make this s’more drink mix:
6 cups of skim or almond milk
12 tablespoons of the cocoa mix from above
1 cup of mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons of melted butter
6 plain graham crackers

Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag. Crush into fine bits, then pour them onto a plate. Use a pastry brush to rim mugs with melted butter. Dip the butter-rimmed mugs into the graham crackers.

Add 2 tablespoons of drink mix to each mug. Add 1 cup of hot milk to each mug and stir. Add a small handful of marshmallows into each mug.

Remember, if you do drink, don’t drive. Not even after drinking a few cups of coffee. Only time will help you sober you up. So, cheers to your health. Raise your “mocktail” and toast a safe and happy holiday season.

Sources: Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022; Alcohol Use Disorder Overview, leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2022

Originally published 12/9/2015; Revised 2021, 2023