It’s New Year’s Eve, and you are headed out to a party. You know that everyone there may be drinking, but because you are on certain medications and at your doctor’s insistence, there will be no safe level of alcohol for you. Don’t feel left out! Here are our fifteen favorite fancy drinks for a pain-free New Year’s Eve celebration.
1. Mulled cider
This delicious, warming drink couldn’t be easier to make. Simply simmer apple cider along with cinnamon, clove, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste until warm, then serve with a cinnamon stick.
2. Peppermint patty
The alcoholic version uses peppermint Schnapps for its minty kick, but a non-alcoholic version is just as easy. Warm milk or a milk substitute (coconut is delicious here) in a pan with either chopped dark chocolate or sugar and powdered cocoa to taste. Add a drop or two of peppermint extract and serve with a candy cane. Make it even more decadent (and still vegan) by serving it with whipped coconut cream.
3. Hot winter lemonade
Slice one whole lemon and skewer it on to a cinnamon stick. Place in a mug and fill the mug with hot water. Stir in honey to taste, and you have a hot drink that is delicious all day (keep adding water!). Also good for immunity-boosting vitamin C.
4. Hot vanilla milk
This is a simple, warming drink that can be tailored to your preferred level of spice and flavor. Warm milk (or non-dairy substitute) and add a splash of vanilla extract and a bit of sugar (omit the sugar if your non-dairy substitute is sweetened). You can make it chai-like with clove and cardamom, or add ginger for a little kick.
Make these one at a time when you only have a few guests (or it’s just you!).
5. Virgin mojito
Crush eight to ten mint leave in the bottom of a 10-ounce glass. Squeeze ¼ to ½ of a lime on top of the mint. Fill the glass with ice. You then have two options: pour lemon-lime soda over to finish, or use club soda and simple syrup to control the sugar in the drink.
6. Sparkling apple cider
Make this drink by combining ice-cold apple cider with club soda. Serve it “up” (without ice) in a fancy cocktail glass garnished with a thin slice each of lemon and apple, or pour over ice for a taller drink.
7. Coconut limeade slushie
This frozen drink uses ample winter citrus and coconut milk to transport you to the tropics. Even if there is a foot of snow outside your door, this is a delicious sipper for tropical dreaming. This recipe can be doubled to make more than one at a time.
8. White grape sparkler
This simple drink mirrors champagne’s effervescence and can be served in either flutes or coupes at midnight. Combine equal parts cold white grape juice and lemon/lime soda. This can also be served over ice and garnished with fresh mint.
This lightly sweetened drink resembles its bourbon-soaked cousin, the whiskey smash. Unlike a whiskey smash, you can drink as many of these fragrant cocktails as you want!
10. The candy cane
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine ¾ cup of milk and one or two tablespoons of peppermint syrup (sweetened, like the kind added to coffee drinks). Shake well to chill and combine thoroughly. Dip the rim of a martini glass in water or simple syrup and rim with crushed candy canes. Strain milk mixture into glass and garnish with whipped cream and a mini candy cane.
The candy cane was adapted from Amy Richardson’s extensive list of non-alcoholic party drinks.
Punch for the masses
Make a quick batch of these non-alcoholic punches for delicious, unfussy refreshment.
11. Holiday punch
This cranberry-spiked, ginger ale-based punch can be made the day before and serves 32. If you are expecting a large gathering, this is the punch for you!
12. Merry mimosas
This non-alcoholic take on the traditional mimosa uses sparkling grape juice in place of champagne. Combine orange juice, sugar, and cranberry juice in fluted glasses ahead of time, then add grape juice when guests arrive.
13. Pink grapefruit margaritas
Another great way to capitalize on winter citrus, these tart and sweet virgin pink grapefruit margaritas are great for adults and kids who want a non-alcoholic drink in a fancy glass. The linked recipe serves six but can be doubled. Get sanding sugar to line the rim of the glass.
14. Ginger lemonade
This light, refreshing non-alcoholic punch is simple to make and a great drink either before or after dinner. Double this recipe to serve a dozen people.
15. Asian pear sparkler
Asian pears start to show up in grocery stores right around the holidays, but many people have no idea what to do with them. Vaguely pear-flavored (with a little bit of lemon flavor, too), this round pear looks like an apple and has the crunch of an apple. They are delicious sliced and enjoyed just like you would an apple (hint: on a cheese plate) or in this refreshing cocktail that serves six (go ahead and double or triple the recipe. It’s worth it!).
Remember, even though you may feel like everyone around you is drinking on New Year’s Eve, the truth is that many people abstain for many different reasons. If you find that the pressure of parties out is too much, find a group of like-minded people and host a gathering at your home with these non-alcoholic party drinks. Serve non-alcoholic, ready-made drinks like sparkling grape and apple juice right along with the fancy cocktails above.
What is your favorite non-alcoholic fancy drink?