As I stare down the barrel of a second Christmas without any booze, I am looking at how to make the constant round of meals, parties and gatherings a bit more exciting and festive drinks wise– there are only so many glasses of tap water I can handle.
It’s not just me. There are designated drivers galore at Christmas as well as those who have simply chosen not to drink alcohol. So for all those laying off the alcohol during the annual party season, here is my guide to a very merry non alcoholic Christmas! MOCKTAILS
The very act of going out for cocktails is something I really miss. Sitting around with your pretty concoctions, picking out the different flavours and discovering new ones. There is such theatre involved in drinking a cocktail that you just don’t get with a pint or a glass of wine.
So this year, I have dug out my cocktail shaker. Just because a drink doesn’t have booze in it doesn’t mean I can’t have fun drinking it! So I intend to use my cocktail shaker and glasses to turn a simple juice-based mocktail into something more sophisticated.
Cracker Drinks* bring slightly more grown up flavours than your standard juices. I particularly like the apple, mint and lime juice which I have served up here with about 1/5 tonic, a hefty squeeze of fresh lime and some applemint leaves (a happy coincidence, any mint leaves will do) for a nojito. It’s too cold for me, but if you like you could serve in a glass full of crushed ice for the full mojito effect at parties.
When I was younger I loved Moscow Mules. It is such a good non alcoholic drink too – basically ginger beer jazzed up with a tonne of lime and mint. Drinking it this way is far classier than drinking it out of the can, and ginger and lime has to be one of the best combos ever. It is Christmas, so no skimping on the ginger beer. Buy something full of spice and heat like my favourite Fentimans which has a massive kick, or Great Uncle Cornelius Famous Spiced Ginger has also been suggested.
- Muddle a generous pile of mint leaves and a small piece of fresh ginger
- Put leaves into the bottom of your glass, add ice
- Top with ginger beer and squeeze in half a lime
I was given a bottle of Mr Fitzpatrick’s Cranberry and Pomegranate cordial recently which is lovely and tart. So I decided to create a little mock-tini with it.
Claire’s Christmas Sparkler
- 1 part cranberry and pomegranate cordial
- 5 parts pressed still lemonade (I used Cracker Drinks* as it is lovely and sharp)
- zest 1 satsuma / mandarin
Mix everything together in a cocktail shaker or large glass. Decant into your cocktail glass of choice. Garnish with raspberries or cranberries. Serve!
If you like your drinks spicy, then a Virgin Mary could be right up your street. You don’t nee to buy in all of the spice and Worcester sauce if you use Big Tom which has a whopping 22 herbs and spices already mixed in. Just save a piece of celery from the buffet and enjoy! Alternatively I have bought Little Devil bloody spice mix in the past. They come in little shots so no waste and a good spicy kick to them. You could also use them to season a steak, but that’s a little too off topic!
Sometimes a cocktail is too much, but that doesn’t mean that you have to crack open the boring orange squash.
When it comes to cordials I would suggest that you look at small batch local producers. I wrote about Discover the Wild and Gribbin and Bear a while back – both based in the North West and making delicious cordials. Or you could make your own like I do. This lime and lemongrass cordial is the work of seconds in my Nutri Ninja and great if you like your drinks tangy. It’ll also give you a vitamin c boost!
I loved wandering around Manchester’s Christmas markets with a mug of mulled wine. That smell is just pure Christmas! Mulled cider is hot(!) at the moment so I can join in that craze with some simple mulled apple juice. Reach for the apple juice I mentioned earlier, heated gently in a pan with three or four drops of mulling Spice Drops. Garnish with a stick of cinnamon and I am pretty sure even the non drinkers wouldn’t notice the lack of alcohol. And the kitchen will smell great too.
If coffee is more your thing, stick some of these Rombouts filters* in your bag if you are visiting relatives with a dusty jar of instant in their kitchen! Also perfect for breakfast in bed if, like me, you can’t use your husband’s coffee machine without flooding the kitchen! The dark roast has gone down well with my coffee lover.
Peppermint tea is always good to have in when you’re at risk of over indulgence. I recently bought Tea Huggers detox tea which is peppermint, fennel and licorice and it really does soothe my tummy when I am feeling a bit delicate.
The Tea Route is a Greek company and they have produced this beautiful fruit tea mix called Red Square*. It is full of dried cranberry, hibiscus and apple. It smells and tastes wonderful, but it is also very pretty. It would make a lovely stocking filler for a tea loving friend. I also think I am going to revisit my boozy cranberry Christmas cookies and soak the cranberries in this tea instead of liqueur. I am pretty sure they will be delicious – watch my social media for the results!
You can’t beat a hot chocolate when you come in from a long winter walk in the cold. There are so many out there to choose from, but it is easy to make your own with your favourite chocolate and hot milk. I also use Spice Drops to flavour mine (mint or chai spice) as they are all natural and not sugar laden like coffee syrups.
And frankly I can’t not mention hot Vimto. It is the drink of the gods. I have been drinking it all my life and there are so many memories caught up in that unique taste.
There you have it. A merry little Christmas without the hangover!
If you have your own go-to mocktails or favourite non alcoholic drinks please do share them – the more we non drinkers have in our arsenal the better!
Note any item marked * has been given to me for reviewing purposes butI have included them because they hit the spot!