Share on Facebook

10 Mocktail Recipes for an Alcohol-Free New Year’s Eve

Nutritionists and bartenders share delicious alcohol-free drinks recipes fit for a celebration.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Raise a glass of (alcohol-free) cheer

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without raising a glass of cheer as you reflect on the past 12 months—and the year ahead. While clinking glasses is a big part of the New Year’s tradition, moderating your alcohol intake and not overdoing it is always a good idea, especially since too much alcohol can lead to health problems over the long-term (or a hangover on New Year’s Day).

This year, we recommend serving alcohol-free mixed drinks at your first night gathering too. Not only do mocktails give teetotalers something interesting to sip on, they offer imbibers a good excuse to dial back their alcohol consumption. And as Martha McKittrick, RDN, a registered dietitian based in New York, points out, “Not only will you save calories by omitting the alcohol, you can pick up a few nutritional perks from these drinks.”

The recipes below have been vetted by nutritionists, and a few of them come straight from top bartenders with reputations for creating some of the country’s most innovative spirit-free cocktails. So, along with 2019, say goodbye to those boring Shirley Temples, and hello to ten delicious new mocktails. (And if you are thinking about cutting back on alcohol the rest of the month, read I Tried Dry January and It Saved My Life.)

Pomegranate French 75 cocktail mocktailPhoto by Jessica Levinson

Pomegranate French 75 Mocktail

The iconic French 75 has been popular with tipplers for nearly a century. “This festive twist on the classic cocktail gets its rich pomegranate flavor and deep ruby color from pomegranate simple syrup,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and culinary nutrition expert based in Westchester County, New York, who developed this recipe. “Both the pomegranate and the lemon add a little burst of vitamin C to this sparkler.”

For a bitter twist—and something more akin to an Aperol Spritz or sparkling Negroni—replace one ounce of seltzer with an ounce of Italian bitter soda like Sanpellegrino’s Sanbitter.

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1/4 ounce pomegranate simple syrup*

1/2 ounce lemon juice (preferably fresh)

3 ounces seltzer

Instructions:

Pour pomegranate simple syrup and lemon juice into a Champagne flute. Top up with seltzer.

*Pomegranate Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Strain. Let cool, then use in cocktail.

Note: With this and the other syrups you make for these drinks, the leftover syrup can be used to make more mocktails—or stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.

cocktail octal bright onePhoto by Julia Momose

Bright One

As a partner and the creative director of the bar Kumiko in Chicago, Julia Momose is one of the pioneers in the spirit-free cocktail revolution. An award-winning bartender, Momose began redefining the concept of mocktails—or spiritfrees, as she prefers to call them—with unexpected flavor combinations in her previous position as the head bartender at Oriole. “The Bright One,” says Momose, “is effervescent and tart with the perfect amount of ginger spice and honeyed richness to ring in the New Year in any setting. I love that this spiritfree embraces a broad spectrum of flavor profiles, from herbaceous, to warming spice, to bright citrus.”

McKittrick points out that the vitamin C in the lemon and yuzu juices infuses the Bright One with some antioxidants too. If you’re not familiar with it, the Seedlip Garden 108 is a game-changing ingredient. Distilled from peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, thyme, and hops, this non-alcoholic “spirit” from England adds a level of flavor complexity that will surprise you.

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1/2 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce honey syrup*
1 ounce yuzu juice
1/2 ounce Seedlip Garden 108
Small splash ginger beer (like Q Ginger Beer or Fever-Tree Ginger Beer)

Garnish: Fresh herbs

Instructions:
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an herb bouquet.

*Honey Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then use in cocktail.

mojito cocktail lime alcohol mintGreenArt/Shutterstock

Mojito Mocktail

The bright flavors of a tropical cocktail can make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re sipping it, surrounded by snow. Take your NYE fête to the Caribbean with this rum-free riff on the mojito. “Using fresh lime juice gives a burst of vitamin C,” says McKittrick who develop this drink. “And the juice from one lime—about an ounce—provides 22 percent of the daily amount of vitamin C.” Plus, she says, “making your own cocktail cuts down on the added sugar.” (The classic version calls for double the sugar.) “Mint,” she adds, “has a refreshing taste, and can lessen the need to add more sugar.”

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

10 mint leaves

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Seltzer

Garnish: Sliced lime wheel, mint sprig

Instructions:

Muddle the mint leaves, lime juice, and sugar in a sturdy cocktail glass. Add ice. Top with seltzer. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wheel and sprig of mint.

pina colada coconut pineappleWallenrock/Shutterstock

Piña Colada Mocktail

This refreshing spin on the piña colada is much lighter than the standard cocktail and offers some nutritious benefits. “I’ve seen restaurant versions of the original cocktail come in at over 650 calories,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, a registered dietitian based in New York City, who came up with this concoction. “That’s more than what many people need in a meal.” This version shaves the calorie-count down to just 45 calories. It also supplies about 25 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements, says Cassetty. “Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that plays a role in your immune functioning. It’s also needed to synthesize collagen, which is the support structure to your skin and joints. As you age, your collagen begins to decline, resulting in wrinkled skin. You can help counter this by including vitamin C-rich ingredients in your diet.”

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

3 ounces fresh pineapple juice

2 ounces coconut water

Garnish: Pineapple wedge, amarena cherry

Instructions:

Add pineapple juice, coconut water, and a cup of ice to blender. Frappe for 15 to 20 seconds. Pour into a glass. Garnish with pineapple wedge and an amarena cherry.

balldrop mocktailPhoto by Aaron Polsky

Balldrop

Aaron Polsky, the founder of LiveWire Drinks in Los Angeles, elevates the cocktail scene wherever he goes. After years of honing his mixology skills at New York City’s most cutting-edge bars, he took his talents out West, where he continues to create delicious, eclectic drinks. His Balldrop mocktail calls for just a handful of ingredients, and even though it’s composed mostly of water, the drink’s flavors are intensely concentrated. Made with muddled blackberries, rosemary, and Seedlip’s citrusy Grove 42, a non-alcoholic “spirit” distilled with orange, blood orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger, and lemongrass, this refreshing winter sipper is as hydrating as it is flavorful.

“It’s easy to remember to stay hydrated in the summer when the heat and humidity increase your thirst,” says Cassetty. “But it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter—though it’s easier to neglect. For the most part, you want to reach for water to meet your fluid needs, but that can get boring, so a festive mocktail with a complex flavor profile like the Balldrop can be a fun and delicious alternative.”

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

2 ounces Seedlip Grove 42

3/4 ounce simple syrup*

1/2 ounce lemon juice

2 blackberries

2 sprigs rosemary

Sparkling water to top

Garnish: 1 sprig rosemary

Instructions:

Muddle blackberries and 2 sprigs of rosemary with the Seedlip Grove 42, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker. Shake, strain into rocks glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, and light the rosemary with a brûlée torch (or small blowtorch).

*Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then use in cocktail.

mocktail cran toddyPhoto by Jessica Levinson

Cran Toddy Mocktail


A riff on the classic lemony toddy, the Cran Toddy mocktail uses black tea in place of bourbon. “This recipe features antioxidant-rich cranberries, which are a good source of vitamin C,” says Levinson of her toddy. “Simmering the cider with the tart cranberries, zesty ginger, and aromatic allspice makes a sweet and spicy base for this winter toddy.” This version is meant to be served warm, but Levinson says you can also let the ingredients cool and serve the mocktail over ice.

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider

1/2 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger

5 whole allspice berries

Peel from 1 orange

2 ounces hot black tea

Garnish: Orange slices, crystallized ginger

Instructions:

Combine cider, cranberries, ginger, allspice, and orange peel in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain cranberry cider mixture. In a mug or heat-proof glass, combine 4 ounces of the cranberry cider mixture with the hot black tea. Serve warm, garnished with orange slices and crystallized ginger.

blackberry cocktail Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Blackberry Bramble Mocktail

The Bramble is a great cocktail for berry lovers. This version replaces the traditional crème de mûre with blackberry simple syrup. It also omits the gin, and swaps in Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic Water, which is flavored with Jamaican pimento berries, Madagascan vanilla, angostura bark, and quinine. “Blackberries are rich in antioxidants,” says McKittrick of her recipe, “and the lemon and white grape juices infuse the drink with additional antioxidants and vitamin C.”

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1/2 ounce blackberry simple syrup*
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce white grape juice
Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic Water
Garnish: Blackberries, lemon wedge

Instructions:
Combine blackberry simple syrup, lemon juice, and white grape juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, strain over crushed ice in a glass. Top with Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic Water, and gently stir. Garnish with blackberries and a lemon wedge.

*Blackberry Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup blackberries

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Strain. Let cool, then use in cocktail.

hot penicillin cocktailviennetta/Shutterstock

Hot Penicillin Mocktail

Hot Penicillins sound medicinal, and in a sense they are. They can be the perfect antidote to a cold winter’s night, especially when enjoyed with a friend. While still lemony and layered with flavor, this version omits the blended scotch and makes up for it with an ample dose of white grape juice, fresh lemon juice, and honey-ginger syrup.

“There’s a reason this mocktail refers to penicillin,” Cassetty says of her medicinal quaff. “Honey has antibacterial properties. Studies have even found that honey can help soothe a cough better than over-the-counter cough medications. Ginger also has medicinal powers. It’s a natural way to help relieve nausea. If you feel under the weather, this restorative drink may help perk you up.”

Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients:

6 ounces white grape juice

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

1 ounce honey-ginger syrup*

Garnish: Sliced lemon wheel, candied ginger

Instructions:

Combine white grape juice, lemon juice, and honey-ginger simple syrup in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low until just hot. Pour into cups. Garnish with a sliced lemon wheel and a piece of candied ginger. Serve immediately.

*Honey-Ginger Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

5 to 10 slices fresh ginger

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Strain and discard the ginger slices.

orchard tonic mocktailPhoto courtesy of Pacific Standard Time

Orchard Tonic

Striking the right balance between sweet, sour, and bitter flavors is essential when mixing cocktails. With alcohol-free drinks, it can be especially tricky. Scott Stroemer, the head bartender at Pacific Standard Time in Chicago, tends to rely on infused syrups, fresh herbs, and fruit for PST’s spirit-free drinks. The base of his Orchard Tonic recipe is an apple cider reduction, he explains, “cooked down with traditional gin botanicals—juniper, coriander, and thyme. It’s a cool little play on the Spanish-style gin and tonic, which uses lighter tonic water and incorporates seasonal fruits, herbs, and flavors into the drink.”

“Using honey syrup instead of traditional simple syrup gives this mocktail a tiny antioxidant boost,” says Levinson. “The honey’s sweetness along with the spiced apple cider reduction turns this alcohol-free G&T into a warming, seasonal beverage.”

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces spiced apple cider reduction*

1/2 ounces clover honey syrup*

2 dashes citric acid solution*

6 1-inch ice cubes

Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic

Garnish: Sliced lemon wheel, mint sprig

Instructions:

In a wine glass, add the spiced apple cider reduction, honey, and citric acid solution, and swirl the glass a few times to incorporate. Top with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, and give it a quick stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with a lemon wheel and sprig of mint.

*Spiced Apple Cider Reduction

1 gallon apple cider

3 Tablespoon juniper berries

3 Tablespoon coriander seeds

A handful of fresh thyme sprigs

Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and let simmer for 2 hours, or until reduced by half. Strain and cool. (Store leftover reduction in fridge.)

*Clover Honey Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup honey

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

*Citric Acid Solution

Combine 10 grams citric acid powder with 100 grams water in a non-reactive container, and whisk to combine.

mulled wine cocktailMagdalena Kucova/Shutterstock

Mulled “Wine” Mocktail

A holiday treat in many parts of the world, hot, spiced wine is an excellent way to warm things up on a chilly New Year’s Eve. This recipe replaces wine with pomegranate and cherry juice, and it’s loaded with polyphenol-rich ingredients, like cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and the fruit juices. “Polyphenols are part of a plant’s natural defense system, so this translates into powerful disease-fighting protection,” explains Cassetty, who developed this recipe. “They get broken down into substances that help feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, enabling them to thrive. They may also inhibit the growth of disease-promoting strains of bacteria in your gut. On top of that, polyphenols are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, so they support your health in many ways.” Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

1 quart pomegranate juice

2 cups cherry juice

1 orange, sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

10 allspice berries

6 cloves

2 star anise pods

Instructions:

Combine ingredients and heat on low until hot. Serve warm in mugs or heat-proof punch glasses. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Sources