For those who do not want to drink alcohol, for example because they are the designated driver, the festive season can be a true test. As a driver, you can choose to drink a glass every now and then and calculate throughout the evening whether or not you are above the legal alcohol limits. However, it is better and easier to simply not drink anything at all. The problem is that it is likely to become a bit boring when you don’t drink ‘grown up drinks’. Not because you really need alcohol to have fun, but because as a ‘non-drinker’ you often have to rely on water and some sweet soft drinks. That won’t get you in the mood… We made a list with a lot of nice non-alcoholic alternatives that can make the upcoming parties a lot more pleasant for those who don’t want to drink, from aperitif to digestif. In this first part we want to give some aperitif tips.

Start your shopping on time.

Before we start talking about those tasty, non-alcoholic alternatives, we would like to point out that these drinks can be somewhat difficult to find. Some drinks are easiest to order online, so it is important to start your alcohol-free shopping for Christmas and new year as soon as possible. If you are the designated driver and you want to be sure that you will have delicious drinks at the party, you can also opt to buy some yourself and let the host know that you will provide your own drinks.

Start the party!

A lot of drinks can make a good aperitif during an exquisite dinner party. Something sweet, a vermouth, a Gin and Tonic, a cocktail, the traditional bubbles or a nice beer. Everything is possible. Below you will find some suitable drinks to start the party. At the bottom of this article you will find a link to a list with non-alcoholic alternatives we talked about and where to find them.

Alcohol-free distillate

It is not a bad idea to buy an alcohol-free distillate that can serve as an alternative to Gin in the obligate Gin and Tonic or another cocktail. Non-alcoholic distillates are often sold as “non-alcoholic Gin”, but they can not actually use this name since they are not Gin, but an alcohol-free distillate. These non-alcoholic distillates are not really cheap and often cost as much as an alcoholic Gin. Don’t be tempted to purchase a very cheap alternative though, because you will usually be disappointed.

You can use such an alcohol-free distillate as an alternative to Gin in an alcohol-free Gin and Tonic, but on a party evening it may be more fun to serve your guests a classic cocktail. Below you will find some alcohol-free cocktails that you can prepare with such an alcohol-free distillate. By replacing the alcohol-free distillate with Gin, these cocktails can also be served to your guests who do drink alcohol. That way you can use the same recipe for all your guests and replace the Gin with an alternative for those who don’t drink alcohol. Here are some good recipes:

Sweeter: Spritz VenezianoFrench 75The free Mule (Moscow Mule)VirGIN MojitoRamos No Gin in the FizzCocoto

Sour: Clover ClubGimletJohn Collins

Bitter: NogroniAmericaNO

Non-alcoholic bubbles

A glass of bubbles is a common aperitif at the Christmas or New Year party. Depending on the budget, Champagne, sparkling wine, cava or prosecco are served. Nowadays there is alcohol-free sparkling wine and cava on the market that is quite tasty. You can buy a bottle of Codorniu Zero or alcohol-free Freixenet without worries. It can serve as an aperitif and in the countdown to the new year. If you want to add an extra touch, you can make a cocktail based on these non-alcoholic bubbles, honestly, this makes them even more tasty. The same applies here as with the previous cocktails. By replacing the regular Champagne or sparkling wine with an alcohol-free alternative while mixing your recipe, you will have little extra work and your guests who do not drink alcohol can simply drink along with the rest. Believe us, chances are that several other guests will ask fort he alcohol-free alternative.

Some recipes: Ginger CavaBelliniFrench 75Hugo

Other alternatives

Of course there are more alternatives that fit as an aperitif. For example, there are nice substitutes for a pastis and alcohol-free Cider is on the rise. Strongbow for example, produces a very good alcohol-free red berry cider.

One of the more famous and easily available non-alcoholic alternatives are the small bottles of crodino or sanbitter. You can just pour this with a few ice cubes, but you can also make a nice recipe like this simple Sanbitter Tonic or the Soberito Valentino. If your guests like it hot and spicy, Pimento could be ideal for them. This drink is based on Ginger and pepper and is very delicious to drink pure or in a mix like the pimentada.

View a list of alcohol-free distillates and other aperitifs here and where you can buy them.