Christmas can be tricky at the best of times, but when you are doing your best to navigate it alcohol-free, the pressure is really on!
Whether you are a total Christmas nerd (like me), or a real Grinch, the silly season can be more like the stressy season in more ways than one. Whether it’s financial stress, I-have-too-many jobs stress, family stress, lack-of-family stress, how the F do I cook a ham stress or just plain old overwhelm, all that stress in combo with the cultural expectation of drinking all day, is a recipe for disaster. And stress may not be the only trigger this holiday season, could be the sun, the tradition, the letting go of the year. The list is a long one!
Hopefully, if you have been here long enough, you’ll understand that alcohol is not going to help with any of that, and without the booze you’ll actually be able to enjoy your day, be present with your family and go to bed at the end of it exhausted, but smug in the knowledge you won’t be dealing with a Boxing Day hangover. This can, however, be easier said than done.
In my experience what is going to help an AWFUL lot is good non-alcoholic drinks options. Having the best on ground non-alcoholic wine, beer and spirits options is going to mean you can enjoy the taste, ritual and social aspects of enjoying adult beverages, without any of the nasty side effects. I bring you my top non-alcoholic drinks options that cover all manner of occasions and themes so you can still enjoy the holiday season, glass in hand!
Top 10 Non-Alcoholic Drinks to get you through Christmas
I don’t know about you, but one of the things I used to love the most about Christmas is that it was socially acceptable to start drinking at breakfast! Champagne breakfasts give a unique buzz, but they also set you up for a headache before midday. Here are my tips for a non-alcoholic Chrissy Breakfast!
1. Breakfast Bubbles
For me, non-alcoholic sparkling wine at breakfast time is the ULITIMTATE non-alc drinking experience. Getting the pop of the cork and the taste with your champagne brekkie without the mid-morning slump is THE BEST! Because it’s early in the day, I recommend an easy breezy drinking non-alcoholic wine. Noughty Sparkling Rosé will do the trick here. A non-alcoholic sparkling wine that is sophisticated and complex, with the sweetness of a Rosé to ease you into your morning drinking.
2. Breakfast Cocktail
If hitting the sparkling wine straight up is a little much for you, despite being alcohol-free, the solution is simple. A breakfast Bellini is the much sexier version of a Mimosa and will be more palatable first thing in the morning than wine. The Cipriani Bellini is ready to pour and drink as is. Personally, I find this TOO sweet as is and prefer to mix half and half with my non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Bellissimo!
3. The OTHER breakfast cocktail
I LOVE a Bloody Mary, great for nursing a hangover, but generally as a drink, SUPER tasty. And I think definitely one to enjoy alcohol-free. There are two ways to approach this. The lazy girl way (hands up here!) using the Mr Consistent Bloody Mary Mixer shaken with a non-alcoholic vodka. Or the more DIY route with a Bloody Mary recipe:
50ml Non-Alcoholic Vodka
100ml Premium Tomato Juice
25ml Fresh Lemon Juice
5ml Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
On to Lunch
You’re not even hungry yet, but it’s time for the family BBQ round at Uncle Barry’s. Whether it’s prawns on the barbie, a nice side of salmon or a leg of lamb, you’re going to want a nice non-alcoholic wine to wash it all down with.
4. The still white
Easily the best non-alcoholic white wine I have tried by a county mile is Next Destination’s McLaren Vale Chardonnay. Wow. She is balanced, buttery, smooth and complex. No hint of grape water in sight. This will pair monumentally well with anything you want to dive into over Christmas lunch.
5. The Main Event Bubbles
Peak Christmas day, you need the best non-alcoholic sparkling wine to stand up to the occasion. And while you all know I love my Noughty, the new release Langhorne Creek Blanc de blancs really takes the (Christmas) cake for me in terms of sophistication and flavour for pairing with a meal. It’s really premium non-alcoholic wine and has a brilliant yeasty quality to it that will stand up with a meal.
Mid-arvo Palette Cleansers
You’ve overdone it on lunch, and you’re feeling as stuffed as a Christmas turkey. Now is not the time for cracking another bottle of wine, non-alcoholic or not. You need something in your glass… but what?
6. The fancy sparkling
Now is the moment when you need something light, refreshing, with no sugar and no calories. ETCH ZST is all of those things and more. An adult sparkling water that features native Finger Lime, Lemon Myrtle and a hint of Rosemary, this drink will hydrate you but not bore you. Serve over ice in a wine glass with a slice of lime to keep it sassy!
7. The lightest beer of all
In fact it’s not a beer at all. HOPR is a sparkling hop water that is essentially water disguised as a beer. With no cals or sugar, you get the great flavour of a hoppy beer, without it actually being beer. Really light and ultra refreshing, this won’t be adding to that mid-arvo bloat. It also features adaptogens to help keep you chill and mellow into the evening!
And on to the evening…
Whether or not you still have another hearty meal lined up, there are still plenty of hours left in the day and still plenty of non-alcoholic bevvies to enjoy.
8. The G&T
The non-alcoholic spirit with the most Christmas Spirit has to be Banks Botanicals! This beautiful, robust, herbaceous non alcoholic spirit is not trying to mimic gin, it’s at it’s own party entirely. It’s got all the spice and festiveness of Christmas and mixed with a Grapefruit Tonic, is one of the most refreshing and moreish drinks you could have as you’re heading into the evening.
9. The sunset sipper
Altina’s Sansgria is the drink you want to be sitting on as the sun slowly sets on the hectic day that was. This ready-to-pour non-alcoholic Sangria has a vibrant non-alcoholic sparkling shiraz with all the added citrus and spice zip of a Sangria. Enjoy over ice with a slice of orange and you will be in ‘I can’t believe this isn’t the real deal’ heaven!
10. The after dinner quaff
It’s 9pm, the kids have finally worn themselves out and are crashed out in bed in a chocolate induced coma. You put your feet up to triumphantly reflect on the day (or thank god it’s all over for another year). What you want now is the perfect night cap. And for me this is NON 7 Stewed Cherry & Coffee. This drink is Christmas in a glass, so rich and decadent. One to be savoured in this moment of peace. Cheers to you!