How to do Christmas without alcohol
From mocktails and alcohol-free themed events, to advice and tips on how to celebrate Christmas without alcohol, we've got you covered.
Drinking less alcohol or ditching it completely is becoming much more of a reality. Overconsumption of alcohol has been linked to various physical and mental health issues, leading to a rise in alcoholism awareness. While drinking is okay if you are responsible in doing so, it's wise to clue yourself up on the different units in alcoholic drinks, as this can be a great help in monitoring your drinking habits. Find out how many units are in alcoholic drinks and how to drink responsibly for tips on drinking sensibly.
Over the festive period, it can become overwhelming to consider celebrating without alcohol, especially if your friends and family will be drinking. There are many ways, however, to enjoy the season alcohol-free. Read on to discover zero-alcohol alternatives that will still give you a festive feeling.
An alcohol-free Christmas
The key to avoiding alcohol or reducing your intake is to evaluate your drinking habits. It's common to reach for a drink when you're feeling dehydrated, for example, but the best option is to pace yourself and choose a large glass of water instead. If you're invited round for a Christmas dinner party, you could speak to your family and friends and suggest mocktails and other fun alcohol-free drinks to ensure everyone is included in the festivities. Or, if you're hosting, make a non-alcoholic punch that those who wish to drink can their own alcohol to. Other gestures, like providing garnishes and special glassware, will make the drink feel just as special as a traditional cocktail. Find more inspiration for non-alcoholic Christmas drinks, from punches and spritzes, to virgin mojitos, mulled wines, coffees and hot chocolates.
Alcohol-free drinks at Christmas
There are plenty of non-alcoholic drink alternatives to get the party going, including classic sours, spritzes and fruity punches. You'll discover these and plenty more Christmas mocktails with our guide. Our clementine mock mojito is bursting with freshness. You can also choose to make a jug of your favourite mocktail or punch to serve with a meal, taking inspiration from our non-alcoholic punch recipes. Our cranberry gin fizz can be easily customised with alcohol-free gin – a tasty treat for guests at Christmas. There are also great alcohol-free wines, proseccos and beers. Our drink experts have detailed the best non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks taste tested, along with the best non-alcoholic spirits and premixed drinks and the best non-alcoholic beers. We've replaced the brandy in this non-alcoholic eggnog with a silky vanilla cream base, ready for you to indulge. If you're after something with sweet and spicy flavours, you'd like this non-alcoholic Irish cream liqueur mixed with espresso, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla and orange zest. You can also try an alcohol-free aperitif served with lots of ice and sparkling water – a great drink to serve pre-dinner. Our latest review of the best low-alcoholic wines of 2022 includes sweet wine options for entertaining non-alcohol drinkers, and would be especially nice for Christmas or any other special occasion. The guide also details some low-alcohol options if that's what you're after, as these can be the perfect way to include limited alcohol when cutting back.
Alcohol-free starters and main meals
Alcohol is often used in savoury dishes, sauces and gravies to increase depth of flavour and carry its aromas. Chefs recommend replacing this depth with umami-forward ingredients, which is best described as the savoury and meaty flavour in food, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavours. Ingredients that are rich in umami are wild mushrooms, miso pastes and soy sauce, which gives gravies both the colour and enhanced flavour you're looking for in non-alcoholic dishes. You can substitute the port for more soy sauce and mushroom soaking liquid in this sticky port gravy, for example. More inspiration for a variety of dishes and Christmas meats are found in this Christmas gravy recipe collection.
This as-you-like-it Christmas cake replaces sherry, brandy or rum with strong brewed tea, and the same can be done with Christmas puddings. You could replace brandy or rum in chocolate dessert recipes with coffee, as it's dark, unsweetened and bitter, depending on the strength, which makes it a great non-alcoholic alternative. Check out this chocolate & cherry Christmas pudding for an indulgent, feel-good dessert. Another favourite dessert would be this black forest Christmas fool, where kirsch is substituted for canned cherry syrup – tasty and cost-effective.