Alcohol-free drinks for a teetotal Christmas

AATXEF Punch in Bowl, holidays, cranberries

For many Brits, it's the alcohol that puts the 'merry' into Christmas, but when you're teetotal or abstaining, for whatever reason, finding something other than OJ or plain ole' water to drink can be tricky, particularly if you're doing the party rounds. Fear not, here are a few flavoursome beverages to help get you through the festive season.

Go shop bought
Alcohol-free beers and wines are an acquired taste and not for everyone, but they are improving. Kaliber and Cobra, sans alcohol, are both reportedly the best of the beers, while Foster's Radler is citrusy but tasty and drinkable as a result. Wine can be trickier to get right, but if you're after something alcohol free and ready to drink, Eisberg is the UK's best-seller, and those from California's Ariel Vineyards have won awards.

Fruity numbers
Drinking straight juice throughout the day can get tedious, and it's well known that juice can be the enemy of healthy teeth. So why not change things up and mix your juices to create a fruit punch, adding something sparkly like lemonade or soda for lightness, and lime cordial, cranberry or lemon juice to ease down the sweetness. For something that feels a little more luxurious, add coconut cream to your fruit drinks.

Mocktails have really taken off in recent years, and with good reason. Mixologists have managed to create surprisingly easy but nonetheless tasty alcohol-free alternatives to many cocktails, including the pomegranate mojito, made with lemonade, pomegranate juice, lime and mint, the virgin pina colada, made with ripe bananas, pineapple and coconut milk, and of course the virgin mary... though you won't need it as a hangover cure as is often the case with this tomato juice-based marvel.

Festive favourites
There are some alcoholic drinks that are synonymous with Christmas, but you can still enjoy all the flavours of the festive season without the booze. A delicious buttered rum goes down a treat, with its Christmasy spices of nutmeg and cinnamon (not to mention the ice cream), and you can simply substitute the real rum for flavouring instead. Warm mulled wine on a winter's evening is also easy to achieve - just buy your non-alcoholic vino and add packet spices to give you that warm winter glow. And if you're a fan of traditional wassail, it is easily recreated with non-alcoholic cider, fresh oranges and lemons, and ground cloves, allspice, a couple of cinnamon sticks and little sugar to sweeten things up.

Party ideas
For teetotallers, it's too often the case that party hosts will have forgotten to cater for the alcohol free and offer only orange juice or fizzy drinks. That's all very well, but if you're throwing a Christmas bash this year, why not offer something different? There are many cordials on the market, including elderflower, blackcurrant and apple, so invest in a few flavours rather than the usual lime. Some even come in sparkling varieties, which is a nice touch if you plan on a festive toast. Get creative and treat your teetotal guests to something special this year.

Are you teetotal? What are your top tips for alcohol-free alternatives during the festive season? Leave your comments below...
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