If you’re taking a break from drinking this January, you don’t have to take a break from the elevated flavours you expect from cocktails. Non-alcoholic wine and spirits are getting better and better every year, with lots of options to try. Here are three cozy drinks that will change your mocktail game this winter. Our tip before getting started: use premium non-alcoholic wine and spirits—it makes a huge difference. Read reviews and search out the best stuff, so you get the full experience of an elevated non-alcoholic cocktail. Cheers! —Sarah Kate
Roasted Pear Non-Alcoholic Bellini
Roasted pears are the coziest food you can imagine. This recipe makes your house smell like you’re baking cookies, and your kids or partner will come downstairs and ask if they can have some. It’s a perfect recipe to serve for a winter brunch, as it marries the fun of non-alcoholic bubbly with the hearty flavours of roasted pear. Don’t get scared off by the cooking part – it’s worth it and you can always add extra pears to the oven, and then eat them with vanilla ice cream if you want!
2 pears, skinned, cored and quartered
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 bottle non-alcoholic sparkling wine, chilled
Roast pears in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes, then puree in a blender with ¼ water and the vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, add a generous tablespoon into the bottom of a glass and top with sparkling wine. Stir to combine and serve!
Not So Foggy Toddy
This isn’t your usual hot toddy, but rather a cozy non-alcoholic twist on a traditional gin-based foghorn cocktail. We’ve warmed it up and added a splash of heat from fresh ginger syrup, so you can relax and feel the warmth both inside and out! If you are hesitant to make a syrup just for a mocktail, you can use this on pancakes, make ginger ale with soda water, or make regular cocktails with it too!
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 piece of ginger (about 3-4 inches), peeled & cut into rounds
Add everything to a small saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once simmering, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into an airtight glass jar or bottle. Once cooled, the syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
2 oz non-alcoholic gin*
¾ oz ginger syrup
½ oz lime juice
4 oz hot water, but not boiling
Splash of ginger beer (optional)
Stir the non-alcoholic gin, ginger syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a mug. Pour in warm water and add a splash of ginger beer. Garnish with some crystallised ginger. *Sobrii 0-gin or HP Juniper Zero Proof Gin recommended; do not use Seedlip as it doesn’t have enough flavour and the heat will make it flat.
Non-alcoholic Mulled Wine
The smell of wine mulling on the stove is literally the epitome of hygge, and it tastes like coziness in a cup. The catch is if you’re not drinking, how do you make non-alcoholic mulled wine taste as good as the real thing? Here is our proven method for making a mouth-watering non-alcoholic mulled wine you’ll want to make again and again.
Heating non-alcoholic wine kind of ruins it: Non-alcoholic wine is regular wine that’s been heated to remove the alcohol, so heating it again is counterintuitive. Instead, add a bottle of n/a wine to a pitcher and drop in a handful of mulling spices like anise, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and let it infuse overnight.
Mulling syrup is your best friend: If you’ve never made a mulling syrup, it’s easier than you think. 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and a handful of anise, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg (measure with love!) go into a pot on the stove. Bring it to a simmer, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Let it simmer for a minute or two and then cover and remove from heat. Once it’s cool, strain into a jar and keep refrigerated.
Combine it all together: Strain the infused wine into a fresh pitcher and add a second bottle of fresh wine. Add ¼ cup of your mulling syrup and ½ cup or orange juice. To serve the mulled wine, keep it warm on the LOWEST heat setting your stove can manage. Do not let it boil. Scoop out mugs of liquid and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
For more Dry January recipes, download sober sommelier Sarah Kate’s Some Good Clean Fun Dry January Drinks Guide.