It’s Sober October which means that a lot of people, for one reason or another, are taking a month-long hiatus from booze. Thought I enjoy adult beverages, there is real value in taking a break, and I am here to support you in your endeavours.
There are a lot of challenges around not drinking—the main one being finding something to drink instead. There’s nothing wrong with ordering a Diet Coke at happy hour, but I like something that feels a little more “cocktail-y.” Luckily, our readers have a bunch of great ideas for delicious nonalcoholic drinks you can enjoy whether you’re at home or out on the town.
Bitters are your sweetest friend
Bitters with tonic is the thing to get if you’re out and don’t feel like imbibing or have had a few and need a break. Any bar that serves liquor will have one or more varieties, and you can order any of them with tonic or soda water, along with a lime or lemon wedge (or both). If you want something a little more rounded out, you can get a cranberry and bitters, ask the bartender to splash them into citrus soda or ginger beer, or get real fancy and as for “virgin Moscow Mule” which is basically just ginger beer and fresh lime juice.
Make tee-totaling tiki drinks
Orgeat — which you can make or purchase — is an almond-y, orange-scented syrup that is a key ingredient in many tiki cocktails. Use orgeat and grenadine in booze-free libations for some fun tiki flair.
Barley and hops don’t have to go in beer
Some people like to mix barley water with soda water for a sweet, citrusy beverage (one finger of the concentrate per 300ml of soda water should do you). You can also add hops to lemonade for a more mature flavour.
Use shrubs, sours, and flower waters
Exciting your palate with new or “fancy” flavours keeps you mouth from getting bored, which is good, because — in my experience — boredom is the enemy of sobriety. One reader likes to make “happy soda,” an Indonesian drink made of “a mix of ice cubes, rose syrup, club soda, and sweetened condensed milk.” Ellie Rose mixes rose water with lime juice, soda water, and mint; and come party time, YouMakeMyKinjaComeTrue likes to make “a huge batch of mocktail with elderflower syrup, mint, and lime,” setting out a couple of bottles of spirits for those who would like to imbibe.
Finally, xMRNUTTYx is a big fan of mixing sour shrubs — which you can learn to make here — with soda water, and making virgin mimosas with nonalcoholic champagne, which I did not know was available.