Plenty of us might find ourselves indulging in a few extra cocktails or glasses of bubbly during the holiday season. If you’ve decided to embrace a healthier you in the new year, you might want to give Dry January a try.
What Is Dry January?
Dry January is a monthlong abstinence from all things alcohol. It’s an excellent antidote to December’s excesses and is an easy way to cut calories if you’re trying to lose weight and sleep more soundly, along with a host of other benefits.
Sticking to Dry January doesn’t mean putting a hold on your social life—there are tons of fantastic mocktails you can sip on when you hit the bar with friends.
The Drink to Order: Soda Water & Bitters
We love this fresh and simple drink. It’s far more exciting than seltzer and lime, and beats a glass of pop any day of the week. What’s more, with the endless ways you can customize it, this alcohol-free drink still feels a bit like a cocktail. We’ll raise a toast to that!
What Are Bitters?
Bitters are delicious extracts crafted from a wide variety of botanical ingredients. Your bottle of bitters could contain anything from herbs to tree barks, flowers, roots or fruits. Used to season a cocktail, bitters tie together a cocktail’s components by adding, as the name suggests, a slight bitterness to the drink.
What do bitters taste like, you ask? They’re all delightfully aromatic. Some are a touch spicy, while others lean toward being sweet. You may find bitters that are floral or herbal, too.
How to Customize Your Soda & Bitters
There are loads of different types of cocktail bitters out there. Angostura bitters, orange bitters, chocolate bitters, Peychaud’s bitters, celery bitters, grapefruit bitters, floral bitters—the possibilities are endless. Try out the different styles and discover your new favorite. Another effortless way to put your own spin on soda and bitters is to experiment with various garnishes. Ask the bartender for a slice of lime, an orange twist or a sprig of fresh thyme.
You can also ask your bartender to craft a unique soda water-bitters combo just for you. Who knows, you may end up sipping on lovely alcohol-free libation all year long!
Is This Drink a Healthy Choice?
Yes. Sipping on soda water or seltzer as opposed to soft drinks or alcohol helps you hydrate without piling on empty calories. Be sure to check out these healthy carbonated drinks for other nonalcoholic fizzy drink inspiration.
1 / 31Taste of Home
Lemony Fruit Cooler
This punch looks so pretty with all the colorful fruit floating in the bowl. It has a refreshing taste and is easy to put together. —Dawn Shackelford, Fort Worth, TexasGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Lemon-Basil Mojito Mocktails
In this twist on the classic summer beverage, lemon and basil take the place of mint. For a grown-up version, just add your favorite rum or vodka. —Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North CarolinaGo to RecipeTaste of Home
It’s easy to make lots of this in advance. Everybody loves a bloody Mary—and this virgin version’s not too spicy, either.—Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, WisconsinGo to Recipe
As a festive, non-alcoholic beverage for adults, our Test Kitchen staff came up with this pretty pink drink. It has a mild raspberry flavor and isn’t overly sweet.Go to Recipe
Iced Melon Moroccan Mint Tea
I grow mint on my balcony, and this refreshing beverage is a wonderful way to use it. It combines two of my favorite drinks—Moroccan Mint Tea and Honeydew Agua Fresca. For extra flair, add some ginger ale. —Sarah Batt Throne, El Cerrito, CaliforniaGo to Recipe
When cranberry and lime juice get together, the result is thirst-quenching. Add ice and you’ve got a party in a glass. —Michael Passow, Poughkeepsie, New YorkGo to Recipe
Making a shrub recipe is a creative way to use up extra fruit all the way through Labor Day. We were inspired by sampling the house-made shrubs at a restaurant in California. They are as colorful and refreshing as summer drinks should be. —Gina Nistico, Denver, ColoradoGo to RecipeTaste of Home
A friend suggested I add a sprig of rosemary to lemonade. The herb makes the drink taste fresh and light, and it’s a pretty garnish. —Dixie Graham, Rancho Cucamonga, CaliforniaGo to Recipe
When temps heat up, chill some glasses and cool down with a slushy blend of watermelon, lime and ginger ale. Slurp and repeat. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
Fresh strawberries and basil are everywhere, so get them together for a cooler that’s pure sunshine. I garnish with basil leaves and sip outdoors. —Carolyn Turner, Reno, NevadaGo to Recipe
Iced Honeydew Mint Tea
I grow mint in the garden on my balcony. For this tea, I blend two of my favorite beverages—Moroccan mint tea and honeydew agua fresca. —Sarah Batt Throne, El Cerrito, CaliforniaGo to Recipe
My family gulps this frosty cooler because we love, love, love watermelon. The strawberries give it an extra pop. This is a perfect drink for Texas heat. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, TexasGo to Recipe
Rhubarb Mint Tea
A bumper crop of rhubarb and mint from my garden inspired me to create this thirst-quenching pick-me-up. Raspberries deepen the tea’s vibrant red color, making the drinks a pretty addition to your table. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, WashingtonGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Grilled Lemon & Thyme Lemonade
We use our grill for most summer dinners, so we thought, “why not grill the lemonade?” The flavor is surprisingly smooth, with just the right amount of honey and herbs. We call it Thyme for Lemonade. —Susan Jordan, Denver, ColoradoGo to RecipeTaste of Home
The bold colors of cranberries and grapes make them stand out in the juice category, but club soda adds the sparkle that delivers true refreshment. Add ice cubes and a slice of lemon for the full effect. —Karen Schwabenlender, Waxhaw, North CarolinaGo to Recipe
Pretty Pink Punch
This refreshing punch is convenient because you can make it ahead of time and just add the ginger ale just before serving. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Lemon Ice Tea Mix
A friend who has a large family and does a lot of entertaining created this mix. It’s inexpensive and makes a tasty, refreshing batch of tea. —Linda Fox, Soldotna, AlaskaGo to Recipe
Banana Brunch Punch
A cold glass of refreshing punch really brightens a brunch. It’s nice to serve a crisp beverage like this that’s more spectacular than plain juice. With bananas, orange juice and lemonade, it can add tropical flair to a winter day. —Mary Anne McWhirter, Pearland, TexasGo to Recipe
Revelers of all ages can enjoy a nonalcoholic version of the punchlike refresher that’s often called Mardi Gras in a glass. Adults who want a more authentic flavor can mix in rum. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
This juice is a favorite at our place. I’ll often double the batch and send a jar next door to my mother-in-law! I was looking for a way to sweeten lemonade without using more sugar when I came up with the recipe. —Wendy Masters, Grand Valley, OntarioGo to Recipe
Colorful and refreshing, this sweet-tart slush has become a family favorite. I freeze the mix in 2- and 4-cup containers so it can be served in small portions for individuals or the whole family. I also freeze crushed strawberries to make preparation simpler. —Connie Friesen, Altona, ManitobaGo to Recipe
Lemon Lime Punch
This frothy refresher topped with lime sherbet is a longtime family favorite and the best punch I’ve ever had. It’s fast, festive and easy to mix up for a variety of occasions. —Mary Ray, Raccoon, KentuckyGo to Recipe
Sparkling Cranberry Kiss
I love the tartness of cranberries in cold beverages, and this recipe is easily doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. —Shannon Arthur, Wheelersburg, OhioGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Pink Rhubarb Punch
Rhubarb is the featured ingredient in this blush-colored punch. A friend passed the recipe on to me, and we enjoy it so much that I thought others might, too. —Rebecca Mininger, Jeromesville, OhioGo to Recipe
Golden Fruit Punch with Ice Ring
This is a refreshing punch that isn’t as sweet as most. My family loves the tart “wake-me-up” flavor. As an added bonus, this punch won’t stain carpeting the way a red punch would! —Cindy Steffen, Cedarburg, WisconsinGo to Recipe
Raspberry Lemonade Concentrate
Here’s a concentrate that allows you to enjoy a refreshing summer beverage any time of year. Sweet raspberries balance the tartness from lemons. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, WisconsinGo to RecipeTaste of Home
As a table brightener, fix a bowl of festive fruity punch—it’s a refreshing beverage you can mix together in moments. To dress it up even more, I add an ice ring filled with oranges, lemons and cranberries. —Karen Ann Bland, Gove, KansasGo to Recipe
To keep the punch cold while adding extra color, I like to make an ice ring out of cherry soda pop. The flavor always brings folks back for more. —Carol Van Sickle, Versailles, KentuckyGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Hot Spiced Lemon Drink
I received this recipe from a lady in our church who is an excellent cook. She has shared several slow-cooker recipes with us. We really enjoy the sweet-tangy flavor of this warm citrus punch. —Mandy Wright, Springville, UtahGo to Recipe
Strawberry Party Punch
After a spicy snack, cool your palate with this festive and fruity punch. Let guests help themselves at the punch bowl, or serve it by the glass with pretty fruit garnishes.—Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, MissouriGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Minty Tea Punch
Forget sugary (and boring) sodas for your next potluck and treat your family and friends to a refreshing homemade punch. —Crystal Bruns, Iliff, ColoradoGo to Recipe