Summer mocktail ideas and recipes perfect for booze-free fun in the sun

·5 min read
Summer parties can be a challenge when you've chosen not to drink alcohol. Experts weigh in on booze-free alternatives, perfect for parties. (Photo: Getty Creative)
Summer parties can be a challenge when you've chosen not to drink alcohol. Experts weigh in on booze-free alternatives, perfect for parties. (Photo: Getty Creative)

There's nothing better than a fun, ice-cold beverage during some of the hottest days of the year. From sipping a refreshing summer drink poolside to sipping cold beverages on hot summer days at cookouts, summer cocktails often take center stage when the weather is warm, so where does that leave those who love a refreshing libation, but choose to remain alcohol-free?

Domenica Personti works as corporate director of the medication-assisted treatment programs at Recovery Centers of America in King of Prussia, Pa. As someone in long-term recovery herself, as well as a professional in the field of behavioral health, Personti is an advocate for helping people who choose not to drink alcohol create healthy and sustainable alternatives.

How to support alcohol-free guests at your summer party

Personti says there are many reasons why people may choose to live an alcohol-free lifestyle: each deserving of respect. "Often, we focus on people in recovery, which is appropriate in many cases, but there are a variety of reasons people choose not to consume alcohol," she tells Yahoo Life. "Whether someone is in recovery, sober-curious or abstaining due to medical challenges, it is great to have options for them."

Social settings can be taxing for people in the early stages of their recovery journey, says Personti, and the struggle intensifies when matched with having to explain over and over the reasoning for abstaining from alcohol. Personti says providing mocktails at your summer parties is a great way to help your alcohol-free friends to feel more comfortable at the event.

"Everyone has a right to choose how and when to disclose that they are in recovery," she says. "That's one reason it makes sense to provide easy access to mocktails as everyday options, as this provides an inclusive experience for everyone and normalizes the drinking of non-alcoholic beverages in all settings."

What to drink when you're not drinking

Abraham Zherebilov lives in Buffalo, N.Y. and says as a teetotaler — someone who doesn't drink alcohol —he has a repertoire of simple mocktails using simple ingredients that avoid the ever-intrusive questions he gets at social gatherings.

"The way I avoid alcohol at parties is by ordering a club soda with a lime," says Zherebilov. "If I'm the host of a backyard party, I'll get pomegranate juice and sip on it from a wine glass, as it has a similar tannic aftertaste and looks like red wine."

Sarah Errafay, the Orlando, Fla.-based creator of Travels of Sarah Fay, shares that as a travel vlogger and blogger, her goal is to highlight amazing activities, adventures and wellness activities that don't revolve around drinking.

"I am constantly at events where there are drinks, and my best advice to getting through the hot months if you are at a party or event with an open bar is to ask for a mocktail," she says. "Honestly, I often find when I am having a good time dancing and taking part in activities, no one ever questions me not drinking because I am having the best time."

Errafay's go-to mocktails include the classic Shirley Temple, a non-alcoholic drink made with ginger ale and grenadine, and kombucha. Plus, she loves bringing along her own drinks when she can, including anything from a craft soda to fresh cold-brew coffee.

Marlena Del Hierro is a licensed clinical addiction specialist from Brownsville, Tex. who specializes in helping her clients with this exact topic. She mirrors Errafay's advice and shares some of her own favorite mocktails for the summer season. "Virgin mojitos [made] with mint, seltzer, lime and sugar or a sugar substitute," she says, "virgin Cuba Libres containing lime and coke, seltzers or sparkling waters with a lime, or even refreshing lemonade … staying hydrated is so important in hot places in particular, so I love mocktails that incorporate seltzer water best."

Del Hierro shares that by keeping a full cup, it's easy to not only keep hydrated but also to avoid being offered a drink.

How to stay sober at summer parties

A professional in mocktails, Abby Ehmann, the owner of popular New York City hot spot Hekate Café and Elixir Lounge has built her business around serving fun non-alcoholic beverages. She recalls the struggle summertime can bring to sobriety.

"I can't even imagine any events I've attended that didn't offer alcohol," says Ehmann. "For the newly sober, that obviously presents a problem. But it's summer — you don't want to lock yourself inside."

Ehmann recommends preparing for summer events by packing a cooler full of favorites, so alcohol presents less temptation. "My recommendation would be pack a cooler with tasty beverages created with fresh fruits or perhaps a six-pack of 0.0% ABV beers, which have all the flavor you may crave but none of the alcohol," she says. "There are so many products out there now that provide an adult drinking experience."

Ehmann offers advice for those looking to cut out alcohol this summer and beyond. "Cutting out alcohol — or even just cutting back — obviously offers many health benefits," she says. "But the biggest benefit is a clear head and more vivid memories. We are sold booze as a necessity to having 'a good time,' but more often than not, those good times are 'drunk times' we only remember through an alcohol haze."

Aphrodite's Garden

Courtesy of Abby Ehmann at Hekate Café and Elixir Lounge

(Photo: Hekate Café and Elixir Lounge)
(Photo: Hekate Café and Elixir Lounge)


Combine and serve chilled.

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