Mocktail with berry garnish

The festive season is upon us, and with it comes parties and gatherings where people are more often than not, drinking alcohol. There are some of us who are averse to downing ten helpings of mulled wine. Fret not friends, this is a brief guide for those of you who are looking for alternatives to the booze-fest that Christmas can be.

Extensive investigation of a few stores revealed that there are indeed quite a few non-alcoholic options available on the shelf of stores like Higgins, O’Brien’s and Dunnes, stocking a range of gin and prosecco to good-old ale, wines and beers. Some of alcohol-devoid wines available are Eisberg and Carl Jung, for a price slightly lesser than full-blood wines, at €6.50. The friendly purveyor at Higgins Off-Licence in Clonskeagh stated that, “these wines go through the same process as normal wines and are de-alcoholised at the last stage, thus having the same taste.”

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Non-alcoholic beers go through the same process as alcoholic beers, big brand names like Heineken and Erdinger have created alcohol-free versions that taste as good. Guinness is also a competitor with its new lager, labelled Open Gate Pure Brew for all the true stout aficionados. There is a non-alcoholic brand for gin lovers too, for the same price as alcoholic-gin. Previous attempts at alcohol free options have been deemed cripplingly unsuccessful in the past. The taste and quality of each of the above-mentioned options now compete with alcoholic drinks.

If you are going out with friends and family, most bars are happy to serve you cocktails sans the alcohol. This is tried and tested, and you will never be disappointed. Sam’s on Dawson St. and Fitzsimmons on Temple Bar are my favourites, and the bartenders there whip out lavish mocktails, complete with garnishes. As an added benefit, you will come home ecstatic at all the money you saved up by saying no to the alcohol. There is no need to depend on red bull any longer!

For those of us who are keen to throw a party on a budget, going without alcohol on the drinks can be a real deal-breaker. There are gazillion ideas on Pinterest for no-tipple mixes, and my personal favourites involve coconut and elderflower tonic water. Make your guests a virgin pina colada and rest easy as you send them off in their cars, alcohol-free.

With a steady rise in such beverages, you are definitely in on the trend of drinking mindfully. If you can’t follow through on the alcohol Sabbath during Christmas, these options can certainly come in handy when new-year resolutions for dry January are to be followed.