Great Booze-Free Holiday Alternatives

By Laura Vogel 12/23/11

Try these favorite holiday drinks and meals with all the flavor of the originals and none of the alcoholic regret.

Regret-free eggnog Photo via

Just because you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason you need to make like Scrooge and banish festive drinks and classically alcoholic dishes from your holiday bashes. Here are some tasty recipes that’ll please both your recovery buddies and social drinkers alike—so you can celebrate in stellar non-alcoholic style at your Christmas and New Year’s parties.


Apple Pie Spiced Cider (courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Ingredients (serves 6):

• 1 1/4 quarts apple cider

• 3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar

• 7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)

• 1 teaspoon ground allspice

• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

• Ground cloves

• Freshly grated nutmeg

• Salt


In a medium saucepan, whisk together cider, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Serve in mugs, garnished with cinnamon sticks.

Non-Alcoholic White Russian (courtesy of eHow)

Ingredients and directions (serves 1):

• Fill a medium-sized glass with chunks of ice.

• Pour a shot of non-alcoholic, non-sweetened coffee-flavored syrup into the glass. Most of these syrups are colorless, so you may need to add a little chocolate syrup to the mixture in order to get the characteristic shade of a White Russian.

• Throw two shots of half-and-half or cream into the glass. Stir with a swizzle stick.

• Serve and drink immediately. 

Sleigh Driver (courtesy of EatingWell)

Ingredients (serves 10):

• 1 cup water

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

• 3 pears, chopped into bite-size pieces, divided

• 2 quarts apple cider

• 1 lemon, halved and sliced

• 1 tablespoon ground allspice

• 1 cup fresh cranberries

• 2 tablespoons alcohol-free vanilla extract (available from CooksVanilla)


• Combine water, sugar, ginger and 1 pear in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Strain out the solids and return the mixture to the pan.

• Add the remaining pears, cider, lemon and allspice and heat over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

• Add cranberries and vanilla and reduce the heat to medium-low (the liquid should be simmering, not boiling). Let simmer for 10 minutes more. Serve in heat-safe mugs.

Non-Alcoholic Fruit Punch (courtesy of Cooks):

Ingredients and directions (serves 37):

• 1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice

• 1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade

• 1 (46 oz.) can pineapple juice

• 2 quarts ginger ale

• 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries 

• Mix frozen juices per instructions on cans. Add pineapple juice. Stir in strawberries. Add ginger ale at time of serving. (To add to appearance, a ring can be made using the above juices and frozen in a Jello mold.)

Coconut Eggnog (courtesy of MyRecipes)

Ingredients (serves 12):

• 1 pt. half-and-half 

• 4 cinnamon sticks (3 1/2 in. long) 

• 1 teaspoon whole cloves 

• 5 large egg yolks 

• 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk 

• 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk 

• Ground cinnamon 


• Heat half-and-half, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a saucepan, stirring, until boiling. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Strain and return to pan.

• Whisk egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk into half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until mixture reaches 160° (don't boil). Stir in coconut milk. Let cool, then chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

• Blend half of mixture at a time in a blender until frothy. Pour into a bowl. Ladle into glasses and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Bubbles and Cheers (courtesy of Bernie Kantak, via the Phoenix New Times)

Ingredients and directions (serves 1):

• 3 oz. orange juice

• 2.5 oz. lemon-lime soda

• 1 teaspoon Marasca cherry syrup.

• Pour soda, OJ, and cherry syrup into Champagne flute and serve.

Citrus Wassail (courtesy of TasteofHome)

Ingredients (serves 13):

• 8 cups unsweetened apple juice

• 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice

• 2 cups orange juice

• 1/2 cup lemon juice

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


•In a Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm. 


Classic French Toast With Vanilla Sugared Fruits (courtesy of Chef Liz Scott, via Recovery Today)

Ingredients (serves 4):

• 3 large eggs

• 1 cup milk (whole, 2 percent, or 1 percent)

• 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

• Pinch of salt

• Twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices day-old French bread

For the Sugared Fruit Topping:

• 2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries

• 1 cup raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries

• 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

• Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and canola oil for the skillet


• To make the French toast, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla sugar, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Arrange the sliced bread in a single layer in a 9 x13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and pour the egg mixture over them. Allow to soak for 8 to10 minutes, turning them over to absorb the egg mixture well.

• To make the sugared fruits, combine the berries in a medium-size mixing bowl and sprinkle the vanilla sugar over them. Fold carefully to coat and refrigerate until ready to use.

• Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with a drop or two of canola oil. When melted and hot, place 4 of the soaked bread slices in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Continue with the remaining butter and soaked bread, transferring each batch to a warmed platter and adding another tablespoon of butter and a bit of canola oil.

• Spoon the sugared fruits over the French toast, dust generously with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

Holiday Fruitcake Without Alcohol (courtesy of Jim Barrack)

Ingredients (serves 30):

• 2 1/2 cups unsifted flour 

• 1 teaspoon baking soda 

• 2 slightly beaten eggs 

• 1 28 oz. jar None Such ready-to-use mincemeat 

• 1 14 oz. can Eagle Brand sweetened low-fat condensed milk 

• 2 cups candied fruits 

• 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces 


• Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt cake pan. 

• Combine flour and baking soda and set aside. 

• In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; blend in flour and baking soda mixture. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. 

• Bake for 90 minutes until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack. Garnish as desired.

Alcohol-Free Cheese Fondue (courtesy of MealsMatter)

Ingredients (serves 4):

• 1 cup Swiss cheese

• 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

• 1 cup Gruyere cheese

• 3/4 cup chicken stock

• 3/4 cup milk

• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

• 2 tablespoons flour

• 2 cloves crushed garlic

• Salt and pepper to taste

The following dipping things:

• 1 loaf French bread—cut into cubes

• 1 loaf pumpernickel bread—cut into cubes

• 1 loaf rye bread - cut in cubes

• 3-4 large apples cut in cubes

• 1 stalk of broccoli

• 1 stalk of cauliflower

• Carrot pieces

• Celery pieces


Heat chicken stock in your fondue pot until hot and add other ingredients then stir until a cheesy gooey consistency is reached. Dip things into the fondue as desired and eat. 

Bananas Foster (courtesy of SparkRecipes)

Ingredients (serves 2):

• 1 banana 

• 2 tbsp. brown sugar

• butter spray

• 1 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream

• Fat-free Cool Whip 


Slice banana into quarters. Coat sauté pan with butter spray, add bananas and the brown sugar. Cook on medium high heat, turning bananas occasionally, until they become slightly translucent and the sugar caramelizes. Split into two servings, top each with 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, and add a dollop of whipped cream.

Lamb Shanks With Verjuice (courtesy of

Ingredients (serves 6):

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

• 6 lamb shanks 

• sea salt

• pepper (freshly ground)

• 10 rosemary sprigs 

• 1 head garlic (large, each clove peeled and 3 minced) 

• 1 preserved lemon (whole, rinsed)

• 2 cups verjuice 

• 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock 

• 6 bay leaves

• 1 tsp. black peppercorns (whole, cracked)

• 1 teaspoon salt 


• Preheat oven to 320 degrees

• On the stove, heat the oil in a large casserole dish (that is ovenproof).

• Season the lamb shanks with the sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

• Add 3 shanks to the casserole dish and cook over moderate heat until browned all over (about 8 minutes), rest to one side.

• Add the remaining 3 shanks and the rosemary to the casserole dish and cook until browned and then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

• Remove from the heat and return the first 3 shanks to the casserole dish or pot.

• Remove the pulp from the lemon and cut the lemon rind into 8 pieces and add the  lamb along with the verjuice, stock, garlic cloves, bay leaves, cracked peppercorns and salt.

• Bring to a boil and cover tightly and braise in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is tender, turn the shanks occasionally.

• Transfer the lamb to a platter and cover to keep warm.

• Discard the rosemary stems and bay leaves and skim as much fat as possible from the sauce in the casserole dish.

• Return the shanks to the sauce and cook over moderate heat until warm.

• Spoon into bowls and serve.

Alcohol-Free Margarita Pie (courtesy of

Ingredients (serves 6):

• 1 (6 ounce) graham-cracker crust

• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

• 1/2 cup non-alcoholic margarita mix 

• 3 egg yolks 


• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix well together condensed milk, margarita mixer, and egg yolks. 

• Pour mixture into unbaked graham cracker crust. 

• Bake for 15 minutes. Allow pie to cool for (at least) 15 minutes before chilling in refrigerator. Chill for (at least) 4 hours before serving with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Laura Vogel is a Los Angeles–based writer and editor whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Real Simple, Travel+Leisure and The New York Post, among other publications and websites. She has written about the best sober apps and recovery radio shows, among other topics, for The Fix.

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