When I quit drinking alcohol, I immediately realized I needed a substitute for all of the booze I’d been sipping.
Like a lot of recovering people, I turned to copious amounts of soda to quench my thirst – ginger ale, diet coke, orange soda, anything and everything I could find in a 2 liter container in the grocery store.
This would have been a very unhealthy new habit if I’d let it go on for more than a few weeks. But water tasted boring in comparison. I didn’t know what to do.
Eventually, I decided to transform my amateurish “passion” for mixology – an excuse I’d used to pour myself too many cocktails in the past – into a new mission to discover the best-tasting and most relaxing nonalcoholic beverages.
So here’s the list.
1) Q Tonic w/ Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
Q Tonic can be purchased online or at Whole Foods, and while it’s quite expensive, it’s the best tonic I’ve ever tasted. Add just a few drops of Stirrings’ non-alcoholic blood orange bitters. You won’t be disappointed.
2) Virgin Sangria
4 cups cranberry juice, 2 cups club soda, 1 cup OJ, and 2 cups of your favorite fruit(s) cut into pieces. Drizzle with agave or add a packet of stevia if you prefer a sweeter drink. Refrigerate in a pitcher for two hours and serve with lemon or lime.
3) Cold-Brewed Hibiscus Iced Tea
1/2 cup dried Hibiscus flowers, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cups of water. Refrigerate in pitcher overnight, add agave or stevia to taste. (Read more about the health benefits of hibiscus here.)
4) Chamomile-Mint Iced Tea
4 chamomile tea bags, 1/2 cup fresh mint, 4 cups of water. Boil water and steep tea and mint for 10 minutes. Pour over large amount of ice in pitcher, add more water to taste and honey or stevia if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours. (Read more about the health benefits of chamomile here.)
5) Virgin Cape Codder
Club soda w/ a splash of cranberry juice and lime.
6) La Croix
The best naturally flavored sparkling waters in existence.
7) Arnold Palmer
Equal parts lemonade and iced tea. I make these at lunch places – many offer low-sugar lemonade and unsweetened black tea.