Food and Drink

7 nonalcoholic drink recipes for Dry January

January has long been associated with a fresh start and a time to adopt new practices, but in recent years it’s been an especially popular period to reflect on drinking habits. For many, this has been spurred by the growing trend of participating in Dry January, a month-long commitment to abstain from booze. But just because you aren’t drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t sip on something fun. There are now more alcohol-free spirits than ever, and mocktail options at bars and restaurants just keep getting better.

Whether you’re participating in Dry January after an especially festive holiday season, trying to reassess your relationship with alcohol or beginning a longer journey to cut down on drinking, we have some great zero-proof cocktails that you can try at home.

Check out recommended nonalcoholic spirits from Washington Post contributor Allison Robicelli, including gins, rums, whiskeys, tequilas and bitters to power the drinks featured below. For even more zero-proof drink recipes, head to our Recipes site.

1. Ginger Pineapple Drink

This sweet, gingery drink comes from beverage maker Sammy Holness, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. He “learned to make this drink from his mother, who picked the pineapples from the family garden.”

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.


Servings: 16 (1 gallon)


2 large pineapples

6 cups very hot water, plus 2 cups cool water, or more as needed

8 ounces peeled ginger root, cut into small chunks

1/2 cup wildflower honey, or more to taste

Mint sprigs, for garnish

[The best nonalcoholic gins, rums, whiskeys, tequilas and bitters to try during Dry January]


Peel the pineapples, discarding the tops. Place the peel in a large bowl with 5 cups of the very hot tap water. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours.

Cut the pineapple flesh into chunks and puree in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl to extract the juice. Transfer the pulp to the peel mixture.

When the peel mixture is ready, strain its juice and add to the pineapple juice. Discard the pulp and peel.

Combine the ginger and 2 cups of cool water in a blender. Puree and transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then let cool to room temperature. Strain and add to the pineapple-ginger juice.

Combine the honey and the remaining 1 cup of very hot water in a large measuring cup until dissolved. Add to the pineapple-ginger juice mixture. Add extra water as necessary to make 1 gallon. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until well chilled. To serve, pour into glasses and garnish with mint.

Note: Make sure the pineapples are ripe; they should smell sweet.

Nutritional Facts (per 8-ounce serving) |Calories: 72; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Sodium: 3 mg; Protein: 1 g; Fiber: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From Takoma Park Farmers Market vendor Sammy Holness.

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2. No-Booze Penicillin

The Penicillin, bartender Sam Ross’s blended Scotch cocktail, has become a modern classic, known for its rich, spicy balance of flavors. This nonalcoholic riff picks up many of the original drink’s notes, substituting rich, smoky lapsang souchong black tea for the Islay whisky in the original. Lapsang souchong tea is available at many gourmet markets and online. Note that this drink contains caffeine.


No-Booze Penicillin

One serving

Note: The drink can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Make ahead: You can prep the drink up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve and shake it prior to pouring.


3 tablespoons loose-leaf lapsang souchong tea

3 cups (24 ounces) boiling water

3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced


1 cup honey

8 to 10 ounces fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)


Candied ginger (optional), for garnish


In a teapot or heatproof bowl, infuse the tea in the boiling water. Let steep for about 4 minutes, then strain out the leaves.

Add the ginger and honey to the tea, stirring gently until the honey is dissolved. Allow the mixture to infuse for 15 to 30 minutes, then strain out the ginger, pressing gently on the solids to squeeze out any remaining liquid. You should have about 3 1/2 cups of liquid.

Add 6 ounces of the lemon juice, then taste and add more until the balance of sour, sweet and spicy is to your liking. Refrigerate the drink until ready to serve.

Serve the drink over ice, garnished with a slice of candied ginger.

Nutritional Facts per serving | Calories: 90; Carbohydrates: 25 g; Sugar: 24 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

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3. Orange on Orange (a mocktail)

Looking for a splash of citrus in your mocktail? This bittersweet aperitivo is a great option. Though Angostura bitters contain alcohol, many still consider them fair game in zero-proof drinks since they’re used in tiny amounts. If you’re looking to go 100 percent booze-free, go ahead and skip them. Chinotto is thought to be one of the flavoring agents in Campari, and the lightly bitter taste of this soda is reminiscent of the bright red liqueur.

Orange on Orange (a mocktail)

One serving

Where to buy: Chinotto soda is available at specialty stores, Italian markets and online.


Ice, preferably 1 large cube


2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice

2 ounces to 3 ounces chinotto soda (see headnote)

Sprig of rosemary, for garnish


Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add the bitters and orange juice, then top with the chinotto soda (to taste), stirring gently to incorporate.

Rub the sprig of rosemary gently between your palms to release its fragrance, then slide it into the drink.

Nutritional Facts per serving | Calories: 50; Carbohydrates: 11 g; Sodium: 10 mg; Sugar: 10 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

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4. Verjus Spritz

If you’re in need of a batch mocktail, this light, refreshing spritz can easily be adapted to serve six. Many alcohol-free cocktails require significant work in the kitchen, but all this drink asks is that you open three bottles and pour their contents into a stemmed glass in equal parts. Verjus, tonic water, soda water, boom! Spritz. Serve it with potato chips and olives, sit with a friend, and you’ve got aperitif hour.

One serving. 5 minutes.

Where to buy: Verjus is available from gourmet food and beverage stores, and online.


2 ounces white verjus

2 ounces soda water

2 ounces tonic water

1 lemon twist, for garnish


Combine the verjus, soda water and tonic water in a wine or spritz glass filled with ice. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Batch for 6: Combine 1 1/2 cups each of the verjus, soda water and tonic water in a pitcher filled with ice. Divide among 6 wine glasses and garnish each with a lemon twist.

Nutritional Facts per serving | Calories: 49; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Sodium: 30 mg; Sugar: 9 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Recipe from Adam Chase of the Corvino Supper Club in Kansas City, from “Good Drinks” by Julia Bainbridge (Ten Speed Press, 2020).

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5. Strawberry-Jalapeño Non-a-Rita (or Margarita)

Need a booze-free tipple for your next Taco Tuesday? Try this sweet and spicy take on a margarita. A fruity, spicy syrup forms the base; we used Bonne Maman strawberry preserves, which are widely available.

One serving

Storage note: The strawberry-jalapeño syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


For the strawberry-jalapeño syrup

2 cups water

One (13 -ounce) jar strawberry preserves

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 to 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, sliced into wheels, seeded if you prefer less heat

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the drink

Crushed ice

2 ounces strawberry-jalapeño syrup

1 3/4 ounces fresh lime juice

2 slices fresh jalapeño pepper

1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila (optional)


Make the strawberry-jalapeño syrup: Place the water, preserves, sugar, jalapeño slices and salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil for 30 seconds, stirring to break up the solids in the preserves. Taste the syrup and adjust the amount of jalapeño to your liking, removing or adding some of the wheels from the mixture. Keep in mind: The drink will taste less spicy once other ingredients are added.

Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture steep for 5 to 10 minutes - the longer you steep it, the spicier it will get. Let the mixture cool slightly, then strain out and discard the solids. The recipe makes about 3 cups (enough for 8 to 12 servings of either drink).

Make the drink: Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice, then transfer the ice to a cocktail shaker. Add the syrup, lime juice, jalapeño slices and tequila (if using) and shake hard, then gently pour the cocktail, including ice, back into the glass.

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

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6. Use Your Illusion

This zero-proof drink is sweet, spicy and slightly herbal thanks to a mix of honey-rosemary shrub and ginger beer.

One drink; 3 cups shrub

Make the rosemary shrub at least 24 hours in advance to give the rosemary time to infuse. The shrub can be refrigerated for several months.


For the shrub:

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup clover honey

1 cup hot water

6 stems rosemary

For the drink:


6 to 8 ounces Q brand ginger beer or other high-quality, spicy ginger soda

Rosemary stem or sprig, for garnish


For the shrub: Combine the vinegar, honey and hot water in a container, stirring until the honey has dissolved. Add the rosemary and refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours, then strain out/discard the herb.

For the drink: Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add 3/4 ounce of the rosemary shrub, then fill the rest of the glass with Q ginger beer or other high-quality, spicy ginger soda, as needed.

Clap the rosemary between your palms to release the aroma (or light the leaves briefly on fire, allowing them to continue to smolder as you insert the stem or sprig into the drink). Serve right away.

Nutritional Facts per serving | Calories: 90; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Sugar: 23 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted from bartender Lindsay Matteson and bar manager Brady Sprouse at the Barnacle in Seattle.

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7. Hot Buttered Cider

For a slightly richer option that will keep you warm in the winter, try this buttery apple cider infused with ginger, nutmeg and cloves. We used unfiltered apple cider to test this recipe, but you can use your favorite kind.

1 serving. Active time: 10 minutes


1 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon cold salted butter, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cinnamon stick (optional)


In a heatproof measuring cup and using a microwave, or in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the apple cider until steamy.

Put half of the butter, the maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg and cloves into a mug. Add a small amount of the hot cider to soften the butter, then use the back of a spoon to thoroughly combine it with the spices until smooth. Add the remaining cider, stir with a spoon or a cinnamon stick, if using, until combined, and float the remaining butter on top. Serve hot.

Nutritional Facts per serving | Calories: 253; Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Carbohydrates: 37 g; Sodium: 113 mg; Cholesterol: 31 mg; Protein: 0 g; Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 34 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From food writer Allison Robicelli.