Fall festivities bring all sorts of exciting, harvest-style cocktails to mind. After all, who wants to skip out on the chance to celebrate autumn and spice up the standard drink? If you’re looking to enjoy the celebration without drinking, however, having a few mocktail recipes in your back pocket is sure to come in handy.
Though we can enjoy a drink now and then, cutting down on alcohol consumption is an important move to make as we grow older. Alcoholic beverages are known human carcinogens, according to the National Cancer Institute. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is linked to a number of cancers, including head, neck and colorectal cancer, while any level of alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. In fact, experts in the field suspect that any potential benefits from alcohol consumption are outweighed by the damage that alcohol can do.
Fortunately, significantly reducing the amount you drink can have a positive effect over a long period of time. And while you can still drink in moderation, it’s always a good idea to have alternative drinks at the ready. The right ingredients can even make a simple mocktail healthy to drink! For some fun, alcohol-free beverage ideas, check out the recipes below.
Apple Moscow Mule Mocktail
Craving a bright, spiced drink to go with sweater weather? An apple Moscow mule is the perfect beverage for any fall holiday. It provides a lovely blend of sharp ginger, lemon, and sweet apple juice, and looks particularly enticing in a Moscow mule mug or a tall drinking glass. To make it, shake a little cinnamon and even less nutmeg into the bottom of your glass. Add ice, and pour in a ½ cup of ginger beer, ½ cup of apple juice, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir the contents together with a cinnamon stick and add an apple slice to the rim for a crispy, edible garnish.
Wondering whether this drink has any health benefits? According to Harvard Health, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are rich in nutrients that improve memory recall, reduce stress, and improve sleep. Apples also contain the flavonoid quercetin and the nutrient pectin. Quercetin has multiple antioxidant properties, while pectin can improve digestion and potentially help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.
Autumn Harvest Punch
A punch is the perfect party pleaser, and is easy to serve when you make it in bulk. This autumn harvest punch in particular is a lovely addition to a Halloween fest or a Thanksgiving dinner. The mixture of lemonade, cider and orange juice gives it a sweet, tangy flavor, while the sparkling water keeps it refreshing. While some punches are served warm, the autumn harvest punch is served cold with fresh rosemary, apples slices, and orange wedges.
To create this punch, first mix 3 cups of lemonade, 5 cups of apple cider, 1 cup of orange juice, and ¼ cup of maple syrup in a tall pitcher. Then, wash and cut 3 apples and 1 orange. Add the slices to the pitcher and top with fresh rosemary sprigs. To finish, pour in 5 cups of sparkling water and mix everything together.
While this beverage contains a decent amount of sugar, the apples, oranges, and rosemary sprigs add a number of health benefits. Apples contain several antioxidants, as mentioned above, while oranges have an ample amount of vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. They also contain decent amounts of iron, zinc, thiamin, and folate. Zinc plays a major role in building proteins, healing damaged tissues, and boosting the immune system, while thiamin promotes muscle and nerve health. Folate, or a form of vitamin B-9, promotes a healthy liver and healthy skin.
Note: If you are concerned about the sugar content for your guests, you can reduce it by diluting the drink with more sparkling water or leaving out the maple syrup.
Fizzy Fig Mocktail
Are you on the hunt for a very unique, light, and bright drink? If so, the fizzy fig mocktail may be your next go-to fall beverage. This autumn-inspired drink has a refreshing taste, thanks to the mint leaves and fresh fig. It’s also simple to make, though it does require a muddler and a shaker for the fig and brown sugar.
To make this delicious mocktail, first muddle a fig, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and about 7 mint leaves at the bottom of a shaker. Make sure the fig is fairly broken-up before adding 4 ounces of ginger ale to the shaker. Shake all the ingredients until they are well mixed, then strain the contents over a glass of ice. Feel free to garnish your mocktail with mint leaf and fig.
As far as health benefits go, the fizzy fig mocktail contains plenty. Just two tablespoons of fresh mint contain a decent amount of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and folate. Both calcium and magnesium promote strong bones, and phosphorus helps in the maintenance and repair of cell tissues. Vitamin C of course promotes a healthy immune system and also plays a vital role in healing wounds. Potassium is used in every part of the body, and helps not only regulate heartbeat but ensure that muscles and nerves function properly.
Keep in mind that any of these mocktails can be modified to suit your tastes. The sky is the limit when it comes to switching up festive beverages. Plus, guests who prefer a true cocktail can simply add liquor to their drinks. With the addition of mocktails to your fall menu, you’re sure to impress your guests and give them health benefits as they sip.