Alcohol-Free Mocktails, “That’s What I Prefer”

mocktails water and currents

Tonic or sparkling water, a sprig of fresh mint, and currents.

It’s party time, and drinking alcohol-free mocktails can seem antisocial to someone new to recovery or practicing an alcohol-free lifestyle. After all, it is rare to attend a holiday gathering without the omnipresent open bar. But when Uncle Joe picks a fight, or your neighbor falls into the sunken living room, splashing his bloody mary onto the Persian rug, you will feel justified in your restraint! Practice makes perfect, and we say bring your favorite mocktail to the family barbeque or ask for club soda and grapefruit juice without an explanation. Hosts should take note and responsibility. Sensitive party planners have plenty of mocktails, soft drinks, and flavored sparkling water.


Many can be fooled by water or juice and a well-placed citrus wedge….asking for the “virgin’’ version of better-known cocktails is popular shorthand among bartenders. But surely there must be more to this socializing than discussing what people do or do not drink. So, you need only say, “That’s what I prefer.’’ Miss Manners



Sanford Behavioral Health’s Holiday Support

The clinical team at Sanford Behavioral Health takes extra time and consideration to provide a place of support and safety for clients and a treatment experience that considers the individualized needs that often arise during the holiday season. The Sanford team understands that the holiday season can bring about additional stressors that require specific interventions and detailed responses. The programming provided through the holiday season incorporates treatment objectives with seasonal community excursions and extended opportunities for family interaction. The clinical team prides itself on individualized treatment programming that recognizes the potential barriers of being in treatment during the holiday season. If you or a loved one are struggling, do not hesitate to call 616.202.3326.


Sanford Behavioral Health facilities

From left to right, Sanford House at Cherry Street for Women, Sanford West Behavioral Health Campus, and Sanford House at John Street for Men. Serving Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, and beyond.


Alcohol-Free Mocktails from Sanford Behavioral Health

sober mocktails tropical  

The Islander (without the rum to make you numb)

½ cup mango

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Add ½ cup pineapple

And ¼ cup ice

¼ cup of coconut juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Garnish with a pineapple slice.


sober cocktails lemonaide

The Sparkler (all is bright – including your memory of last night)

1 cup of mixed berries

2 – 3 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup of sparkling water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and add a splash of sparkling water to bubble it up!



The Stand-By (you’re not a wallflower – you’re filled with sober power!)

Fill your glass ¾ with Club Soda over crushed ice

Add a splash of Italian Volcano Organic Lemon Juice

Garnish with lemons and limes.



hot lemonaide


Warm Winter Lemonade (cozy by the fire – no wine desired)

Fill mug with hot steeping hot water (or microwave it)

Slice whole fresh lemon, skewering 3 lemon slices with a cinnamon stick

Stir agave nectar or honey into hot water

Drop the cinnamon stick and lemon into a teacup and let it steep!

(There is so much flavor, this can be re-enjoyed throughout the day by pouring hot water over the lemon skewer. Or use some orange slices on their own or with the lemon.)


Liz Scott’s “herbal infusion” apres holiday – From Zero Proof Cocktails

1-liter bottle of purified water

6 thin slices of unpeeled cucumber

½ lemon, thinly sliced and seeded (2-inch) sprigs of mint

1 sprig basil

Splash of grenadine

2 lemon slices, for garnish

Pour the water into a large pitcher and add the cucumber, lemon, and herbs. Chill for at least 2 hours. Strain. Pour into glasses, add a splash of grenadine, and serve garnished with the lemon slices.


Have a joy filled 2023!

Our favorite holiday drink in the Sanford residential houses is a “mistletoe martini” that we have made with club soda and cranberry juice. We also rim the glass with crushed candy cane to make it extra fancy!” Peter Claus, Sanford behavioral Health Executive Chef


No matter what you do to celebrate a fresh new year, relish the fact you are clear-headed. And even if you don’t have the fancy ingredients for a full-fledged alcohol-free mocktail – treat yourself. Put your soda water in a special glass or toss in a few maraschino cherries or a sprig of fresh mint. Light a fire or a candle, count your blessings, and sip on something that makes you feel special. You deserve it any time of year!


844 with lake Michigan


Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit