Countdown: Top Ten Low Alcohol Drinks

Here's a list of ten of the best low-alcohol drinks for when you need to keep your head about you on a night out on the town.

These alcoholic beverages generally have 1/2 to 1/3 of the alcohol in a typical standard drink (a standard drink is equivalent to roughly 6 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor).

All of these drinks are fun to make and easy to drink. And as you'll see, a few of the drinks on this list are real attention-getters. It just proves that you don't have to outdrink your friends to show off in a bar.

Readers, if you have any favorite low-alcohol content drinks of your own that you'd like to share, please tell us about them in the comments section below!

10) The Bellini
Colorful, flavorful, and so low in alcohol you'll be able to drink these all night.

3 ounces peach juice
A dash of lemon juice
3 ounces champagne or dry sparkling wine
1 dash grenadine

Pour peach juice into a champagne flute or wine glass. Add the dash of lemon juice and the dash of grenadine. Top glass off with chilled sparkling wine.

9) The Country Club Cooler
You might have to help your bartender out with the recipe for this drink--it's not all that common.

1/2 teaspoon grenadine
2 ounces ginger ale or carbonated water
2 ounces dry vermouth

Pour ingredients into a highball glass, add ice, and stir.
Garnish with a lemon or orange peel.

8) The Mimosa
This drink is of course known by brunchers everywhere. However, if you're out in a bar at a time other than brunch and you want to avoid looking like a lightweight, you can ask for your mimosa in a rocks glass--people will think you're drinking a screwdriver.

Fill a wine goblet or champagne flute with equal parts orange juice and chilled sparkling wine.
For a delicious variation, try the Passion Mimosa, which contains equal parts passion fruit juice and sparkling wine.

7) The Shandy
Featured sheepishly in this blog several months ago, this drink should not be ordered in public by any man unless he wants to spend the rest of his life crying over his shattered masculinity. Perfect for the ladies though.

Pour a pint glass half full of beer, then fill with ginger ale.

6) The Peppermint Pattie
Are you a fan of Peanuts? Do you enjoy reading rejected commercial blurbs for the York Peppermint Pattie? Then this drink's for you.

1 ounce creme de menthe
1 ounce creme de cacao
Shake with ice and strain into a small glass filled with ice cubes.

5) The Wine Cooler
We're not talking about those sickly sweet Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers you drank back in college. This is the real thing:

Pour 3 ounces red wine into a wine glass with ice cubes.
Fill the glass with Sprite, Seven-Up or other lemon-lime soda.

4) The Pineapple Cooler
This drink is a real thirst-quencher, and it packs a powerful punch of not one, but two, shots of pineapple juice.

Pour into a glass with ice cubes:
2 shots pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3 ounces club soda
2-3 ounces white wine
Garnish with a twist of lemon or a wedge of pineapple.

3) Port Wine Flip
The next time the holidays roll around, try this drink as a perfect low-alcohol substitute for eggnog.

1 whole egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1.5 ounces port
2 teaspoons light cream (optional)
Garnish with a few shakes of nutmeg.

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

2) The Eclipse Cocktail
The coolest-looking drink on this list. A definite attention-getter.

1 ounce Gin
2 ounces Sloe Gin
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Put a small green olive in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Pour enough grenadine in the glass to just barely cover the olive. Then, shake gin, sloe gin and lemon juice with ice and pour carefully into the cocktail glass so that it settles on top of the grenadine and the two layers do not mix.

And the very best low-alcohol drink is....

1) The Cafe Royale
Not only is this drink preposterously low in alcohol, it involves fire!! Let your bartender light one of these up and you'll be the center of attention for the rest of the night.

1-2 sugar cubes (according to your preference)
1 cup of hot black coffee.

Soak sugar cube(s) briefly in brandy. Place brandy-soaked cubes on a teaspoon and hold the teaspoon so that it balances on top of the cup of coffee. Light the sugar cubes with a match or lighter, and hold until the flame goes out. Drop the cubes into the coffee and stir.


Related Posts:
Countdown: The Top Ten Alcoholic Drinks of Summer
Why You Should NEVER Use "Cooking Wine"
Ten Rules for the Modern Restaurant-Goer
The Dinner Party: 10 Tips to Make Cooking for Company Fun and Easy


William said...

By the way, a British Shandy is lemonade (aka Sprite) and lager. I have never seen ginger ale used before, even when it is ordered in bars in the US.

Daniel said...

Hi William, thanks for your comment. But I have to say I disagree with you. I've ONLY seen ginger ale used when I've ordered shandies (this in the US only, however). Of course I have only ordered said shandies for my wife and would never order one for myself. ;)

Also my Boston Bartender's guide specifically calls for ginger ale.


Anonymous said...

I think this depends on where you live. In the south it is very rare for a bar to serve ginger ale...this is more of a northern/northeastern thing...therefore, we use sprite.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the context Erika--I guess I'll have to have my wife order one next time we're in the south... not that I'd ever order one for myself of course.


Anonymous said...

In Australia, we use lemonade (sprite), not ginger ale.

Crystal Lea said...

Who the heck cares which one u use!? To each their own, call it what ya want! If it's got alcohol, it's good any way! HA ;D

Basset Certification said...

Good one Crystal Lea! If there's an alcohol in it, it's good to go down your throat! lol! I'm not familiar with British Shandy though... what's the similarities between it and the one William was talking about?

Anonymous said...

Shandy = beer + lemonade (not sprite...actual lemonade with real lemons). Leinenkugel beer makes it the same way. To each their own, but beer and real lemonade is amazing! Cheers

Anonymous said...

Hrm, considering this was posted a while ago maybe it was different back then. But I know that in the south they still regularly have ginger ale in bars where I live. What made ya think they didn't?