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What Are the Different Types of Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

A glass of ice water.
Green tea is a healthy, non-alcoholic beverage.
Tomato juice and other vegetables, but no vodka, are used to make a non-alcohoic Bloody Mary.
A "virgin margarita" doesn't contain tequila.
Non-alcoholic beer may contain from 0% to 1% alcohol.
Sparkling grape juice.
Non-alcoholic mixed drinks can be served in a cocktail glass.
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  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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There are many different types of non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda or fruit juice, but there are also a number of non-alcoholic alternatives to traditionally alcoholic beverages. Many of these drinks are referred to as “virgin” versions of standard alcoholic drinks, such as a “virgin daiquiri” or “virgin margarita.” There are also a number of non-alcoholic beers and similar drinks available. Many alcoholic drinks are simply made by taking non-alcoholic drinks and adding alcohol to them, so these drinks can often still be enjoyed without the alcohol.

Non-alcoholic beverages can refer to just about any type of drink that does not have alcohol in it. While this can cover a wide range of beverages, including anything from water and milk to fruit juice and soda, most such beverages are created specifically to appeal to those interested in the flavor of an alcoholic drink without the actual alcohol. There are many types of non-alcoholic drinks available that are similar to other drinks that contain alcohol, including mixed drinks and those beverages more commonly found purely as alcoholic drinks.

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Beer and wine, for example, can both be found as non-alcoholic beverages with flavors similar to the alcoholic drinks more commonly available. Sometimes called “near beer” or a similar name, this type of beer does not have alcohol, or has a very low amount of alcohol, but has a flavor similar to actual beer. Sparkling cider and similar drinks can be used as a non-alcoholic alternative to wine or sparkling wine. These sparkling ciders can be excellent non-alcoholic beverages to share with children who may feel left out when adults are celebrating with sparkling wine.

“Virgin” versions of alcoholic drinks can also be made or ordered in a number of restaurants, and provide much of the flavor of alcoholic beverages without the actual alcohol. A “virgin daiquiri,” for example, is typically made with most of the same ingredients as a standard daiquiri, such as strawberries, crushed ice, and other flavors, but does not have the rum typically found in a daiquiri. Such non-alcoholic beverages can be excellent options for children or for those who do not wish to imbibe alcohol.

There are also many alcoholic drinks that are essentially non-alcoholic beverages to which alcohol has been added. A bloody Mary, for example, typically consists of tomato juice and vodka. Someone interested in the taste of such a drink without the alcohol can simply drink tomato juice. This can similarly be done with other types of fruit juice, such as orange and cranberry, as well as numerous sodas.

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Pharoah
Post 10

I have a few friends who are recovering from alcoholism, and they have to be really careful about what kind of "non-alcoholic" drinks they order. I put in quotes because some non-alcoholic beers and wines actually do have a small percentage of alcohol in them.

For someone with a serious drinking problem, even drinking a little bit of alcohol can result in a big problem. So these people should definitely stick with strictly "virgin" drinks, and not drink any supposedly non-alcoholic malt beverages.

eidetic
Post 9

@Ted41 - That's a good tip! As the article said, a lot of beverage recipes for non-alcoholic drinks are really just drinks that are usually served with alcohol without the alcohol! So there are a lot of options for starting with an alcoholic beverage and then switching later in the night.

My personal favorite non-alcoholic beverage is very simple: a mix of half orange juice and half cranberry juice. I believe if you put vodka in it, it's called a Cape Cod. So I guess you could just order it as a virgin Cape Cod.

Ted41
Post 8

@literally45 - I do drink, but only in moderation. So sometimes when I go out, I have a few alcoholic drinks and then switch to something non-alcoholic. I've never had trouble with a bartender, but sometimes people I'm out with give me grief over not drinking. I think it makes them feel guilty for drinking more or something.

Either way, I find it's just easier to order something that looks like an alcoholic drink. Usually I go to the bar to order by myself, and get soda water with a lime. Then I tell people it's vodka soda with a lime!

It helps if I actually start out drinking vodka soda's, and then switch to plain soda water. No one ever notices the difference!

donasmrs
Post 7

I do drink alcohol, but I discovered recently that some drinks are even better without the alcohol. There is a Spanish restaurant in town that I really like. They have delicious food and a variety of different non-alcoholic Spanish beverages, the specialty being margaritas. A couple of weekends ago, I decided to try their virgin margarita just to see what it tasted like. It was fantastic, even better than the original!

I go there for lunch often just to have their virgin margaritas now. And I don't have to worry about going back to work and smelling like alcohol. I'm not sure how they do it, but they've made me a fan of non-alcoholic beverages. I don't have to stick to diet soda and iced tea any more.

fify
Post 6

@literally45-- I'm sorry that happened to you! I'm a bartender and I have many customers who prefer virgin drinks instead of alcoholic ones. I enjoy making and serving those just as any other alcoholic drink and would never judge someone because of it. I wonder if that bartender was just not comfortable with making a non-alcoholic cocktail.

It might actually help if you asked for a specific drink rather than just any virgin cocktail. A Shirley Temple is always great to have. It's made with ginger ale and grenadine (pomegranate syrup) with a maraschino cherry on top. I've never met anyone who doesn't like a Shirlety Temple. Kids can also have it and enjoy it a lot.

Mock Mojito and Virgin Mary are very popular with my customers. Mock Mohito is made with soda water, syrup, lime and mint. It's a fantastic non-alcoholic summer drink. Virgin Mary is not just tomato juice. You can make it with tomato juice or any red vegetable juice. I also like to put cranberry or lime juice and black pepper in it. If the customer likes it strong, I add a tiny bit of Tabasco sauce too.

So there are many options. Don't be afraid to ask for one of these. A professional bartender will never let you down. I'm sure you will find at least a couple of non-alcoholic cocktails you can enjoy while you're out with your friends.

literally45
Post 5

@myharley, @SarahSon-- It's nice that you or your friends can enjoy non-alcoholic beer and cocktails without people judging. That hasn't been my experience though.

I don't drink alcohol because of religious reasons. But most of my friends drink and I do enjoy spending time out with them. If they're all planning to go out to a club or to happy hour, I don't mind joining them just to chat, dance and have a good time.

Once I was at a club and a friend of mine insisted that she would buy me something to drink. We went over to the bar and I asked the barmen for a virgin cocktail. He gave me this disgusted look and made me the worst cocktail I have tasted in my life. I ended up drinking water for the rest of the night.

I wish more people were accepting of those who don't drink and offered a more variety of fun, non-alcoholic drinks. I also don't want to walk around with a bottle of water in my hand when everyone has a fancy drink.

SarahSon
Post 4

I know a guy who drinks non-alcoholic beer all the time. When he was younger, he drank a lot of alcohol, and had a hard time controlling himself.

I don't know when he finally decided he needed to quit drinking the alcoholic beverages, but when I see him with a "beer" in his hand now, I know it doesn't contain any alcohol.

For someone like him, having the option of non-alcoholic drinks for parties is a life saver. Many times he will take his own just to make sure he is not tempted to drink the beer with the alcohol.

If you didn't know the difference, you would think he was drinking a beer just like everyone else. I think drinking the non-alcoholic beer has made him feel like he can still enjoy a party without worrying about getting himself into trouble.

myharley
Post 3

I think it is always nice to have options for people who don't drink alcohol. I have some great non-alcoholic punch recipes that I have served for different occasions. I have never had to worry about having much left over to take home or get rid of.

There are many adults who prefer not to have alcohol, or if someone is pregnant they might be avoiding it for a certain period of time. If you go to a wedding reception, it is also nice to have alternatives for the children.

A really good punch recipe will taste great with or without alcohol, and that way you can serve as much as you want without worrying about people driving home from your event having had too much to drink.

julies
Post 2

During the holidays we always buy sparkling beverages for the kids to drink. They have started coming out with a lot more flavors and choices than they had when I was growing up.

This is always a treat for the kids and they like using the special glasses. These make great non-alcoholic drinks for kids. I like the taste of them too, and often find myself reaching for the sparkling non-alcoholic drink before anything else.

There is something about the combination of the carbonation and the tart fruity taste that makes these drinks hard to resist. I also like to mix the sparkling cider with other fruit juices for a unique taste. One of my favorite combinations is sparkling apple cider mixed with grape and pear juice.

honeybees
Post 1
I have always enjoyed drinking a virgin strawberry daiquiri. Once when we were eating out and my son was about 10 years old, we ordered one of these for him since he also loved the taste of strawberries.

After a couple of sips, he told me it tasted funny and when I tasted it I realized they had put alcohol in it. Not a very good thing to be serving an alcoholic drink to a child like that.

I don't drink alcohol but enjoy drinking some of the non-alcoholic drinks that have fresh fruit in them. A good strawberry daiquiri is probably my favorite, but there are others that I enjoy the taste of too. These are also easy and fun to make at home for both kids and adults.

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