Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Mix Up a Hangover-Free Happy Hour With These No-Booze Cocktails

Want to sip on something special tonight, but don't want the hangover for your long ride tomorrow? Pour one of these alcohol-free cocktails from Chef Biju Thomas.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Outside, Better Nutrition, VeloNews, and more
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 10 Weeks to Your Best 70.3 and the 60 Day Metabolic Reset
  • Download your personal race photos from FinisherPix* for one race (up to a $100 value).
  • Member-only newsletter, and event meet and greets with editors
  • Get up to $30 off your next race and $30 off race fees every year you are a member through AthleteReg*
  • Annual gear guides for cycling, running, skiing, training, and more
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

Digital + Print
Intro Offer
$2.99 / month*

  • Annual subscription to Triathlete magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content on
  • Ad-free access to
Join Triathlete

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

There’s something special about a craft cocktail – the care paid to selecting the perfect ingredients, the pageantry of rattling a martini shaker, the elegance of a fancy glass and even fancier finishes. But there’s also something not-so-special about doing your workout the next day with a hangover. That’s why many athletes opt out of alcohol, whether for the weeks leading up to a race, during periods of heavy training, or even longer stretches.

But that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a lifetime of ordering water or non-alcoholic craft beers at the bar. Mixing up a non-alcoholic cocktail lets you toast your accomplishments with all the glitz and glamour – and none of the hangover.

RELATED: A Nutritionist Shares What a Month of No Alcohol Did to His Body

Video loading...

Essential ingredients for high-end mocktails

Simple syrup

Let’s begin our non-alcoholic adventure with a few basic simple syrups that I love keeping around. Simple syrup is one of the happiest things to keep in your arsenal of kitchen tricks. This a versatile ingredient for every occasion, for every group, and for every mood. At its heart, simple syrup is equal parts hot water and sugar (2 cups of each is a good amount for a home bar), simmered at a very low temperature until the sugar dissolves. You can choose the type of sugar based on the color of the finished drink you have in mind: darker and amber-hued syrups come from brown, demerara, or raw sugars, while clear and light syrups come from white sugars. (If you want to use sugar substitutes, experiment with a tiny bit of your favorite sweetener added to your drink.) You can customize your simple syrup flavors by steeping whole spices, teas, coffees, dried flowers or whatever ingredient you think will give a drink your signature touch.

Here’s an example of a simple syrup recipe  – in this case, a mix for all things, dark, mysterious, leather-bound and classic, from 0ld-fashioneds to Manhattans or any drink where you would add a splash of bourbon or rum.

Dark Simple Syrup Recipe

  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 cups warm water

Gently blend sugar and water, and let simmer at a very low heat til all the sugar has melted (about 10 minutes).

For an even darker flavor, substitute the water with coffee or tea. (Keep in mind that caffeine in simple syrup will keep you up just like caffeine in any drink, so if you’re sensitive to late night stimulants, use decaf.)


Most of us either have a few forgotten bottles of bitters stashed away, or have seen them lining counters at the neighborhood bar. This is a quick way to add that spirited touch to any drink, while leaving out 99.95% of alcohol. Yes, you read that right: bitters have some alcohol. The alcohol content is similar to vanilla or almond extract, and you would never use more than one or two drops of bitters per drink, making the total alcohol content significantly less than what you would get in a bottle of kombucha. If the goal is 100% avoidance of all things alcohol, then skip it (or find an alcohol-free version), but otherwise a dash will go a long way.


The best mocktail recipes have a bit of a “wow” factor. Easy touches to add body and flair to a non-alcoholic cocktail come from adding ingredients like Luxardo Cherry Syrup, balsamic reductions, a small scoop of your favorite jam, or even a drizzle of maple syrup. Choose whichever fits the mood and final drink you have in mind.

Now that you have your ingredients, let’s get to building some drinks!

Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes

Black Tea “Old Fashioned”

Into a shaker with ice cubes (or use your blender bottle):

  • 2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz brewed / chilled black tea
  • 1 drop of orange bitters or tsp of cherry syrup

Shake together then pour into glass, or strain for a “neat” drink.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves or orange peel.

Red Sangria

Always a favorite regardless of occasion or weather outside, this fun and colorful fizzy juice drink is something the kids and the adults can love equally. This is also a great drink to make in large batches ahead of time, and have ready when your guests show up. The recipe below makes approximately 14 servings.

In a large pitcher combine together:

  • 2 lemons sliced in rounds
  • 1 medium sized orange, sliced*
  • 1 lemon, sliced*
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries*
  • 2 cups red grape juice**
  • 2 cups cranberry juice**
  • 12 oz bottle of grapefruit soda
  • 12 oz club soda

Fill glasses with mint leaves and ice cubes, pour in sangria to the top and enjoy. If too sweet just add a splash more club soda.

*Use whatever fresh fruit is seasonal.

**If you want to make a white sangria, just change out for clear juices instead of red.

RELATED: Treat Yourself to These Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes