Sober October: Mocktail recipes to help you go alcohol-free for the month
I stopped drinking alcohol earlier this year as part of New Orleans’ version of Dry January or Sober October. In this case, the challenge is to give up alcohol for 40 days following Mardi Gras day. This wasn’t my first go-around trying this, and I am still at it.
Events like Sober October, Dry January, and the post-Mardi Gras no alcohol challenge in New Orleans, where people abstain from drinking alcohol for a month, have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. There are more people rethinking their relationship with alcohol, looking for ways to eliminate or moderate the amount they drink or quitting entirely. While these events have gained visibility, healthcare professionals strongly advise that people with a possible substance use disorder seek treatment with a professional rather than attempting this on their own.
I have participated in these challenges on and off for the last five years. A minor and yet significant hurdle early on is finding drink options that normalize going out to dinner or to a concert without having to order an alcoholic beverage. As someone who tries to avoid sugary drinks, finding an alternative that wasn’t water or a caffeinated drink was hard at first. But in the last five years, more restaurants and bars have begun serving nonalcoholic “mocktails,” beers and even wines. My personal go-to continues to be ginger beer with a little lime juice.
Molly Kimball, a registered dietician with the Ochsner Health System has run the Eat Fit #AlcoholFreefor40Challenge since 2016. Participants now come from all over and have access to health information, online support from others participating in the challenge and access to mocktail recipes Kimball posts on the group's Facebook page. Challenge participants also frequently share their own recipes for what they’re drinking to inspire others.
Kimball shared two of her favorite recipes from her upcoming book “Craft: The Eat Fit Guide to Zero Proof Cocktails,” which will publish in October.
If you are participating in Sober October this year, whether it’s for charity or for wellness, here are some delicious nonalcoholic drinks you can try out at home.
Sober life in the SouthWhy some Southerners are rethinking what life could look like without alcohol
“The French 75 was named after the French 75-millimeter field gun celebrated for its rapid-fire power. The original, made with cognac — and even its lighter gin-based sister — is a wickedly powerful concoction. This zero proof version maintains the respect of the original’s potency without knocking you out.” – Molly Kimball
Makes 1 serving
1 ounce zero-proof gin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup or Eat Fit Simple Syrup
4 ounces zero-proof sparkling wine
Lemon swath, expressed, for garnish
Combine gin, lemon juice and Eat Fit Simple Syrup in a small shaker tin filled with ice. Shake and double strain into a tall champagne flute. Top with zero-proof sparkling wine and garnish with expressed lemon swath.
Pro tip: The lemon juice really fizzes up the sparkling wine. Tilt the champagne flute as you pour the sparkling wine to keep it from overflowing.
Nutritional information (with Eat Fit Simple Syrup): 25 calories, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 sodium, 6 grams net carbs, 0 fiber, 4 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 0 protein
Eat Fit Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup Swerve granular or 1 1/2 cup granular allulose
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce to medium-high heat and add sweetener. Stir to dissolve and continue to heat for 10 minutes. Pour into heat-safe glass container and refrigerate to chill. Store unused portion in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
This cocktail was inspired by one served at Atchafalaya restaurant in New Orleans.
Makes 4 cups
1 pint cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen and thawed)
2 cups sugar or Swerve sweetener
3 cups water
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
3 ounces sparkling water or zero proof sparkling wine, for serving
In a saucepan, place cherries, sugar and water on a low flame, stirring occasionally until soft (10-15 minutes). Pour mixture through a sieve and return to the saucepan. Add vinegar and return heat to medium-low, bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat transfer to a container and let cool. Makes 4 cups.
To serve, add approximately 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) to a coupe glass and top with sparkling water or zero proof sparkling wine.
Pro Tip: Refrigerate any remaining shrub concentrate in a sealed glass container for up to one week.
Nutritional information (when made with Swerve): 30 calories, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 7 mg sodium, 7 grams net carbs, 0 fiber, 6 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 0 protein