The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Order At A Bar

A good deal of social pressure can come with any trip to the bar with your friends, especially if you're looking to curb how many alcoholic beverages you consume. There are a variety of benefits to cutting back on — or completely eliminating – booze from your diet. Stepping away from alcohol for a period like Dry January (a trend where people stop drinking alcohol for the month of January) can result in better sleep, healthier-looking skin, and an overall boost to your mood.

Whether you are looking to participate in Dry January, or are looking for alternatives to your usual drink order, there is a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages any good bartender should be able to whip together. Of course, January is not the only month you can choose to abstain from alcohol, but no matter when or why you decide to change your habit, you'll always have a tough decision: What do you order at the bar when you're not drinking? Fortunately there are loads of great options out there these days, many of which are simple modifications to your favorite cocktails. Here are a few of the easiest and tastiest non-alcoholic drinks to order next time you're at the bar.

Virgin mojito

With its roots stemming back to Havana, Cuba, the mojito is one of the most refreshing cocktails out there (via Taste of Cuba). It's a lip-smacking combination of sweetness, citrus, and herbaceous mint, with a kick from the rum, traditionally served in a tall glass (sometimes referred to as a Collins glass). Featuring just five ingredients: white rum, lime juice, mint leaves, sugar, and club soda, it's a relatively simple drink, but a really great one.  

If you're looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, you'll be thrilled to know you don't have to bid adieu to your favorite drink. Virgin mojitos are easy to make, as long as you've got the ingredients. According to Chelsea's Messy Apron, virgin mojitos are not just a good alternative to the alcohol-infused counterpart, but a slightly less sweet drink option in the summer compared with sugary soda. 

A virgin mojito is made with just a few ingredients: mint, lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda, served over ice. Bartenders love virgin mojitos too, with Eric Laugier, beverage director of Le Coq Rico noting in Town and Country Magazine that you can opt for a sugar-free version with lemon, mint, and club soda. It's also a drink that can be made easily at a bar, with no obscure ingredients.

Ginger and juice

If you love a good Moscow mule, you'll be happy to know there are several mocktail options featuring your favorite ginger beer. It's a very versatile ingredient that pairs well with tons of flavors, which is why you find it in a number of different cocktails. While Moscow mules involve mixing ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, you can substitute the vodka for a variety of fruit juices and end up with something that still packs loads of flavor.

One Redditor said they love a pineapple variation of the Moscow mule, made with seltzer water, ginger beer, pineapple juice, and a squeeze of lime. A bartender on Reddit commented to say they enjoy grapefruit as a mixer of choice: Their drink is grapefruit juice, lime juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup, mixed together and strained over ice before topping with ginger beer.

If you prefer your drinks on the sweeter side, one Redditor suggested mixing ginger beer with POG juice, which is a tropical combination of pineapple, orange, and guava. Although, as another comment on the thread points out, pretty much anything pairs well with ginger beer.

Fizzy fruit juice

Most of the bars you visit should carry a few different fruit juices, as they are commonly used as mixers for a number of cocktails. Whether it's orange juice in a tequila sunrise or cranberry juice for a simple vodka cranberry, a full-service bar should have a few options you can use as a base for a non-alcoholic beverage.

To make things a little more interesting and balanced, order your favorite fruit juice and have the bartender top it off with a little fizz. If you are out to brunch with friends, order a non-alcoholic mimosa, made by blending orange and pineapple juice together and topping off with sparkling water, or club soda (via Simple Joy). One Redditor also noted that they make their virgin mimosas with orange juice and ginger beer. According to Some Good Clean Fun, grapefruit juice also pairs well with a little bit of fizz.

Virgin Bloody Mary

There are few cocktails as eye-catching and as polarizing as the Bloody Mary. Love it or hate it, the Bloody Mary is a quintessential cocktail and brunch staple, and has been for more than 100 years. A proper Bloody Mary is made with quite a few ingredients, including vodka. However, as it's made with so many non-alcoholic ingredients, it's easy to make a virgin variety to enjoy any time of day.

According to A Couple Cooks, the flavors found in a virgin Bloody Mary pack so much of a punch, you probably won't even notice the alcohol is missing. The non-alcoholic variety includes all of the trademark ingredients, like tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco sauce, plus all the toppings and garnishes. While that is a hefty list to hope the bartender has in stock, Bloody Marys are so popular, they should have those all on hand. And if they don't have the ingredients in the bar, they'll probably have them in the kitchen.

Fancy iced tea

You might decide to take a break from Long Island iced tea, but regular iced tea just won't cut it at the bar. If you find yourself in this conundrum, order a fancier version of an iced tea that will elevate the refreshing drink. There are several ways to give your iced tea a boost, according to Art of Tea. Try mixing iced black tea with orange juice, or experiment with other fruit juices, sodas, and seltzers.  

These mocktails are especially handy over the summer months. One Redditor suggested trying iced tea with some muddled fruit like cherries, and another Redditor tried a limeade version, mixing the tea with lime juice and honey. As long as the bar you're heading to has iced tea in stock, you should find success mixing it with a number of other juices and flavors, or letting the bartender come up with something exciting. You'll soon have a mocktail your friends will be ordering, too.

Virgin margarita

One of the most popular cocktails is the classic margarita. Fortunately, there are ways to turn it into a mocktail that don't just involve pouring lime juice over ice. One bartender said their go-to virgin margarita recipe included lime juice and agave, topped with soda and finished off with the salt rim and lime wedge. If you think you'll be missing out on the tequila, take a page out of this Redditor's book: They suggest finding out what the bartender has on hand and constructing a mocktail based on flavors you enjoy. Of course, there are also non-alcoholic spirits available now at many bars which can be great substitutes for alcohol.

Virgin margaritas aren't the only non-alcoholic Mexican drink to enjoy. From agua frescas to jugo verde (green juice), there are loads of options for alcohol-free drinks that wouldn't look out of place in a bar on a night out. 

Sunrise mocktail

A simple cocktail, the tequila sunrise is made with just three ingredients — tequila, grenadine, and orange juice — layered in a way to evoke the image of a sunrise in your glass (via Mindful Mocktail). If you simply remove the tequila, you've got yourself a non-alcoholic version that still gives you that lovely sunrise appearance. Do note however that while most grenadines are alcohol-free, some varieties can contain trace amounts of alcohol, so check with your bartender before ordering. To liven up and diversify the flavors a bit, Mindful Mocktail suggests asking for a splash of seltzer to give your drink a little spritz.

Like things really fruity? This Redditor suggests mixing in pineapple juice as well, which many full-service bars should have in stock. It will be seriously sweet, but if that's how you like your drinks, you'll love this alcohol-free variation on a tequila sunrise.

Virgin wine spritzer

Over the years, non-alcoholic wine has become more readily available at liquor stores and bars, with people looking for the experience of drinking wine, without the alcohol content. It's still a work in progress, but there are some great non-alcoholic wines to try.

According to Hope Family Wines, alcohol-free wine and sparkling grape juice are commonly confused with one another, even though they are different beverages. To create non-alcoholic wine, the wine still goes through the vinification process, becoming alcoholic wine. In the final phases of production, the alcohol is removed, often through vacuum distillation. Keep in mind, however, that many non-alcoholic wines will still have trace amounts of alcohol in them, roughly 0.5% (via Wine Enthusiast).

If you find your local bar carries alcohol-free wine, order it by the glass, or add a seltzer to create a virgin wine spritzer. Either way, you'll still have the experience of enjoying a glass of wine — just without the alcohol.


Kombucha has significantly grown in popularity in recent years. Not only does it taste great with a huge variety of flavors available, kombucha has lots of health benefits, too. Kombucha is a fast-growing drinks trend, with market value expected to balloon to $8.15 billion by 2026, so you'll likely see it popping up on even more menus. Great news if you're looking for more alcohol-free options while you're out. It is worth noting, as kombucha is fermented tea, it may contain trace amounts of alcohol, but for commercial kombucha, this will be less than 0.5%.

You can drink kombucha as it comes, but it can also be used in a variety of mocktails. Bar and Restaurant suggests ordering a kombucha mimosa (swap the champagne for seltzer), or kombucha Moscow mule (double down on the ginger beer in combination with a ginger or plain kombucha). By itself, it can also serve as a solid — and healthier – substitute for beer.

Gin-free Tom Collins

Like margaritas, martinis, or old fashioneds, the Tom Collins is a classic cocktail every bartender should know how to make. This also means the usual ingredients found in a Tom Collins — dry gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda — should be in good supply at the bar. If you're a fan of this classic, simple cocktail, but want it without the gin, there are a few options available.

As one of the dominant flavors in a Tom Collins is the lemon juice, one Redditor thinks of the cocktail as a "boozy lemonade," which can be easily made into a non-boozy lemonade. Using lemon juice or lemonade as a base, ask a bartender to incorporate the simple syrup and club soda for a gin-free version. Another Redditor suggested using a sparkling juniper soda with the lemon juice and simple syrup added. This would make a solid gin-free substitution that still has the classic markings of a Tom Collins. Or, there's the option of keeping the classic ingredients, but opting for a non-alcoholic gin. There are loads out there now, with many bars stocking them.

Virgin piña colada

There are few cocktails that signify a relaxing vacation quite like a piña colada. Traditionally, this tropical drink is made with light rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and lime juice. If you're heading on a weekend getaway, find yourself pulling up to a beachside bar, or just want something fabulous and fruity on a night out, you don't need to worry about missing out on the signature flavors of a piña colada if you are seeking alcohol-free drink options.

Virgin piña coladas are one of the easiest cocktails to transform into a mocktail. They're also quite common, perhaps because they make for a fun, kid-friendly drink option on vacation. Alcohol-free versions usually include the cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and lime juice, and stop there, although some include an additional liquid like a plant-based milk to replace the rum for a smoother consistency (via Body and Soul).

Shirley Temple

Whether you're 7 or 70 years old, a well-crafted Shirley Temple is the drink of choice for many. Inspired by the famed child actress of the 1930s and 1940s by the same name, the Shirley Temple is traditionally made with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda, lime juice, and grenadine. The great thing about this drink is, unlike the other cocktails included in this list, a traditional Shirley Temple is non-alcoholic, so there's no substituting needed. All three of the ingredients are ones bars should carry, so this is one drink you can almost always rely on being able to order if you are heading out and want to stick to alcohol-free beverages. It's sweet, it's pink, and it's a fun alternative to a classic soda.

One bartender shared with Town and Country Magazine that the Shirley Temple was their alcohol-free drink of choice, also suggesting customers can opt for its cousin, the Roy Rodgers, which uses cola instead of the ginger ale/lemon-lime soda.

Club soda and lime

Some people choosing to lessen their alcohol intake cite health reasons, including the calories and sugar in many boozy drinks. For this reason, some of the drinks on this list might not fit the bill. In this situation, there's nothing wrong with sticking to the tried and true basics of club soda and lime. Is it the most exciting non-alcoholic drink out there? Not necessarily, but you know you'll always be able to order one, and keep your calorie and sugar intake in check.

According to Healthline, club soda is different from seltzer, tonic water, and sparkling mineral water in that it contains added minerals, including potassium sulfate and disodium phosphate. Because of the added minerals, club soda usually has more of a flavor than its comparable substitutes. If you just want a bit of a fizz to keep your drinks interesting, order a club soda and lime next time you're at the bar.