Skipping that festive booze? You have more options than soda and juice

WASHINGTON — The holidays bring parties, and those parties bring booze in a big way.

But too many can’t imbibe when they indulge in holiday festivities. They might have to drive, for instance, or they have dietary issues, or they have to go into work a little sooner than they’d like.

“There are a whole lot of reasons why people are not drinking, including they just don’t want the calories,” said Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog.

No, not everyone can partake. The good news is, they still have options: Non-alcoholic drinks these days don’t necessarily end at soda and juice.

“There are a surprising number of non-alcoholic options,” said Squires, and that begins with beer. Non-alcoholic brews’ flavor, she said, can fool even the most discriminating beer nerd. Brands to look for include Weihenstephan, as well as Clausthaler, St. Pauli and, of course, O’Doul’s. (Check labels carefully if you really can’t have alcohol. Many of these, she said, still “contain a little bit.”)

Wine drinkers have options, too, she said. Carl Jung Wines, for example, have less than one-fourth of 1 percent of alcohol. That translates to about a third of the calories in regular wines — 4 ounces only contain 28 calories.

“That’s basically having a couple of sticks of gum,” she told WTOP’s Debra Feinstein and Mark Lewis.

Carl Jung’s varieties include a Riesling, a chardonnay, a Merlot and “a sparkling wine that has a little peach in it, so that you could use it in place of Champagne,” Squires said.

Another option that might appeal to gin drinkers is Seedlip, a concoction made from allspice, grapefruit, lemon peel, cardamom, American oak and cascarilla bark. It’s not cheap ($45 a bottle), but it has its fans, she said, and can be mixed with tonic water or some other mixer.

“It’s a good alternative if you want to serve guests something that would be kind of festive and a little bit different and give an option that’s non-alcoholic,” Squires said.

Other non-alcoholic options for the holidays: virgin egg nog, aqua fresca, mulled cider and holiday teas or coffees.

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