Four AF drinks for you to try this Christmas

The following article might trigger some urges to drink for some people. If this is you, we encourage you to skip this blog.

It’s the beginning of the festive season and for those who want to stay alcohol free, attending parties can be a challenge. One of the tips we shared on our previous blog – How to not drink alcohol over the Christmas season – is to make & bring your own party drinks. 

One of the benefits of having a healthy relationship with alcohol is the return of our creativity, and making alcoholic-free drinks would be a good use of those creative juices. It’s time for us to use this in the kitchen.

The trick lies in the garnishes and presentation of the drinks. At the end of the day, even if you are drinking soda and lime it would still feel special with a couple of beautiful garnishes in your glass. Here are some AF drink recipes – tried and tasted by the odd bunch at HSM!  


Apple Cider Slushie

(Makes 4 drinks – serve cold or warm)

This drink is flexible as you can also serve it warm – for those having northern hemisphere Christmas.

• 4-6 Granny Smith apples
• 1 lemon
• 7 cardamom pods 
• 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (ground) 
• ½ cup of raw sugar
• ¼ cup of cloudy apple cordial
• Mint leaves (for a cold serve) or cinnamon scroll stick (for a warm serve)

• Dice Granny Smith apples (removing the cores and stalks). Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into the diced apple. Add apples into a saucepan and heat up using medium heat.
• Add cardamom pods, cinnamon ground and simmer until apples turn into pulp.
• Slowly add sugar, lemon juice and cloudy apple juice – continue to taste and adjust for preferred sweetness.
• Take off heat. Cool mixture to room temperature & remove cardamom pods ( you can reserve it and add it to your next chai tea treat!) 
• Pour cold mixture into aluminium baking tray – freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight.
• Scrape slushie with fork and scoop into serving glass. 
Garnish with mint leaves.

For warm apple cider, skip the freezing method and directly pour the drinks into your christmas mugs! Garnish with cinnamon scroll for added flavour.


Watermelon Mint 

(makes 2 drinks)

You will need a blender for this recipe. If you don’t have one, finely chop the watermelon and subsequently mash with fork.

• 1 cup of watermelon (cubed)
• 1 lime – juice half and thinly slice the other half for garnish 
• ¼ cup of ice cube
• ½ cup of mint leaves
• ¼ cup of sparkling apple cider
• Sugar syrup

• Blend watermelon and lime juice.
• Pour mixture into each glass.
• Layer each glass with ice cubes, lime slices and mint leaves. 
• Top with sparkling apple cider (taste and add sugar syrup if necessary)



Botanical bitter tonic

(makes 2 drinks)

Make your own Botanical Bitter with Chamomile tea bag and spice mix! It takes a few hours to brew so plan ahead.

• 1 Chamomile tea bag
Spice mix (5-7 Cardamom pods – bruise; 5 cloves; 1 star anise; 2 teaspoon of lemon zest – roughly from one small lemon and a sprig of rosemary – remove leaves)
• ½ cucumber – diced finely
½ cup of fresh mint leaves – keep some for garnish
• Tonic water
• Few pomegranate seeds for garnish

• Brew 1 chamomile tea bag with ½ cup of hot water (80°C is recommended), removed after 3 mins.
• Add tea into a jug with spice mix, diced cucumber and fresh mint leaves, then top up with ½ cup cold water and keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or overnight)
• Pour 50ml mixture into serving glass, top up with tonic water and ice.
• Garnish with few pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.



Citrus and Bitter

(make 1 drink)

• A strip of citrus peel (Navel orange or lemon)
• 1 large ice cube
• 50ml Botanical Bitter (see recipe above)
• ½ teaspoon of caramel syrup (or just sugar syrup)
• A sprig of rosemary 

• Gently bash the citrus peel inside the glass with wooden spoon to release the oil. 
• Rub it around the rim of the serving glass.
• Leave the peel in the glass.
• Add ice cube, pour Botanical Bitter and sugar syrup.
• Stir mixture with sprig of rosemary (you can use this as a garnish too!)

Do you have more recipes that you want to share? Comment below and share your favourite AF drink recipe!


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  • The Heineken no alchohol beers taste just like beer with no hangover. Seed lip with tonic is a great drink too. Has anyone found a non alchohol wine that tastes ok?

    By Wendy Carter
    December 5, 2019
    • Edenvale Wines – Low alcohol wine (0.5%)

      By Mitch
      December 18, 2020
    • I have bought Edenvale wines which are nice. They come in red, white and bubbly and can bought from Dan Murphy, IGA stores, Woolworths and Coles. Usually under $10 for a 750ml bottle.
      Worth a try.

      By Lynne
      November 25, 2021
    • + and – Plus and Minus do a good red wine and sparkling white wine. Browns Brothers do a Prosecco that tastes like the real thing. Giesen do a good range too.

      By Irene
      May 28, 2022
    • My husband and I enjoy Frei’s Red Blend wine and their Moscato–their Rose is lighter, not as sweet as the Moscato. We use them on nights we don’t drink alcohol.

      I’m relatively new to MM and the best advice I’ve gotten online is to journal your drinking. I started last year, stopped, and restarted in 2024 and so glad I did.

      The only beer I like is Porter and Guiness Stout–but I rarely drink beer. It’s wine or a Negroni or Rye Manhattan cocktail. I realize I’m applying several years after you wrote!

      By Belle Starr
      February 3, 2024
  • My go-to AF drink is Italian sparkling mineral water with a dash of one of the Bitford cordials. They have a fantastic range of cordials – ginger beer, lime, lemon etc. With lots of ice, it’s refreshing and quick to prepare.

    By Jen Compton
    December 5, 2019
  • Kombucha with blended berries

    By Megan Brittain
    December 5, 2019
  • Here are some quick ones: The Asahi 0% beer is really nice and tastes like full strength beer. The Bickfords cordials are delicious with sparking mineral water or soda water, I particularly like the Elderflower one with a bit of mint and you can pretend it’s a cocktail! Kombucha with ice, mint and cuecumber is also a nice savoury one.

    By Margaret
    December 5, 2019
  • For those who loved a sparkling Shiraz over the summer holiday season :: Ashbolt Farm In Tassie make a sparkling black elderberry which poured over ice makes a great replacement. No added sugar version available too. I just received 4 dozen (250ml) bottles :: shipped to the Sunshine Coast. I tried the sparkling Elderflower (white) but too sweet for my taste. Happy healthy holidays to all

    By Leigh
    December 5, 2019
  • For those of us who really do like the taste of beer (instead of drinking it simply because of the alcohol), I really like Kaliber non-alcoholic beer. It’s made by Guinness and it’s got the full-bodied taste of a craft beer. I like Buckler as well, which I think is also made by Guinness. I’m not a big Heineken fan but their non-alcoholic beer does taste a lot like a regular Heineken.

    By Lee
    December 5, 2019
  • Have just been told about Heineken beer and yes it taste like beer.Wonderful news. I also drink Maggie Beer Sparking Chardonnay White and Red. It can be a bit sweet I add ice..

    By Marsha
    December 5, 2019
  • Dan Murphy’s Bitburger AF beers taste just like the real thing. I love the bitterness…tastes like a grown up’s drink instead of all the sugary options.

    By Susan
    December 5, 2019
  • Schlossgold AF Austrian 500ml beer is excellent and def worth a try from Dan Murphy’s also I’ve been slurping a Chia Lemonade , very refreshing and gets me thru the 5pm crave for something alcoholic

    By Ali Sequeira
    December 6, 2019
  • For alcohol removed wine I drink Edenvale range from the supermarket. For beer I drink Krumbacher – non alcoholic. As good as the alcoholic variety.

    January 24, 2020
  • Thanks for the G&T recipe. Can’t wait to try it! My go-to’s are: O’Doul’s Amber no-beer, and Loxton makes a great Semillon Chardonnay and a lovely Champagne too! I don’t feel like I’m missing out all. Not missing the hangovers either 🙂

    By Dr. Jennifer Hammersmark
    December 11, 2020
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