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Everywhere you look, you can find recipes for new drinks or trending cocktails to try on a night out. But there is a rising trend that is slowly making waves in city social scenes – sobriety. While it is tempting to think of not drinking as merely another holistic fad, more and more twenty-somethings are cutting back or opting out of drinking altogether for various reasons.

In a time when much of the general population suffers from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, cutting back on drinking can make a major positive difference in the psyche. Opting out of alcohol improves cognitive clarity, can help stabilize mood, and significantly reduces the risk of developing or worsening struggles with mental health. Alcohol consumption can also have a negative impact on personal relationships by encouraging aggression, flippant speech, and even social isolation. Many people who choose not to drink do so to improve the stability of their social connections and overall relationship quality.

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As most people know, there are a number of serious physical health concerns associated with heavy drinking. However, many don’t realize how numerous they are. The primary dangers of excessive drinking are cancer, cardiovascular disease, and declining liver function. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to several types of cancer, including breast, liver, and colon cancers. Heavy drinking increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The liver, which is responsible for processing and detoxifying alcohol in the body, can be damaged severely by too much alcohol consumption. Those who opt out can improve their liver function and reduce the risk of liver disease down the line. They are also more likely to maintain healthy blood pressure, promote minimal inflammation, and improve their heart health. 

If you are someone who regularly has an upset stomach or feels like you’re always sick, it could be due to drinking too often or too much. Alcohol can irritate the digestive tract, potentially resulting in acid reflux, gastritis, or even ulcers. Sobriety improves digestive health and reduces the risk of these conditions, as well. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption weakens the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and diseases. Not drinking is a surefire way to increase your chances of feeling your best on a day-to-day basis, as it significantly promotes a healthier immune system.

While all these risks may seem overwhelming and may even have you questioning whether you even want to go out anymore, staying in or ordering a glass of water are not your only options. In fact, there are many alcohol-free drinks that are becoming increasingly popular among those who love to go out. Here are 10 tried-and-true alternatives to alcoholic drinks.

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Alcohol-free beer

Alcohol-free beer is very popular among those who don’t drink and still like to feel a part of the party. Many big companies like Guinness and Heineken make great alcohol-free beer, and there are many smaller companies who make many artisan-inspired drinks, too.

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Alcohol-free wine

Alcohol-free wine, much like alcohol-free beer, is great for people who enjoy the taste of wine, but who are trying to avoid drinking alcohol. In this case, wine night doesn’t have to leave you feeling sour in the morning.

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Got a favorite alcoholic drink? Thanks to the mocktail, you don’t have to entirely give it up. Mojitos, mules, daiquiris, you name it – a mocktail is just a cocktail without the liquor. When you’re ordering, just add “virgin” before the name of your drink of choice.

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Shirley Temple

The Shirley Temple is an easy one, as the Dirty Shirley was named the Drink of the Summer by the New York Times in 2022. This sweet treat will remind you of your childhood and you won’t those annoying questions about why you aren’t drinking – all you need is some ginger ale and a splash of grenadine.

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Seltzer with lime

A seltzer with lime is one of the most popular cocktails around when it’s mixed with vodka or tequila, but without the liquor, it’s a refreshing mocktail for all the seltzer lovers out there. The more limes, the better.

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Kombucha is one of the most-recommended alternatives to alcoholic drinks because of its strong flavor and fermented potency. It’s also full of antioxidants and probiotics that boost the health of your intestinal cells and immune function.

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Energy drinks

Energy drinks, while not the healthiest option on this list, are a great way to ensure your energy will match that of those around you who are drinking. Most bars and restaurants sell energy drinks in some form, and having one at the pre-game will also have you feeling ready to go by the time you make it to the final destination.

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Flavored sparkling water

Flavored sparking water is another great – and popular – alternative to alcoholic beverages. IZZE sparkling drinks are a great example of this, as they have a lot of fresh-tasting, natural flavors, but there are so many brands to choose from that you can make it a project just to try them all.

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Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is often joked about as a drink for women who are experiencing their time of the month, as it’s good for the urinary tract, but adding a splash of seltzer or lime makes it a perfectly tasty mocktail.

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Pineapple juice

Pineapple juice is a great non-alcoholic beverage, especially because, like cranberry juice, it can be helpful downstairs. Combine it with some seltzer or cream of coconut if you’re feeling like a piña colada.

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These alternatives are generally lower in sugar and calories compared to alcoholic beverages, making them a healthier option even without considering their lack of alcohol. If you’re planning a long night out with your friends, turning to these drinks can actually ensure you make it to the end of the night. Beyond that, it’ll be easier to get out of bed the next day, too. While you may be worried about missing out on the fun, non-alcoholic drinks can be just as enjoyable and satisfying as their alcoholic counterparts. Mocktails are as creative as you make them, and many are made to look and taste just like alcoholic cocktails without the negative health consequences. So, if you’re thinking about removing alcohol from your life, this may be the sign to do it.

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