The Best Low-Alcohol Drinks for Moms and Dads on Parenting Duty
Looking to imbibe but also have some pint-sized whirlwinds to be responsible for? These easy-to-make cocktails, ready-to-buy beers, and tasty spritzers have low alcohol percentages so you can get a light buzz while also keeping your parental wits about you.
Whether you're enjoying a virtual happy hour with your friends or celebrating the holidays at home, there are plenty of excuses for pouring a glass of wine or mixing up a fun cocktail. But if you want to keep any boozy buzz from throwing you off your parenting game, you might want to opt for something low-alcohol.
Technically, there is no standardized definition of "low alcohol" in the U.S. when it comes to adult beverages. Instead, what's considered low will change based on the type of drink you're reaching for or mixing up. A quick and dirty guide:
Low-Alcohol Wine: Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) defines "low-alcohol wines" at 11 percent ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and under.
Low-Alcohol Beer: A common definition of low alcohol is anything less than 4 percent ABV, while no alcohol is anything less than 0.5 percent ABV.
Low-Alcohol Liquor: Spirits like gin, tequila, and whiskey usually have about 40 to 50 percent ABV, while others in the 15 to 35 percent range—like vermouth, apertifs like Aperol and Campari, sherry, and port—are considered low ABV.
With those ABV percentages in mind, we rounded up a few drink options that rank low on the alcohol scale, all of which are easy to mix up—or just grab and pour.
1. Americano Spritz
Dan Oskey, a bartender and founder and chief operator of Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis recommends the following recipe for the Americano Spritz, pictured above. It includes a just-right amount of the company's wine-based liqueur, Americano, which can be used in any recipe that calls for dry vermouth.
- 2 oz. Tattersall Americano (18 percent ABV)
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 3 basil leaves
- 2 strawberries
- 2 oz. soda water
Method: In a cocktail shaker muddle strawberries, basil, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Add Tattersall Americano and shake with ice. Strain into a highball filled with ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with basil leaf.
2. Schofferhofer Grapefruit
If grapefruit and mimosas are your jam, you might want to reach for a six-pack of Schofferhofer Grapefruit, which is 50 percent Hefeweizen beer and 50 percent grapefruit juice. It's only 2.5 percent ABV. Check out Schofferhofer's locator map to find where it is sold near you.
If you're a fan of hard seltzers and spritzers, check out Sparkling Ice's latest launch: a full-flavored spiked seltzer that comes in Cherry Lime Cooler, Lemonade Refresher, Ruby Fizz, and Strawberry Citrus Smash. The drinks have 4 percent ABV, zero sugar, and only 80 calories. Head to their site to see where it's sold by you.
4. Cranberry Blood Orange Mimosa
If you're looking for a sparkly, brunch-friendly sip, Brittnay Perlo, master cidermaker and quality manager at Austin Eastciders, recommends this simple, sunny cocktail recipe, which calls for hard cranberry cider (5 percent ABV) and champagne, but you can swap in a low-alcohol option like Italian Moscato d’Asti, which is considered a low-alcohol wine at 5.5 percent ABV. Perlo calls it "a twist on your normal mimosa that will really get you into that fall feeling."
- 1 part low-alcohol sparkling wine
- 1 part cranberry cider
- Fresh squeezed blood orange juice (1 orange)
- Blood orange slice for garnish
Method: Combine champagne, cranberry cider, and fresh blood orange juice. Garnish with blood orange.
Austin Eastsiders is currently available in Texas, Oklahoma and some of the Northeast. Check out their locator to find their cider at a retailer near you.
5. German Riesling Wine
Caroline Conner, an expert wine teacher at online wine school Wine Dine Caroline, recommends white wine lovers take varietal into consideration when looking for a lower-alcohol choice. "Think about climate," says Conner. "Cooler climate wines tend to have lower alcohol, it’s not as hot so the grapes don’t get as ripe." For that reason, she recommends reaching for a German Riesling.
A couple to consider: Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler 2018 Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spätlese, which is 9.5 percent ABV, or Schloss Lieser 2018 Thomas Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese Grosse Lage Riesling, which is 7.5 percent ABV.
Created by former Momofuku sommelier Jordan Salcito, who is also a mom to two young boys, RAMONA spritzes were created for parents who want to enjoy low ABV option. For instance, their Dry Grapefruit Spritz is 5 percent. The brand's other flavors come in at 7 percent, and the brand's rose is 12 percent. And if you needed even more proof RAMONA rocks, comedian and celeb mom Jenny Mollen is an investor and advisor.
7. Lou's Libations
Aspiring mixologists will be wild for Lou's Libations, a line of inventive jarred cocktail mixes packed with dried fruits, organic herbs, and infused sugar that make it easy to create your own low-alcohol drink.
"Just add your alcohol of choice to the jar, and let it sit in your fridge for three days," explains founder Dana Mitchell. "Then add in extra mixer such as club soda or tonic to make it a low-alcohol cocktail. Shake, strain, and enjoy your tasty libation." To start, Mitchell suggests doing six ounces of mixer to six ounces of alcohol.
The mixes are available online, ship nationwide in the U.S. and in Canada, and retail for $25 each. Each mix contains enough for 8-10 cocktails.
8. Pulp Culture
If you're a kombucha fan or just wouldn't mind squeezing a bit of wellness into your party time, Pulp Culture "better for you" booze, which is just 4.9 percent ABV, might be for you. Made with fermented cold pressed juice, Pulp Culture boasts probiotics and even added adaptogenic mushrooms (reishi and lion's mane). For instance, their Relax blend features blueberry, lemon, lavender, valerian root, and reishi.
A four-pack is $14.99 and can be purchased online.
9. Miami Cocktail Company Organic Spritzes
At only 4.2 percent, ABV Miami Cocktail Company’s line up of organic spritzes are a no-brainer for a quick, low-alcohol option. No mixing or glassware needed—just pop open and enjoy. Even Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan. Flavors include:
- Mango & Peach Rosé Bellini Spritz
- Sunrise Rosé Sangria Spritz
- Mandarin Rosé Mimosa Spritz
- Grapefruit & Hibiscus Paloma Spritz
- Elderflower & Ginger Margarita Spritz