I am only a few weeks away from being alcohol-free for a year! The secret to getting through the party times (of which there have been a few!) is to be prepared, to feel included and most importantly that a little effort has been made by the host to make you feel a little more special.

So, whether you choose not to drink alcohol, or you are the nominated driver for the evening, try these low-sugar alternatives to the sodas, and enjoy the festivities!

My personal favourites involve no sugar at all (when I think about it my wines were always crisp and dry and my spirits accompanied with fizzy water usually, not juices or sodas). One of my biggest discoveries during this alcohol-free year has been how little sugar syrup you actually need to sweeten a drink when you are in control of it yourself.

Think of all those, admittedly, yummy sticky cocktails you’ve had over the years and, why not, if you are loading up this Christmas, ask them to put the sugar syrup on the side, you’ll be surprised at how little you will need. Alcohol or no-alcohol.

My non-alcoholic faves

  1. Lemon/Lime, mint and ginger with cucumber and fizzy water. If you find it a little tart then add a small amount of home-made sugar syrup. Serve in a glass you’d normally have your Mohito or Gin & Tonic in! It’s psychological.
  2. Cranberry (I’d be looking out for the no sugar all natural), squeeze real oranges, real pomegranates and top up with fizzy water, decorate with a sprig of rosemary and serve it in a flamboyant cocktail glass!
  3. How about a variation on the classic Mimosa? Grab your best champagne glass and juice white grapefruit and ginger, top it up with fizzy water and decorate with basil this time… again if too tart a little home-made sugar syrup.

And, if you really have someone deserving coming (my children take note!) then this recipe is awesome!

Kristina Sorrano’s take on a Margarita involves red grapefruit, fresh lime juice and a little agave syrup (go steady – you don’t want to lose the tartness).

Before you decant into a balloon glass (Cognac or similar) set a sprig of thyme alight and capture the smoke in the glass with a coaster or plate.

Decant the mocktail into the smoked glass and decorate with another sprig of thyme!

Oh la la!