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    23 Low-Alcohol Drinks To Order Instead Of Hard Liquor

    Delicious drinks without the hangover.

    Hard liquor can be a lotta fun. But it can be good to have a little break sometimes.

    Because hangovers suck.

    If you want to ease off the booze, but don't want to go teetotal for the night, low-ABV drinks are your guy.


    Vermouth, sherry, port and beer cocktails are your new low-ABV BFFs.

    Plus fun fact: Rather than doing Dry January, it's much better to just try to lower your overall alcohol in-take in general. So subbing in a few low-ABV options for your regular drinks can be a healthier *lifestyle* choice than just going cold turkey for a set period of time!

    We asked a bunch of bartenders and industry experts for their best low-ABV drinks to get started on.

    Universal Pictures

    Sophisticated, tasty, exciting drinks, with a low enough ABV to leave you feeling great both during the night and the morning after.

    Here's what they suggested.

    1. An Americano.

    2. A spiked Arnold Palmer.

    tracy benjamin / Via Flickr: shutterbean

    "At Soul Store West, we make a delicious Arnie Palmer spiked with sherry, called the "Long John Daly Cooler". It's half earl grey and half lemonade, with sherry, lemon and maple syrup added – the dry fruit notes and hints of wood in the sherry make it a great alternative to rum. Order it at your local bar, or it's easy to make at home as well."

    – Aaron Chick, bar manager at Soul Store West, London

    3. An alternative G&T.

    4. An Addington.

    5. Campari and soda.

    Jonathan Rieke / Via Flickr: jonathanrieke

    "Pre-bottled Campari and soda is widely available throughout Italy, and when I visited Milan last year I made sure that I was well stocked for my train journeys, walks etc. If you can't find the bottled stuff though, any bartender can knock a glass together, and it's ridiculously simple to make it at home by yourself: just mix together Campari and soda in a tall glass with ice and a slice of orange."

    – Jamie Baxter, director and master distiller at 45 West Distillers, Leicestershire

    6. Ginger ale and vermouth.

    7. A Bellini.

    8. A lemon lime bitters.

    9. A low-ABV Gin Fizz.

    Isabelle Boucher / Via Flickr: polkaroo

    "We make a lower-ABV gin called Minus 33, that's packed full of flavour and lighter too. Substitute it into any gin cocktail to bring down the alcohol content, but if they don’t have it at the bar, just ask for a 37.5% ABV gin instead (not as low-ABV as ours but lower than average).

    "A great one is the classic Gin Fizz: mix a shot of Minus 33, a double of freshly squeezed lemon juice (although the bottled stuff will do) and a single measure of agave or sugar syrup. Shake over ice, strain into a champagne flute, top up with soda and garnish with your choice of fruit. At 0.8 units and 131 calories, it’s low ABV and low cal."

    — Sam Trett, proprietor at Minus 33, Rosyth

    10. A Spritz.

    11. Sangria.

    Jesse Loughborough / Via Flickr: sunface13

    "This is a fantastic little drink with years of history – anybody who’s found themselves on holiday in Spain (or indeed visited a tapas bar anywhere in the world!) will have tasted the inimitable Sangria. To make it yourself, chop apples, oranges, a lemon and a bunch of grapes and add sugar. Allow the sugar to cover said fruit for as long as you'd like (the longer, the more intense the fruit flavour will be). Add orange juice, Spanish brandy, a little orange liqueur, a bottle of spanish red wine and stir, before chilling with as much ice as you can fit in and topping with sparkling water!

    "What makes this drink so beautiful are the limitless opportunities for personalisation: you can choose just how 'low-ABV' it is, simply by adding more or less of the brandy, sparkling water and orange juice. Most bars you visit will have their own version, so be prepared to try something slightly different each time you order it."

    – James Bowker, bartender at The Edgbaston, Birmingham

    12. A Sherry Woo Woo.

    13. A Kalimotxo.

    14. A Michelada.

    15. Elderflower and Prosecco.

    Amber DeGrace / Via Flickr: ink_mama

    "I’ve always been a mimosa fan but recently have been known to have some cloudy (always cloudy!) apple juice and a small splash of elderflower cordial in my Prosecco. It’s the perfect spritz to be drunk all day!”

    – Rachael Frame, Owner at Tiger Hornsby, Newcastle

    16. An Aperol Sour.

    17. Byrrh and bitter lemon.

    Mon Œil / Via Flickr: claveirole

    “A double measure of Byrrh & bitter lemonade is always delicious. The sweet Ribena-like flavour of the Byrrh really travels with the bitter lemon, which keeps it from being cloyingly sweet. Lots of ice is the key to this drink and a big wedge of citrus like lime or grapefruit.”

    – Molly Ross, Bar Manager at Harborne Kitchen, Birmingham

    18. A Sgroppino.

    Bar Swift

    "This is a classic Venetian drink, which has become one of the signature serves in Swift's upstairs bar. A fresh, crisp palette cleanser of a drink, it also has indulgence of a dessert thanks to the sorbet. To make ours, we combine Prosecco with 10 ml of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto*, but this could be any spirit of your choosing (it's often vodka), before adding a scoop of lemon sorbet, and garnishing with lemon zest."

    – Edmund Weil, co-owner at Bar Swift, London

    *Editor's note: This is a divine rose and bergamot Italian spirit, 100% recommend.

    19. Fernet and coke.

    Jesús Dehesa / Via Flickr: jesusdehesa

    "Fernet Branca is an Italian amaro, bitters-type aromatic grape-based spirit which has flavours from herbs, spices and other bits and bobs including aloe and a shed load of saffron! You'll find it at most bars, and mixed with coke it makes for a refreshing drink that's full of character, but won't get you cross-eyed. There's a good reason that this drink is growing in popularity, and is currently the most popular drink in Argentina!

    "FYI, Fernet also goes great with a cheeky double espresso after a big feed."

    – Josh Linfitt, brand ambassador at Scapegrace, London

    20. OJ & Campari.

    21. A Port Flip.

    22. A Sherry Cobbler.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    "With a history going back to the early 19th century, the cobbler consists of a shot and a half of sherry, and 10 ml of lemon, sugar, orange juice and pineapple juice, built over ice and garnished with citrus fruit and berries. It's a perfect low-alcohol drink; refreshing and indulgent, it looks a million dollars, and the dryness of the fino sherry still transmits a pleasant bite to the drink. Whilst I would drink this anytime, it's perfectly suited to the summer when berries are in season."

    – Edmund Weil, co-owner at Bar Swift, London

    23. A Diplomat.

    Got more low alcohol drinks suggestions? Tweet me!