Cheers to health: Turning cocktail favorites into mocktails

Sarah Mahoney

If you’ve seen an uptick in conversations about the “sober revolution” or living a “sober curious” lifestyle, you’re not alone. Research shows that drinking alcohol increases the risk of several types of cancer including breast, colorectal, esophageal, liver and oral cancers. Despite this topic making its way into the news, studies report that 50-70% of the U.S. population is unaware that drinking can cause cancer.

People should have no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, but even those who follow these recommendations have an increased risk of cancer compared to not drinking at all. Avoiding alcohol completely is best when it comes to reducing your cancer risk.

Luckily, rather than feeling like you must take something out of your diet or routine, we’ll show you ways to replace your favorite beverages with alcohol-free options. People often drink alcohol to celebrate, socialize and relax, but mocktails can be equally fun and enjoyable. Here are a few of our favorite recipes, as well as tricks to spice up your mocktails.

Spicy Paloma (Recipe adapted from Fit On)

If you want something spicy and citrusy, here’s how you can make your favorite cocktail and hold the tequila!


  • 1 grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Honey, to taste
  • Grapefruit seltzer
  • Jalapeño
  • Tajín or chili lime seasoning of choice


  1. Rim a glass with lime juice and dip into tajín.
  2. Combine the grapefruit and lime juices.
  3. Add honey and jalapeño slides to a separate glass. Muddle and combine with the juice.
  4. To serve, fill the glass with ice and top with sparkling water.

For expert tips from the Prevent Cancer kitchen, watch this video!

Watermelon Mocktail (Recipe from Keeping the Peas)

Photo by Keeping the Peas

With fresh watermelon, this mocktail gets its sweetness from real fruit instead of relying on juices or sodas with lots of added sugar.


  • 3 cups cubed watermelon seedless
  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes juiced)
  • 2 cups club soda
  • 8 sprigs of mint


  1. Cube watermelon. Remove any seeds.
  2. Slice four thin rounds from your limes. Set aside to be used for garnish. Juice the rest of the two limes.
  3. Combine the cubed watermelon and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Using a sieve, strain the watermelon and lime mixture until you’re left with just the juice. Set aside.
  5. Place 5 mint leaves at the bottom of each glass. Use a muddler to release the flavor of the mint.
  6. Fill cups with ice. Pour watermelon juice halfway full. Top with club soda until full. Gently stir with a spoon.
  7. Garnish each glass with a thin slice of watermelon, a sprig of mint, and reserved lime wedge. Enjoy!

Virgin Bloody Mary (Recipe from The Mindful Mocktail)

Not ready to say goodbye to your beloved brunch drink? You can still enjoy this festive drink without the alcohol if you want to mix things up from the usual coffee or tea.


  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
  • 2-5 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt


  1. Add all ingredients to your choice of glass and stir well.
  2. Add lots of ice and garnish with a combination of celery, pickles, pickled onions, olives and lime.

Here are a few more tips and tricks when it comes to making mocktails:

  • Freeze your glass to get the cold and satisfying experience you might associate with a cocktail.
  • Use a pretty glass to elevate the beverage. It sounds simple, but if you skip the juice glass and opt for a tumbler, it’ll feel more special!
  • Avoid lots of added sugar by paying attention to the sodas and juices you’re using and choosing flavored seltzers instead.
  • Use garnishes like fresh fruit or sprigs of mint to beautify your drink.
  • Go simple by mixing club soda or tonic water with lemon or lime.

READ MORE | Alcohol and cancer risk: What’s the buzz?

You can still find enjoyment in your drinks while putting your health first and skipping the alcohol. Let us know your favorite combinations by tagging us in your photos on social: @preventcancer