13 Great Low Alcoholic Cocktails for Day Drinking

Joe's Famous Michelada
Joe's Famous Michelada.

Every day drinker knows the challenge of sipping when the sun's out. Enjoy a couple Bloody Marys at 11 a.m., and it's tough to take the rest of the day seriously. Truly, a boozy beverage is the bane of brunch. The key to successful day drinking, then, is to go low and slow. Choose lower-alcoholic drinks (low ABV cocktails) and set a nice, plodding pace. These cocktails skip the strong spirits, instead starting with a lower alcohol base, such as wine or beer, extended with non alcoholic ingredients that make the drink last longer. While they were practically designed for day drinking, low-alcohol drinks are equally recommended for cocktail parties or really any time when lucidity and dexterity are prized. They'll keep you on your feet for the long haul. And, of course, low alcohol cocktails are also great options if you're simply looking to cut back on your alcohol consumption without abstaining entirely.

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Photo by Meredith.

A low-alcohol brunch classic, pomegranate mixes it up with sparkling wine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds or raspberries. "Beautiful color & tastes delish," says SweetBasil. "This was my drink of choice on New Years Eve."

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Chef John's "Sunset" Michelada

two glasses and a pitcher of Chef John's Sunset Michelada
Allrecipes Magazine

Chef John makes his own fresh vegetable juice for his micheladas, with sweet cherry tomatoes, celery, and red bell pepper. "This spicy, savory, tangy, amazingly refreshing beer-based cocktail is considered one of the best hot-weather, adult beverages ever," says Chef John. "I've heard it described as 'Bloody Mary meets Mimosa,' which makes me never want to go to brunch again, but it's also kind of accurate. You can use tomato juice or make your own using fresh cherry tomatoes."

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Sherry Cobbler

Here's a sherry-based cocktail that's served with fresh berries and slices of orange. "This was pretty darn tasty," says lutzflcat, "and I totally can see this being a thirst quencher on a scorching-hot summer day. Hey, it's in the low 80's today, so it was pretty refreshing to me even though it's early January. A nice treat after a day of yard work."

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beer and lemonade cocktail in a tall glass
Arizona Desert Flower

This one's totally rad. "A 50/50 or 60/40 mixture of beer and lemonade that's a delicious addition to the menu of your summer barbeque or party," says Josh R. "Radler means 'cyclist' in German, and this refreshing drink was invented in Germany in the late 19th or early 20th century as a way to refresh bicyclists worn out by the summer heat."

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Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz
Photo by Buckwheat Queen. Buckwheat Queen

Aperol is an Italian aperitif made from ingredients like rhubarb, cinchona that's similar in taste but lower in alcohol and a little less bitter than Campari. "I discovered this gloriously refreshing drink in Berlin on a tour of Eastern European cities," says Helen. "Brings back wonderful memories. Serve in a wine glass. Pretty and tasty!"

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Pimm's Cup Cocktail

Pimm's Cup Cocktail
Buckwheat Queen

Here's the unofficial day-drinker's drink of choice for watching Wimbledon. Pimm's No. 1 liqueur is the key to this refreshing cocktail. "I had this exact drink recipe when I went down to New Orleans in the summer," says hazelkate. "Apparently, it's quite a popular (and better!) alternative to the traditional summer mojito. The cucumber is a must! The lemon, in my opinion, can be substituted for lime or orange. Delicious!"

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Original Champagne Cocktail

2466122 champagne cocktail by AR magazine
The Original Champagne Cocktail is so easy to make. Photo by Allrecipes Magazine.

Not only is this a terrific low-alcohol cocktail, but it's also a smart trick for making less expensive bubbly taste great. Just soak a cube of sugar with a few dashes of Angostura bitters, then pour in sparkling wine.

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Beermosa in a glass with orange garnish

It is what you think it is — a mimosa with beer replacing the champagne. "This is a very nice drink and I will make it again," says pretzeld. "I'm not usually a beer drinker but this was very refreshing. I also tried it with grapefruit beer and I enjoyed that too." Pro Tip: To make any beer cocktail less boozy, choose a low ABV beer.

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Kir Royale Cocktail

Kir Royale
Photo by Getty Images. Getty Images

This elegant low-alcohol Champagne cocktail combines Creme de cassis and sparkling wine. "Crème de cassis, the sweet syrupy liqueur made from blackcurrants, is a delicious and wonderful way to fancy up an ordinary glass of champagne," says Linda.

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Americano Cocktail

a tall colorful glass of Campari and sweet vermouth over ice with an orange twist
Photo by lutzflcat. lutzflcat

American tourists in Italy popularized this refreshing Campari and sweet vermouth cocktail. It's basically a Negroni minus the kick of gin. Nice for afternoon sips at a cafe in Rome. Or even a patio in Topeka.

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A brunch must. "Enjoy this light delight on Mother's Day, Christmas, or any special occasion," advises Jodi Hamrick.

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Apricot Mango Mimosas for a Crowd

Apricot Mango Mimosas for a Crowd
Photo by thedailygourmet.

Here's a tropical twist on the classic mimosa featuring apricot mango juice. Serve in chilled Champagne flutes.

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Joe's Famous Michelada

Joe's Famous Michelada
Joe's Famous Michelada.

This refreshing version of the classic Mexican beer-based cocktail features tomato and clam juice cocktail, lemon juice, and a dash of hot sauce. It will really cool you down on a hot day. "A nice cold michelada is great on summer days out by the BBQ grill!" says PoodleMom.

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More Cocktail Recipes and Advice

grapefruit beer cocktail in a beer glass
Leslie Kelly
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