I was a bit out of sorts when I first got sober: anxious, stressed, angry, depressed. Everything bothered me, and living in NYC didn’t help the situation. One of my good friends would patiently listen to me complain non-stop about any and everything. Until one day she had just had it with me. I was going on and on about how it was just so unfair that I would never be able to drink again, until she snapped at me and said, “You will be able to drink LOTS of things! Just. Not. Alcohol! Have some water. People would kill for some!” Addiction is far more complex than swapping out water for alcohol. But, for me, at least, it is helpful to have friends who won’t, as they say in AA, “co-sign my bullshit” and provide support in redirecting my obsessive thoughts.
Five years later, I see the world through a whole new set of eyes. There are so many things that are overwhelmingly incredible to experience without being numb. Even the act of slowly sipping a mocktail made from Earth’s ingredients — ingredients that I am so lucky to even have access to — is something that I do not take for granted. With summer here, I do not have to forgo the act of social drinking. But, I can forgo the hangover, the shame, the guilt, and the regret. Here are 20 summer mocktail recipes to try now, sober or not. Sit with them. Taste the combination of ingredients without the mask of alcohol, and be grateful for every berry, herb, flower, vegetable. And, if you don’t have the patience to make these recipes at home, grab your friends and go out for mocktail hour. (The New York Times and Refinery29 have great roundups of places to grab the best mocktails in New York and San Francisco, respectively. But, you can always just go to your local speakeasy or hotel bar and challenge the mixologist/bartender to make you something creative sans the alcohol.)