In This Recipe Book, Alcohol-Free Drinks Are Healthy Cocktail Alternatives

A University of Delaware graduate serves up mocktails perfect for expectant mothers—and anyone else interested in healthy options.

The Smashing Sage Spritzer includes blackberries and sage leaves./Courtesy of Kerry Criss and Diana Licalzi

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Adult beverages—on the rocks, neat or frozen—can be just as delectable served sans alcohol.

That’s what dietitians Kerry Criss and Diana Licalzi were aiming for when Blue Star Press approached them about creating a mocktail recipe book for expectant mothers. As it turns out Drinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-to-Be, released in September, isn’t just for pregnant women.

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“Really, these drinks are appropriate for anybody,” says Criss.

The cover of “Drinking For Two.”/Photo by Meg Ryan.

The Grapefruit and Rosemary Fizz includes lime juice and ginger./
Courtesy of Kerry Criss and Diana Licalzi

Criss is a University of Delaware neuroscience graduate, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2012 and her master’s in 2013.

She became friends and partners on class projects with Licalzi while attending Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. After Licalzi was approached about the mocktail recipe book, she reached out to Criss, who had worked in UD’s alcohol research lab.

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“We thought we could come up with something great,” says Criss.

The Frozen Cos-no-politan includes cranberries and orange juice./
Courtesy of Kerry Criss and Diana Licalzi 

The pair brainstormed popular drinks to determine whether they could transform them into nutritious mocktails. The primary goal was to rid the cocktails of alcohol, of course, as well as extra calories and sugar, replacing those with healthier ingredients.

“We would look at typical recipes and try to figure out, based on our experiences in food science and from our personal experiences with cooking, how we could substitute certain ingredients and flavors to make the drinks not only feel and taste like an alcoholic drink but also have a nutritional value,” Criss explains.

The testing process was rigorous, and, in the end, the duo devised 48 recipes splashed across six chapters separated by beverage type: bubbly, flat, frozen, mock-tini, warm and batch drinks. Examples include a Grapefruit and Rosemary Fizz, Smashing Sage Spritzer, Sour Mock-a-Rita and Frozen Cos-No-Politan.

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Criss and Licalzi replaced the added sugars with natural sweeteners like fruit juice and agave nectar. Some mocktails even have hidden vegetables for fiber intake.

“Anyone can benefit from decreasing their intake of added sugar (and) increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables,” says Criss.

Each recipe also offers health benefits, and some serve as remedies for common health ailments expectant mothers (and others) experience, like nausea, digestive upset and dehydration. The mock-tini section is all about indulging cravings with plenty of chocolate.

Criss says she feels alcohol culture is on the rise with terms like “mommy juice” and popular television shows promoting drinking, but she also sees more people becoming sober-curious, meaning they want to cut out alcohol. With recipe books like this one, Criss hopes more people opt for healthier mocktails.

“People are looking for alternatives that aren’t just seltzer,” she adds.

Drinking for Two: Nutritious Mocktails for the Mom-to-Be, $13.49, at Amazon, Target, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.

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