5 tips for enjoying an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration

With planning and flexibility, you can savour the magic of the holidays without needing alcohol. Picture: Pexels/Denys Gromov

With planning and flexibility, you can savour the magic of the holidays without needing alcohol. Picture: Pexels/Denys Gromov

Published Dec 29, 2023


The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and togetherness, but it can also be a challenging period for those recovering from addiction. For many, the holidays bring challenges, from navigating strained relationships to resisting the temptation to relapse.

The good news is that with planning and flexibility, you can savour the magic of the holidays without needing alcohol.

Ten tips to help you enjoy the holidays alcohol-free while maintaining your commitment to sobriety:

Decide what drinks you will have in advance

While you are certain that you are not going to be drinking on the night in question, there will be a lot of pressure to drink. Help cut through some of the stress by having a clear idea of what you will be drinking.

Whether it is water, soda or fruit juice, having a plan will ensure that you remain sober on New Year’s Eve.

It is helpful to have a variety of non-alcoholic alternatives in mind, as you may be celebrating for several hours. If all else fails, be sure to have a bottle of water handy to ensure that you stay hydrated.

Host alcohol-free gatherings

Hosting a gathering yourself is one of the best ways to have control over your environment. If you have the time and space to host the celebrations, consider hosting alcohol-free events.

This can even be an alternative place for you and your loved ones to gather if you have decided the traditional celebrations will be too triggering for you.

Provide delicious non-alcoholic drinks and engage your guests in activities that do not revolve around alcohol.

Have a dinner party

While going out to a New Year’s Eve party is the traditional thing to do, why not avoid all the crowds and have your own New Year’s Eve dinner party?

If you are a good cook, figure out what you want to make and impress your friends and family members with your skills.

If you can barely boil water, grab some pre-made appetisers and store-bought meals, or order ahead from your favourite restaurant.

As long as there is free food, no one is going to care. You could also make it a potluck. With everyone contributing a dish, it takes some of the pressure off you. Just make sure everyone knows not to bring alcohol.

Bake New Year’s Eve cupcakes

Let us not limit this just to cupcakes, feel free to bake anything your heart desires. Maybe there is a recipe you have wanted to try or a family favourite, but do not forget to make them NYE-themed by sticking a sparkler on top.

Have a cooking competition

Create a little competition with a cook-off. Include your closest friends and family, select a cooking category, and let the food wars begin. BBQ, pasta, burgers, pizza – the possibilities are endless. Include a prize for the tastiest dish, and name a champion.

Two mocktails to consider for your menu:

The Ice-O-Lation. Picture: Supplied.

The Ice-O-Lation


1 cup fresh orange juice

1 tsp lemon or lime juice

1 cup Sprite Club soda or ginger ale

Sugar (optional)

Mint leaves

Ice cubes

Salt to taste


Mix the orange juice with lime or lemon juice in a jug. Fill two glasses with ice cubes. Pour the juice mixture into the glass till half full. Add the Sprite soda or ginger ale and a pinch of salt.

Lightly crush the mint leaves and add to the glass. Pop in an eco-friendly straw and garnish with a slice of orange.

Rock shandy Picture: Supplied.

Rock shandy


½ can soda water

½ can lemonade

4-6 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Garnish: fresh lemon or lime wedge


Build ingredients over ice, dash with Angostura aromatic bitters, stir, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.