11 Low-Alcohol Cocktails Every Party Host Needs to Know

Keep the festive spirit going with these easy-to-drink cocktail recipes.

Photo: Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

There's no time of year more packed with celebrations, and the festive, delightful cocktails that tend to come with them. Whether you've got fifteen or five parties to make it to, we know a thing or two about hitting pause on the Martini madness (no matter how good they are), or swapping out a Negroni for a Dirty Shirley. Low-ABV doesn't mean low-in-flavor, and we rounded up eleven of our favorite cocktails that make use of lighter ingredients like sherry, Campari, Aperol, and vermouth to prove it. Cin-cin!

01 of 11

Stop the Hourglass

Stop the Hourglass Frozen Cocktails
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Amontillado sherry, with notes of vanilla and toasted hazelnuts, adds a sweet, pleasant complexity to this frozen, party-ready sipper. The mint tea ice cubes are especially good for taming the heat of the alcohol and ginger.

02 of 11

The Spaghett

Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

A light beer spiked with Campari is the perfect lower-ABV Negroni alternative we can't get enough of.

03 of 11

Sparkling Rosé Cocktail

Rose cocktail
Caitlin Bensel

Bright and bubbly, this simple cocktail is as drinkable as it is endlessly riffable. For added sweetness, stir in an extra spoonful of jam, or try grilling your peaches for a hint of smoke that accentuates the tequila.

04 of 11

Dirty Shirley

Dirty Shirley
Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

The classic cocktail for children gets an adult upgrade with a shot of vodka; a maraschino cherry on top keeps things whimsical.

05 of 11

Ranch Rosé

Ranch Rose Cocktail
Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Chandra Ram

Ranch Water has become noticeably more popular in recent years as people seek out cocktails that are low in alcohol. It's light and citrusy, making it especially drinkable towards the end of the night.

06 of 11

Fino-Nonino Collins

© Carey Jones

Sherry is, without a doubt, one of our favorite underdog cocktail ingredients. It adds a layer of savory complexity without upping the alcohol content too much.

07 of 11

Campari Spritz

Campari Spritz
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

We swap out the slightly sweeter Aperol with Campari, and mix in a little blood orange juice, prosecco, and grapefruit flavored sparkling water for an altogether refreshing cocktail.

08 of 11

Beet-and-Lemon Shrub

Beet and Lemon Shrub Recipe
The Ingalls

With a relatively low amount of alcohol, this refreshing and tart cocktail is perfect for holiday brunch. Fresh beet juice is key here — purchase it from a juice bar, or press it at home; shelf-stable bottled juices won't have the same flavor or color.

09 of 11


Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

Refreshing and surprisingly simple, this classic Spanish cocktail is perfect for lazy afternoons.

10 of 11


© Lucas Allen

This cocktail is a lighter take on the Salty Dog, the time-honored mix of vodka and grapefruit juice in a salt-rimmed glass. It's made with two kinds of aperitif (drinks with bitter flavors designed to spark the appetite): quinine-infused Bonal and citrusy, bittersweet Cocchi Americano.

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Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

At first glance, combining red wine and cola sounds like sacrilege, but don't knock it until you try a Kalimotxo (sometimes written as it is pronounced, Calimocho). This easy-drinking combination originated in the 1920s, in the Old Port area of Algorta, a coastal town in the Basque region of Spain.

Updated by Food & Wine Editors
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