Alcohol alternative.: Alcohol free... - British Liver Trust

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Alcohol alternative.


Alcohol free christmas 😁

Good morning you lovely lot. I hope you are all as well as can be. Its certainly going to be a different christmas this year, for more reasons than one.

Its my first christmas without a christmas tipple. Im quite looking forward to it. Have any of you found a nice festive alternative for over the Christmas?

In the grand scheme of things i know this post is hardly relevant, but wanted to take the opportunity to wish you all a merry christmas 🙂

And to those who may struggle at thos time of year especially, lets stay strong together!

87 Replies

With encouragement from the forum, I am going to try and get through the Christmas season without alcohol. So yes, it would be interesting to see what works for people. I am in tier two, so don’t go out in the evening, apart from a meal. I tend to drink water but it would be nice to have a selection in the fridge. At the moment I am trying to various flavours of Shloer and Appletise.

Samqdj4 in reply to Mooncalf

Wooow go you, i think you will manage!! I really do. How are finding the schloer? I tried the robinsons adult juice which was novel for a while and quite.nice with ice and berries, this sounds so pathetic, but i found it easier when someone else got me the drink, as when i did it myself the whole 2mins to prepare it i was filled with "those thoughts" that rapidly spiral, of why i wasnt just pouring a glass of wine, what a pickle my.body was in if knly id known etc etc so im trying to find a way of avoiding that xx think i just need a butler 😆😁

Mooncalf in reply to Samqdj4

I like the Schloer but find that I drink it too quickly. So I am wondering if an alcohol free wine would last better and make me feel as if I was part of the social group?

Samqdj4 in reply to Mooncalf

Yeah it is nice. I havemt troed alcohol free wine, it doesnt appeal, i just imagine it would taste a bit yakky! What about like a homemade elderflower water or something along those lines something a bit special? X

Mooncalf in reply to Samqdj4

Maybe I will give it a try, all I want to do is avoid anything alcoholic. I don’t want to wake up feeling tired and slow. Plus I am still worried about the scan, hopefully I haven’t done any damage.

Samqdj4 in reply to Mooncalf

Would it help you not having alcohol in the house? I guess there is often a.lot of pressure around christmas time anyway never.mind the added pressure of temptation of you think you will be x

Well done!

It’s odd. I’m coming up to 2 years without alcohol and get the odd craving if stressed, but most of the time i come in after a long day and don’t crave for anything except a cup of tea. It’s stating the obvious, but the longer someone quits, the lesser the cravings.

Mooncalf in reply to CocoChannel

I am wondering if an alcohol free wine would help me with the urge or would it tempt me to open up the real thing?

AyrshireK in reply to Mooncalf

The alcohol free drinks topic can get quite heated on here. So i'll shorten the debate and summarise what normally comes out of such threads.

Some people find that they help, others that they don't cut the mustard and therefore spark a craving or tendency to pick up the 'real thing'. Some contain lots of sugars so that itself isn't good.

One thing that does happen is that liver transplant units very much 'frown' upon use of alcohol free beers, wines if a person has alcohol related liver disease because it doesn't prove that you've left booze behind.


Samqdj4 in reply to AyrshireK

Oh wow, i hadnt come across any posts so thought i would ask. I would offer to delete the thread to save "heated debates" but considering theres already 2 others that mist be in a similar position i think i should leave it open, but certainly wasnt wanting to upset anyone. Thank you for your reply 😊

AyrshireK in reply to Samqdj4

Don't worry about it, it was actually Mooncalf who asked the question re. alcohol free versions of usually alcoholic drinks and I was just pointing out that whenever the topic arises it can get a bit heated up. Debate is good. But as Richard explains below and as I said these drinks are totally frowned upon in anyone who is going forward to transplant assessment as they don't confirm a willingness to stay away from the 'real thing' so are best avoided.


Samqdj4 in reply to AyrshireK

Very good advice, thank you. X

mayk19 in reply to AyrshireK

Wow...that’s a crazy attitude of transplant depts isn’t it.. cigarette related medical advocate vaping over smoking....

AyrshireK in reply to mayk19

I don't think it is crazy actually, having these drinks doesn't really prove you've pulled away from a desire to take the real thing. Any person who has alcohol related liver disease has to prove their commitment to abstinence and have to sign up to life long abstinence post transplant too.As regards vaping - I am not sure what t/p units think of that. I know that when a person undergoes assessment their lungs have to be tested really thoroughly and vaping is already showing signs of being detrimental to lungs. Also, in scientific tests vaping has been shown to contribute to the accumulation of fat in the liver (tests done on mice). So vaping isn't great for your health either.

I don't have a stance on either of these things personally as my hubby has cirrhosis having never drank or smoked in his life.


I would try to not go there if at all possible.

Alcohol-related issues are very much a mental thing. If you are still drawn to wines and beers albeit alcohol-free, it is deemed that a person still has an issue and can therefore easily relapse.

It should be remembered that if a person was to require a liver transplant due to alcohol abuse, they should not have consumed any alcohol or alcohol-free drinks for at least six months before they’d be considered to be a suitable candidate to be accepted onto the transplant waiting list.

You don't have to be merry to enjoy Christmas.

I really didnt mean "merry" as in drunk "merry".I totally understamd where your coming from, i was actually meaning soft drinks etc hence the talk of juices or coffee 😊 and just wondeeed what everyone else had. Sorry if ive xaused any upset. Have a good Christmas 😊 x

sophiaS1980 in reply to Samqdj4

There are many alcohol-free beers, I have friends that drink them, and just think alcohol-free beer or wine won't keep you off the transplant list. Good Luck!

CocoChannel in reply to Mooncalf

Just my experience, I drank alcohol free beer when I first quit drinking. For me, it helped. I’d have a can and felt satisfied which I wouldn’t have felt with just one can of normal beer. Over time, I wasn’t even that bothered about the alcohol free beer. I can now take it or leave it, but if anyone’s worried about revering back to alcoholic drinks, steer well clear.

Cat-B in reply to Mooncalf

I’ve been drinking 0% for 2 years, my bloods and scans have improved ( I have decomp liver failure. So I definitely recommend the 0%, I have red and white wine, fizz and G&T, and lager. Before Covid19 non of my friends could taste the difference ( apart from the gin!) one of my friends said she couldn’t have a second glass ( as he was driving) then I showed them the bottle lol, it was so funny. Happy Christmas, stay well and safe

Samqdj4 in reply to CocoChannel

Aww thank you. And to you too. 2 years is so good!! I think i have been incredibly blessed in how easy i have found it, although i must.cut down on coffee 🥳 haha. Do you have a certain drink as a "go to"? Especially on occasions or when others are having a drink around you? X

CocoChannel in reply to Samqdj4

Cup of tea 😀

The others around me would have to be very close friends as I’m not going to hang around strangers or acquaintances who are drinking. If having a meal with friends, I’d have a tap water,

mauschen in reply to CocoChannel

I think you have just inadvertently touched on a very important point, namely, your social circle.Personally, I have non alcohol related liver fibrosis by my father was an alcoholic. I believe who you socialise with is so important when you are trying to break the alcohol habit. When you have support from family and friends, it can really make a difference. There are no pressures, no one saying things like “go on, just a wee one” or “it’s got hardly any alcohol in it ... it’s practically juice”. With temptation such as this removed, the atmosphere is more relaxed, less of a threat to your abstinence.

In my opinion, if you stay in your support bubble, you can enjoy any occasion or festivities without the mention of alcohol.

CocoChannel in reply to mauschen

Yes and no in that it’s such a big change to go from being a drinker to a non-drinker that you have to change a whole load of things. If someone flops out in front of the TV every evening with 8 cans of beer, they can’t just skip the beer and keep the flopping out bit. The two are related. They need to lost the TV habit too and probably change a lot of other things.

Likewise if all a person’s mates are boozers, they either need to be ditched or understand that things have changed. I still meet old drinking buddies, but they now know I am/was dependent - I told them, they didn’t realise - and now I have a few alco free beers are leave early.

DrKiljoy in reply to CocoChannel

How did you manage to cover it up from your mates, did you take a hip flask or slip a few shots into your pint when you were at the bar? I am amazed that they didn’t realise or are they very polite?

CocoChannel in reply to DrKiljoy

I didn’t intentionally cover it up as such. My mates binge drink when they’re out and don’t go out that often - I’m not saying binge drinking is OK. Apart from that, they don’t drink at all or one or two beers a week at max. They can genuinely take it or leave it.

I meanwhile had a few beers or a bottle of wine a day. That’s definitely not being able to take it or leave it. That’s problem drinking.

The point is that for a heavy drinker to give up is a massive deal and requires other changes too. The six beer a day TV addict I mention above can’t just stop drinking and stay a TV addict. He’ll need to fill that time with something else or he’ll likely drink again soon.

Cat-B in reply to Samqdj4

Yes Eisberg alcohol free, I have even asked the landlord at my local, I offered to pay corkage, but they just give me a glass and I take my own( I think my friends make him enough money lol).

Sqwarks in reply to CocoChannel

hi yes agree but now getting fed up with eating low salt n suger, i’d love to sit and eat sweets and chocolate etc 🤷🏻‍♀️

Bootandall in reply to Sqwarks

That's my problem too 😛 forget the alcohol, pass the sweets

I am really fine without alcohol, the only time it's really tempting is when lots of others around me are indulging. Though a nice cup of tea (or cocoa lol) does the trick most days! 😊☕ Thanks Coco for all your kind words and encouragement! Merry Christmas! ☃️🎄

Cranberry juice on ice with a squirt of fresh lime

Bootandall in reply to MsTrixi7

Sounds refreshing! 👍😃

hi, your post is very relevant, was thinking the same, when out in pubs i’ve gone for lime and soda water, but this year i’ve ordered an espresso coffee machine off santa 😂just gonna forget an alternative and enjoy the coffee. althou non alcoholic beer ain’t bad but without getting p——d no point. stick with it and take it easy 😊merry christmas!

Samqdj4 in reply to Sqwarks

Thank you!! Ohhh i hope you have more luck than i did with my coffee machine, it was HUGE hahaha!! Santa brought a hoover instead, oh the joys lol! I totally forgot about lime juice, its on the list! Xx

Hi, good luck to you over xmas. I’ve become an AF expert in last few months.

Lots of beers are now REALY tasty, try Some white fizzy AF wines are really good, only Chilean red is nice. Last week I made AF mulled wine, I gave it to my (group of less then 6) out riding and no one knew it was AF.. they just said it tasted amazing 😜. If you want some specifics PM me. Best of luck.

CocoChannel in reply to mayk19

It’s an up and coming market and that can only be good news. I always found pubs to be dull places, which is ironic with the amount I used to drink, but they’re part of UK culture, and people will go to pubs. But more and more pubs are serving alcohol free drinks which are increasing in popularity.

Samqdj4 in reply to mayk19

Ooo this sounds very interesting - i hate mulled wine but like the thought of something warm and spicey! Ha lessen the risk of falliing off to if ots AF! Xx

Roses Lime cordial with Soda water or simple sparkling mineral water is just fantastic, has to be Roses no other lime juice come anywhere near , don,t be tempted by the 50p a bottle stuff .... wishing every one on here a happy if not merry festive season and most important of all a Healthy new year....!!!!!! XXX

Samqdj4 in reply to Ironontheup

Thank you. Is it the same people as make the marmelade? I loooove that stuff!! Xx

Ironontheup in reply to Samqdj4

Indeed it is ....!!!!!!

A strange merry christmas to you! Well done for your continued abstinence, we all know how difficult it can be! After 20 months alcohol free, I sometimes just want that social aspect of drinking, which I used to enjoy,and my partner still likes a drink. Which I don't have a problem with, so we have been trying the alcohol free Gin with all the trimmings and despite it being more expensive than the real thing, it is a good mental substitute for a treat. Maybe worth a try, I'm the same as you though and it is so much better if someone else makes it for me! But we deserve it!!

Samqdj4 in reply to Dotandken

Thank you! I understamd totally about the social side, im the same. My.partner still enjoys a drink too which is fine, thankfully i havent been faced with pubs yet, possibly a blessing living in the sticks so.eone needing to drive so i dont mind a coffee in that case, it defo more at home on occasions like this when everyone else has their special treat haha xx

Nosecco is really nice and I often have an alcohol free pilsner and lemonade. There are some lovely alcohol free festive cocktails if you give them a google and makes you feel a bit special

Samqdj4 in reply to Jojochr

Thank you jojo, i was contemplating a can of shandy from the chip shop like i got as a kid! Xx

I have found alcohol free Nosecco , at Sainsbury’s, they also have a range of alcohol free gin . I don’t really miss alcohol but enjoy being sociable and not standing out . What ever you find ,enjoy , Merry Christmas x

Samqdj4 in reply to Frananncru

Brilliant. I know exactly where your coming from. Especially with a "toast" . Thank you and all the best to you too xx

Gardenlife92 in reply to Samqdj4

Hi there, I can understand the discussion threads about leaving alcohol behind completely but if that doesn't apply to you then I have tried these:

Instead of Prosecco try Belle and Co sparkling "wine" its drier than most of the others and I prefer it to Nosecco.

Beer - Stella Artois 0% is good as is Heineken 0.0 - chill the beer and the glass though

Haven't found a decent red wine substitute yet so I stick to water but have had a couple of good no alcohol gins - as others have said Sainsbury and Drydrinker are good sources.

Samqdj4 in reply to Gardenlife92

Thank you. Yes i also fully understand, thankfully i have not had that problem just wanted something a bit special. I will give that a try, i suppose its like everything, trial and error. Thanks for your suggestion x

I have discovered Lindeman’sAlcohol free Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s the best red I have found xx

Hi! I tried Belvoir sparkling drinks and they are really nice and I yesterday bought I bottle of alcohol free wine it’s cost £5.50 so I really it might be ok! One word YUK 😫😫

Samqdj4 in reply to serenitygirl

Ohh no. I thought that might be the case!! Xx

I had an alcohol free Xmas last year and I found mandarin juice mixed with cranberry and sparkling water to be really refreshing and goes well with the festive food

Hi Briccolone I have followed some of your posts for sometime....are you abstaining now? I don't mean that inappropriately its just I see you do abstain and then you pick it back up?

I gave it up for 9 months from mid october last year until july...relapsed slightly sadly but currently avoiding.......feel better when I do. I still don't have a diagnosis but I suspect fibrosis at the very least

Good news all round and a good stint of abstinence mind! Take it easy!

cheers Ironman-likewise

I was shocked not to have at least fibrosis, but my liver was “just” fatty. You’re better off finding out. To be on the safe side, keep on avoiding alcohol. Once you accept you’ve had your last ever drink, it really is a weight off and things look up.

agreed-when I can get an appointment under lockdown -probably next year we'll see what's what

I just tried to see my doctor in person,it was no go. ☹️ And l even had a negative covid test! But the test wasn't ten days before my appointment (I am in the US) so doctor changed it to a phone visit instead! Which was useless. If l had known of the policy beforehand, l would have rescheduled or probably just cancelled. 😜

Anyway, I'm glad to see you're going for another round of no-alcohol Christmas cheer! Cheers! 😁

I'm surprised no one mentioned eggnog 🥶 or hot 🔥spiced apple cider!

Merry Christmas! ⛄🌲

Puggypip in reply to briccolone

Hi,I've just been catching up on posts and your's struck a cord with me. I managed to stay away from the happy juice for 5 months but it's slowly creeping back in and I know that it will eventually get the better of me,any advice? Thanks in advance x

briccolone in reply to Puggypip

from experience-relapses are common-just make them short and get back on track-in this respect lockdown has been magic advice from me otherwise I would have cracked it by now but actually the thought of being dry for months is no longer an issue-it used to be. Mind over matter...

CocoChannel in reply to Puggypip

It sure will. You know what you have to do. Quitting’s tough but it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do.

Samqdj4 in reply to briccolone

That does sound yummy!! Didnt realise you could get mandarin juice! Other than from a tin haha xx

briccolone in reply to Samqdj4

actually its waitrose who do clementine juice-even better and more festive

Samqdj4 in reply to briccolone

Ohhhh were not posh enough for a waitrose up here 😅 x

briccolone in reply to Samqdj4


I have found some lovely 0% fizz and 0% red wine to make my Christmas mulled wine lol and I use the 0% range for cooking. Happy Christmas enjoy and stay safe

Samqdj4 in reply to Cat-B

Oooo what a good idea!! I hadnt thought about this until my panick after eating morrisons beef in red wine. I was mortified!! Xx

Cat-B in reply to Samqdj4

I’m still searching for a 0% stout to make beef stew lol, but both Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Amazon run out from time to time, so the 0% is obviously very popular for drivers, drinkers and chemotherapy patients etc x

Sainsburys do it a xmas time

I could not trust myself to try 0% wines, pre liver disease and transplant my favourite was a dry chilled Chablis, I don't think any of them would match the taste and terrified that it might tempt me to try low alcohol wines and then move to higher %. I made a promise when I was accepted on the transplant list never to drink alcohol again and with getting a chance of a new life, I am going to try my very best not to. That was almost 3 years ago and so far so good.

I started drinking Belviour Elderflower Presse which is a lovely refreshing drink, however I was out one night and tried Fevertree Mediterean Tonic Water (low cal) and it is lovely, served with ice and lemon it is a grown up soft drink, I also now like slimline lemon or lime tonic water. Really strange as before I had never tried tonic water as always associated it with gin which I hated. Also, I used to love Pink Grapefruit juice and as I am now on Adoport, I can no longer have it but I have found toping up fresh orange juice with tonic water a great substitute as it takes the sweetness away from the OJ. Merry Xmas to all xx

Samqdj4 in reply to PoppyPiper

I would defo stay away from it too. Sounds like youve found some great alternatives. I love morrisons own slim line tonic with a hint of lemon. That seems to have become my 'sitting relaxing or cooking sunday dinner" drink. Id never thought to try it on its own either. I did tey it with gin which was ok but i prefer the tobic on its own 😊Congratulations on doing so well, you should and i hope you are, very proud of your self x

PoppyPiper in reply to Samqdj4

Thanks, like you my tonic water has become my sitting down chill out drink and because I had never drank it before I never associate it with alcohol. There are no morrisons near by so I always have some in from Asda and coming in at 50p a big drop from £8 for Chablis! take care PPxx

Yes hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows 😛😋

Bootandall in reply to Dogbot

And red cinnamon sprinkles!

Thistle09 in reply to Dogbot

And peppermint!

Hello, All! I'm on the opposite side of the pond from most of you, so the tinned (or bottled) drinks you mention are not available here. They sound delicious. However, anything that comes in a can or bottle ends up being rather expensive in the long run.

Here's what I have done for many years: lots of sliced fresh ginger (very thoroughly washed, but no need to peel it), plenty of water (to cover x 2). Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover the pot loosely, and cook for about 30 minutes. Covering the pot will bring it to a boil; you want it to stay at a steady simmer. Strain to get out the tiny bits of skin, etc., and let it cool. You now have a concentrate that you can put in a jar. Keep it in the fridge; it will last for a least a week or so, assuming you don't consume it sooner.😀

I don't like fizzy drinks, so I just mix it with cool water (at about 3:1 or 4:1) and add my favorite sweetener to taste. Many of you will prefer soda or sparkling water. As for the sweeter, it could be anything you like (honey, sugar, agave, etc.). Aah, so refreshing, and ginger is good for you! You can also use it to make hot ginger tea, or cold ginger tea, or a multitude of concoctions. If you like juices, add a bit to liven up the flavor. It's especially good with unfiltered apple juice and a squeeze of lime.

Maybe you can share this with your favorite pub and see what a creative barkeep might combine it with. Call it The Thistle? Whatever, hahaha. Name it after yourself!


p.s. I would love to hear about how you've used it.

Bootandall in reply to Thistle09

That sounds refreshing and yummy! The Thistle: ginger, apple and lime. 👍🥳I would love to try making this. I think l will try it with honey. Also, what color is the ginger juice please? I like to make things look festive and am picturing an amber fluid. Ironically, l have been interested in making fancy drinks for years, it's got to look like it's Christmas!

Trust1Administrator in reply to Thistle09

Sounds lovely!

This might be frowned upon.But is cannabis a 'safe' alternative?

AyrshireK in reply to T234

Certainly not a 'safe' alternative - especially if being smoked since it can damage lungs if being used with tobacco too & damaged lungs will debar a patient from transplant if it becomes necessary. There is also the potential for psychological harm & it does happen as i've seen it at first hand plus have a best pal who is a CPN and deals substantial with cannabis induced psychosis.The Scottish Liver Transplant Use has illicit drug use listed as a contraindication to transplant. "Concurrent or consecutive illicit drug use (except occasional cannabis use)" - I guess it would depend on degree of usage.

Whilst I certainly 'get' that it may be less harmful than booze, it isn't without risk and certainly shouldn't be used as a booze substitute if your condition is ever likely to take you down the transplant route.


It's most certainly a much better option than drinking imo.

Laura009 in reply to T234

No you are simply swapping 1 addictive substance for another. Why would you want to do that?

I think the question of whether AF beers, wines and spirits will lead to falling off the wagon is very personal and relates to everyone’s individual relationship with alcohol. Before my diagnosis when I stopped drinking, alcohol was a big part of my professional as well as my social life and I learned quite a bit about food and drink matching. The good thing now is, I always included a non-alcoholic match with every course, so here are some tips I hope some of you might find useful. First, a bit of ritual can go a long way, we like to feel spoilt sometimes, sometimes we need to feel we are treating ourselves, so these are suggestions for special event alternatives.

Every drink needs a base. Sparkling water, hot water, juice, milk, coconut milk, tea, coffee, yogurt are all possibilities.

Teas can be a great starting point, everything from rich Smokey black ones to delicate green and white ones, hot or chilled, sweetened or bitter, forget about the milk (unless it’s a hot. Sweet spicy chai!) and there’s a huge variety that work alone or can be the base for all kinds of drinks.

Think about mouthfeel and temperature as well as flavour.

Make a sugar syrup by boiling equal parts water and sugar then chilling, you can make a cordial from any combination of fruit, juice or spice you like (make a jug full and put it in the fridge or bottle it, it will last forever. Add to cold sparking water or green or white tea with any combination of lemon, lime, orange or cranberry, ginger, mint, rosemary, lemongrass for zingy light refreshing drinks. Add to warmed apple juice, black tea or hot chocolate or coffee with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, star anise, allspice for rich comforting drinks.

Light, cold drinks will perk you up, thick hot drinks will relax you (unless they are heavy on caffeine!). No rules, play around with all the flavours you like, and have a lovely Christmas!

That's a lot of information! 🙂 I am going to thoroughly study it to see if it inspires something 😋 delicious.


What a great idea to have an alcohol free Xmas, Lime and soda for me please!🎄

For me I don't feel the need to replace alcohol with an alternative, I'm quite happy with my usual drinks that are just coffee, water and home made milk kefir with berries. I do think about alcohol more this time of year but it's mainly because it is in your face more and also the memory of it rather than a craving I miss. My sobriety is 9 years and counting... Merry Christmas to you all xx

Samqdj4 in reply to Looneytunes

What a lovely and honest reply. Merry christmas and all the best to you xx

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