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Everyone loves a good Margarita or Manhattan. But after two or three, it can be a little difficult to stand straight. There has to be a way to drink all day (or night) without getting too intoxicated, right?
Right. That’s where the low-ABV cocktail comes in. By enlisting lower-alcohol ingredients like vermouth, sherry and sparkling wine, you can drink an interesting cocktail without falling off your barstool. These nine drinks provide plenty of flavor without as much punch, so you can stay in it for the long haul.
This Italian classic is ideal for anyone looking for a cocktail without hard liquor. A combination of Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda, this fizzy drink is refreshing and complex. Best of all, you can enjoy it all day long. But should you want to increase the alcohol, it’s a quick changeover to the Negroni, which skips the club soda and calls for a dose of gin.
If the Americano is the father of all low-proof cocktails, the Mimosa is the matriarch. Consisting of just orange juice and sparkling wine (for the best results, opt for fresh OJ), this brunch staple is so easy to make—and drink—it may be hard to stop yourself at one. Fortunately, each sip provides a healthy dose of vitamin C, so you can feel good-ish about drinking it.
Though this cocktail shares its name with the British monarch, it was created in Philadelphia right after the end of Prohibition and named for the creator’s wife. There are multiple versions of this cocktail that stars Bénédictine and dry vermouth, some including gin, but the gin-free version tastes as good as its stronger counterparts.
With just two ingredients—Champagne and crème de cassis—this drink is so effortless, you can build it right in the glass and enjoy within seconds. Yes, sometimes life is truly that simple. And a Kir Royale is the kind of light, refreshing cocktail that you can drink at brunch or serve for evening celebrations, so there’s always a good reason to keep the ingredients handy.
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This old-school drink is believed to have originated in the 1820s or 1830s. Composed of only sherry, sugar, citrus and ice, the Sherry Cobbler is the perfect low-proof choice for a hot day. Shake all your ingredients together, then pour the result over fresh ice, and enjoy. You’ll likely want to repeat those steps the entire afternoon.
This cocktail makes any hour, well, magical. Made from a combination of low-ABV Lillet Rose, grapefruit juice, sparkling wine and a hint of Yellow Chartreuse, this floral, light-bodied drink is perfect for a celebration or for day-drinking with friends. And, let’s be honest, any reason to bust out the champagne flutes.
This underrated 19th-century cocktail is not merely easy to drink, it’s also incredibly easy to assemble. The Bamboo calls for equal measures of dry vermouth and dry sherry, plus a couple dashes of bitters. Stir everything with ice, strain into a coupe and garnish with a lemon twist. The combination of the two fortified wines creates a rich, herbal and complex cocktail that you can sip for hours.
Another cocktail made with equal parts sherry and vermouth, the Adonis is an easy-drinking, low-alcohol classic that pairs beautifully with tapas and other savory bites. It differentiates itself from the Bamboo by calling for fino sherry and sweet vermouth, which creates a sweeter drink. But there’s still plenty of herbal complexities and sherry nuttiness.
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Need an after-dinner cocktail that won’t send you crawling to bed? The Grasshopper combines green crème de menthe and white crème de cacao, with heavy cream for a thick and minty finish. It’s not light, but it is light on alcohol. So the next time you’ve got a sweet tooth, skip that chocolate cake and drink your dessert.