The Best Low ABV Cocktails That Won't Leave You Feeling Bad

Posted by Helena Hambrecht on

Do you love sampling new cocktails but hate having hangovers? Us, too. Did you know there are plenty of delicious cocktails that don’t have a lot of alcohol in them?

It’s true, and they tend to be just as tasty (or even tastier) than highly alcoholic beverages. Let’s dive into this genre of cocktails!

What Is ABV?

ABV stands for alcohol by volume, which is a measurement of how much alcohol is in a product. This can be for both bottles and mixed drinks/cocktails.

ABV is not the same as proof, which is actually twice the amount of ABV. If a drink has 10 percent ABV, then it’s 20 proof.

The amount of ABV varies depending on the type of alcohol and how it’s made. Beers tend to be between three to 13%, wine is between eight and 14%, and liquor is between 15 and 50% ABV.

7 Best Low ABV Cocktails Recipes

Here are some great-tasting low ABV cocktails that are easy to make.

1. The Americano

This drink is the first one that everyone’s favorite spy, James Bond, ordered in the 1953 book that started it all. It’s an easy drink to make because it only has three ingredients.

Ingredients

  • One and a half ounces of Campari (Replace it with one of our many delicious apéritifs!)
  • One and a half ounces of sweet vermouth
  • Cold soda water
  • Orange twist as a garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Grab a highball glass (if you have one) and fill it with ice
  2. Then add the Campari (or our apéritif) and sweet vermouth
  3. Add the soda water last
  4. Stir gently until combined
  5. Add garnish (optional)

2. Winter Sour

Here’s something for the sour lovers out there! Why is it called Winter Sour? Because one of the ingredients, Meyer lemons, are at their best in the winter. However, this drink is great all year round.

Ingredients

  • Leaves from a rosemary sprig
  • One and a half ounces of clover honey syrup
    • To make clover honey syrup: Put half a cup of clover honey and half a cup of water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the honey is gone and the liquid is smooth. Wait for it to cool, and then put it in an airtight container.
  • One ounce of Campari (or a Haus apéritif)
  • One and a half ounces of Meyer lemon juice (fresher the better)
  • One ounce of egg white
  • A Rosemary sprig for a garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Put the rosemary leaves and clover honey syrup into a shaker and muddle it gently
  2. Then add the Campari, Meyer lemon juice, and egg white to the shaker
  3. Shake intensely (without ice) for 15 seconds
  4. Then add ice to the shaker and shake again until cold
  5. Strain into a cocktail glass (if you have one)
  6. Add a rosemary sprig garnish (optional)

3. Floppy Disk

You’re definitely old enough to drink if you know what this cocktail references! While this recipe calls for Cynar, you can easily use any apéritif. Cynar is a bitter apéritif made with spices and botanicals.

Ingredients

  • Two ounces of ruby red grapefruit juice
  • Half an ounce of Cynar (or any bitter apéritif)
  • Half an ounce of dry curaçao
  • A quarter of an ounce of mezcal
  • Two ounces of chilled soda
  • Grapefruit slice as a garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Grab an Old Fashioned glass
  2. Grab a shaker
  3. Fill the shaker with ice, grapefruit juice, apéritif, curaçao, and mezcal
  4. Shake it until cold
  5. Add ice to the double Old Fashioned glass
  6. Add soda to the glass
  7. Then strain the liquid into the glass
  8. Add garnish (optional)

4. Garibaldi

This cocktail is simple to make and refreshing to drink. Its Italian origin shows through its name, Garibaldi. Giuseppe Garibaldi was a key person in the liberation of Italy and Uruguay.

While the recipe says to use Campari, we suggest using one of our many apéritifs. For the juice, people say that freshly squeezed is best and that it should be aerated before adding it to the drink.

Ingredients

  • One and a half ounces of Campari (or Haus apéritif)
  • Four ounces of fresh orange juice
  • Orange wedge for a garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Grab a highball glass (if you have one) and fill it with ice cubes
  2. Add the Campari (Haus apéritif) and orange juice
  3. Stir until everything is mixed
  4. Add garnish (optional)

5. Campari Sun

This low ABV cocktail mixes different types of alcohol. It’s great for brunch!

Ingredients

  • One bottle (12-ounces) of Miller High Life or any American lager
  • Half an ounce of Campari (Haus apéritif)
  • One and a half ounces of grapefruit juice

How To Make It

  1. Grab a glass
  2. Add the beer of your choosing
  3. Add the apérifit
  4. Top it off with grapefruit juice

6. Italian Spritz

This cocktail is named after the country because it’s the country’s favorite drink. It’s easy to make and refreshing. Its low ABV means you can drink it at any time of the day.

Ingredients

  • Three ounces of the apéritif of your choosing
  • Three ounces of prosecco
  • 3 ounces of club soda
  • Orange slice for a garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Grab a wine glass
  2. Fill it with ice
  3. Add the apéritif, prosecco, and club soda
  4. Stir gently until mixed
  5. Add garnish (optional)

7. The Rosé Port Cosmopolitan

Fruity and sweet, this take on the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail is sure to impress you. By taking out the vodka, the ABV of this drink drops quite a bit.

Best of all, it still retains its fun pink color.

Ingredients

  • One and a half ounces of a rosé port (or a rosé flavored apéritif)
  • One ounce of lime juice
  • Half of an ounce of simple syrup
  • A quarter of an ounce of cranberry juice
  • Orange peel for garnish (optional)

How To Make It

  1. Grab a cocktail glass
  2. Grab a shaker and fill it with ice
  3. Pour the rosé, lime juice, simple syrup, and cranberry juice into the shaker
  4. Shake hard until cold and properly mixed
  5. Strain the liquid into a cocktail glass
  6. Add garnish (optional)

Best Haus Apéritifs for Cocktails

Haus has some great alternatives to Aperol and Campari that can even enhance the recipes discussed above.

Pomegranate Rosemary

This apéritif is fruity and herbal, ready to enhance any cocktail. It’s also great to drink as is if you don’t have the energy to make a cocktail.

Its main ingredients are pomegranate, rosemary, and wild juniper berries. It also features flavors of raspberry, Berry Meritage tea, Aronia berries, bay leaf, and Rooibos tea.

Citrus Flower

As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of the recipes above have citrus involved. Not only is citrus a common flavor used in cocktails, but it’s used in Citrus Flower too!

This is a Californian take of the classic apéritif, meaning it’s light and refreshing. The main ingredients are lemon, orange peel, and elderflower. It’ll complement or even replace other citrus-flavored ingredients in these recipes.

Other flavors include Saigon cinnamon, grapefruit, Magnolia Blossom oolong, and grape brandy.

Grapefruit Jalapeño

Fruity and botanical, this apéritif is bursting with flavors. Featuring grapefruit, jalapeño, and makrut lime leaf, it’s got a kick while being refreshing at the same time.

While great on its own, it’s also a great replacement for many of the recipes above.

Lemon Lavender

If a cocktail is calling for herbal flavors, look no farther than Lemon Lavender! Featuring hints of citrus, it’s the herbal flavors that take center stage.

It features lavender, chamomile, bay leaf, coriander seed, and so much more. It’s light and refreshing in a cocktail or on its own.

New Fashioned

Tasting similar to an Old Fashioned, New Fashioned is spicy and warm. It features ingredients like ginger, clove, citrus, cinnamon, gentian root, and cardamom seed.

While you can have it when you’re craving an Old Fashioned, it’s also amazing in mixed drinks.

Rose Rosé

If you love rosé wine, you love Rose Rosé! Featuring roses, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and vanilla, this apéritif is refreshing and soft.

Time To Raise a Glass!

Within these seven recipes, there has to be one that you want to try! Don’t be afraid to get creative when creating cocktails. You may discover some amazing new flavor combinations.

Is there a cocktail that you love that isn’t on this list? Have you ever experimented with that recipe? Try adding your favorite apéritif to your favorite cocktail and see what happens!

Sources:

Alcohol by Volume (ABV) | Find Me a Brewery

Winter whiskey sour recipe | BBC Good Food

Low-ABV Cocktail: Floppy Disk | Imbibe Magazine