How to Throw an Alcohol-Free Dinner Party

Alcohol-free dinner parties needn’t be boring, as proved by these titillating teetotal recipes for mocktails so healthy they’re practically mind-altering.

Dry January, Octsober, pregnancy, recovery, Lent. There are moments in all of our lives when abstention becomes the name of the game. You may have honed your ‘Oh, you brought me 0% beer’ face down to a T, but stoicism is so last century my friend. Who says teetotallers can’t get their kicks too? Below are Bane + Antidote’s favourite craft recipes for mocktails that pack a punch. These exquisite artisanal concoctions, loaded with health benefits, would make for an impressive alcohol free dinner party, or a thoughtful yet self-interested gift for any host.

Why not add a Faust’s Potion Health Shot into the mix too? Your night will be a nutritional rave!

Time Intensive Brews…

Homemade Ginger Beer by The Roasted Root

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Prep time: 3 days.

Health benefits:

  • Lemon – contains vitamin C.
  • Ginger – is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, used to ease nausea, aid digestion, combat colds and flu, improve circulation and provide energy.

Ingredients

  • 9 cups spring or well water
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar*
  • ¼ cup fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice**
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast***

Homemade Tonic by The Bojon Gourmet

n.b. If pregnant avoid this recipe (see below).

tonic

Prep time: 2-3 weeks.

Health Benefits:

  • Lemons and limes – contain vitamin C
  • Quinine – antimalarial (warning: potentially unsafe to consume during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass – is used to relieve headaches, speed detoxification and aid digestion.
  • Verbena – aids joint function, muscle recovery and boosts the immune system, is an anti-depressant and is used to treat respiratory conditions.

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 37 oz Mamà brand quinine (cinchona) bark pieces
  • 1 cup chopped lemongrass
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon balm or lemon verbena leaves (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons citric acid
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • Soda water

We recommend adding alcohol-free bitters like Nature’s Answer Alcohol Free Bitters with Ginger to your homemade tonic water for an added health kick and flavour boost.

Strawberry Basil Kombucha by The Roasted Root

Kombucha

Prep time: 8 days.

Health Benefits:

  • Basil – is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory
  • Kombucha – is a fermented beverage that is used to aid digestion, weight loss and detoxification, and is an energy an immunity booster.

Ingredients

  • 1-2/3 gallons homemade kombucha
  • 2 heaping cups ripe strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ounces fresh basil, chopped (1 cup)

Rose Petal Iced Tea by Um Safia on Food.com

rose petal ice tea

Prep time: 10 hours.

Health benefits:

  • Rose – rich in vitamin C, polyphenols and other antioxidants and is known to ease menstrual cramps.
  • Lemon – contains vitamin C.
  • Green tea – is used to aid weight loss and healthy cell regeneration, to improve circulation and lower cholesterol.

Ingredients

  • 3 large roses (petals only, white bases removed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 drop pink food colouring 
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

15 Minutes or Less…

Cucumber and Mint Limeade by So Lets Hang Out

cucumber-mint-limeade-BLOG2303

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lime – contains vitamin C.
  • Mint – is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.
  • Cucumber – rehydrates, flushes out toxins and contains skin-loving minerals.

Ingredients

  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 sprigs of mint, de-stemmed
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp course sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup ice
  • cucumber spears, mint leaves and lime wedges to garnish (optional)

Green Tea Mojito Mocktail by Imbibe

recipe_greenteamojito_249x300

Prep time: 10 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lime – contains vitamin C
  • Mint – is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.
  • Matcha – contains antioxidants and L-Theanine (induces relaxation without drowsiness, is a mood enhancer and improves memory), is an energy and immune booster, a detoxifier AND a calorie burner!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. powdered matcha green tea
  • 3 oz. hot water
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 5 tsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. simple syrup
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Soda water
  • Ice cubes

Quick Fixes…

20 Infused Water Recipes by Style Me Pretty Living

infused water

Prep time: 2-3 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Rehydration and detoxification.

Ingredients

Matcha Tea Lemonade by Lauren of The Perfect Pear

matchalemonade3

Prep time: 5 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lemons – vitamin C.
  • Matcha – contains antioxidants and L-Theanine (induces relaxation without drowsiness, is a mood enhancer and improves memory), is an energy and immune booster, a detoxifier AND a calorie burner!

Ingredients

  • One lemon
  • Desired amount of sugar
  • Matcha green tea powder
  • Ice and water

Health Shots by Faust’s Potions

potionpack

Prep time: 0 minutes. Would complement all of the above beverages.

Health benefits:

  • The Awake Potion contains electrolytes, green tea, guarana, ginseng, B vitamins and vitamin C. It acts as a pick-me-up and an immunity booster and would be the perfect way to greet your guests on arrival.
  • The Asleep Potion contains honey, 5-HTP and electrolytes. It acts as a sleep aid and a detoxifier. It would be the perfect party favour to send your guests home with at the end of the evening.
  • Both can be purchased online from the Faust’s Potions Shop.
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The History of Wedding Favours

WF piece marie antoinette

Marie Antoinette was famous for her bonbonnière aplomb.

The History of Wedding Favours by Bane + Antidote editor Alex Volkers, as featured on the Wasing Park Weddings Blog. Click the link to learn more about the symbolism, ritual, gratitude and care inherent in the practice.

How to Choose the Best Wedding Favours

Wedding favours have the potential to surprise and delight your guests. Get this important part of your wedding reception right and your guests will leave feeling loved up and tickled pink. Get it wrong and you’ll adding to the ever growing trash pile of worthless tack in the sky.

glowsticks Image courtesy of Bespoke Bride.

While there may be many definitive lists of wedding favour ideas around, such as the most creative wedding favour ideas or the best eco wedding favour ideas, when deciding what to put on the tables at your wedding the best starting point is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. When you do, a few obvious rules emerge:

1. All wedding favours should reflect the couple getting married. What is important to you? Whether it is health, being environmentally friendly or breaking all the rules in the book, don’t abdicate your personality when it comes to choosing your favours. Guests want to feel as if they are in a world of your creation.

2. Wedding favours should be a treat for your guests. While many couples opt for personalised wedding favours commemorating the date of their marriage etc, by the time your guests reach dinner they will have spent an entire day thinking about you. Why not make this bit about them? Something delicious, a fun activity, a conversation starter – whatever you go with, think about your friends and family and what they would like to receive.

3. Ultimately, favours should be consumable, wearable or small enough to fit into a jacket pocket or a full purse.

4. Consumable favours should complement the meal being served. Will your guests have room left for an edible treat? Perhaps a liquid favour would have more takers. Example: Faust’s Potions ‘Drink Me’ herbal hangover cure vials.

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5. Wearable favours are a sure fire way to ensure nothing gets left behind, and a great way to help your guests look fabulous. Examples: bindis, glow-sticks, or little pots of glitter.

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6. While little pots of honey are lovely in principle, they are a clunky thing to have in your back pocket. Their lifespan is also limited. If you choose to give your guests a small memento, something they could use time and time again would be of more worth. Example: handmade handkerchiefs.

handkerchief

As nobody knows weddings like an experienced wedding provider we have asked Katherine Hudson, of the renowned Arabian Tent Company, for her views on choosing the best wedding favours.

Katherine

Hi Katherine! In your experience, what sort of items have you found to make the best wedding favours? 

The days of sugared almonds are long gone, and so are the days of potted jam from great aunty Mable. The best wedding favours are the ones that guests can use straight away when they sit down to dinner – ideally interactive ones to get the conversation flowing with the people they’re sitting with. Those favours that can be consumed, worn or used at that particular moment are always the best.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that tend to get left behind or ignored?

A lot of wedding favours get left behind if they’re not instantly engaging to a guest when they come across them.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that encourage guests to interact with one another?

I’m a fan of fancy dress items – silly sunglasses, moustaches, head-gear etc. They are great for creating interaction amongst the guests.

What is the cleverest wedding favour you have ever come across?

Whilst not hugely clever, probably the best (and most used) favour that I saw at a wedding was a little bottle of Tuaca (the bride and groom drank a lot of it when they first met!) – all the little bottles were empty at the end of the night as they got used for a special toast to the bride and groom.

Tuaca Bottles Tuaca Bottles by Infinity Photographic.

You can read more about Katherine’s work, as see examples of her unique wedding marquees, furniture and props on the Arabian Tent Company website.

If you’re still at a loss, consider some of the ‘definitive’ wedding favour ideas lists below but consider the above and PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Buzzfeed Life’s 42 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Popsugar’s 45 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Use

Rock My Wedding’s Favour Me

No Impact Bride’s 10 Green Wedding Favor Ideas

Real Simple’s 10 Creative Wedding Favor Ideas

Bespoke Bride’s 50 Fab Favours for Your Wedding Day