10 Delicious and Light Cocktails That Won't Get You Too Drunk

Delightful Drinks That Have Just a Little Alcohol

Cocktails are fun to mix up, yet many of the recipes are pretty heavy on the alcohol. When you're in the mood for a delicious drink without the strong liquors, turn to one of our favorite low-proof cocktails. Unless you have one too many, your chances of getting drunk or suffering from a hangover are significantly reduced.

What Is a Low-Proof Cocktail?

By low-proof drinks, we are generally talking about those that skip the standard 80-proof liquors like brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. Instead, many of these recipes feature liqueurs that range from 15 to 30 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 30 to 60 proof) or a wine (typically 8 to 14 percent ABV).

These drinks also tend to have a sweeter profile than the spirit-heavy martinis and margaritas, which can still be around 30 percent ABV (60 proof). Not only does this make them perfect for casual evenings when you don't want a heavy drink, but they are also perfect with dessert, during brunch, or with any meal that deserves a light libation.

More Low-Proof Drinks

These recipes are not your only options, you can also mix up one of the popular highball drinks. The volume of soda in drinks like the gin and tonic or rum and Coke significantly reduce the strength. 

Drinks in this style can often fall in the range of 13 percent ABV (26 proof) if you use 2 ounces of liquor with 4 ounces of soda. That is right around the average glass of wine. If you want them even weaker, simply pour more soda or less booze.

  • 01 of 10

    Grasshopper Cocktail

    Popular Grasshopper Cocktail Recipe
    Alexandra Grablewski / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    It is only appropriate to begin this list with a favorite martini that is designed to satiate your sweet tooth.

    The grasshopper is a fun drink, filled with chocolate and mint and it has a tempting creamy base that is hard to resist. It is also very easy to mix up because each of the three ingredients are poured in equal proportions.

    If you were to choose 40 proof liqueurs, the drink would mix up to about 13 percent ABV (26 proof).

  • 02 of 10

    Bocce Ball

    Easy Bocce Ball Cocktail Recipe
    S&C Design Studios

    Sometimes, you simply want a tall, fruity highball and the bocce ball is a perfect candidate. To keep it light, be sure to choose the recipe without the vodka.

    This easy mixed drink is similar to a screwdriver, but it uses amaretto instead of vodka. What makes it a little more special is the splash of club soda, which adds a little air and lightens up the mix.

    With a 40-proof amaretto and a 4-ounce of juice, the drink would come in at around 10 percent ABV (20 proof).

  • 03 of 10

    Banana Cream Pie

    Easy RumChata Banana Cream Pie Cocktail Recipe
    RumChata

    This simple drink is absolutely delicious and as much of a treat as the real thing. The banana cream pie is exactly what it sounds like and, if you are ambitious, you can include a graham cracker rim.

    RumChata is a light cream liqueur, bottled at just 27.5 proof. If you were to choose even a 60 proof banana liqueur, this cocktail would still be right around 15 percent ABV (30 proof).

  • 04 of 10

    Rosé Berry Bliss

    Rose Berry Bliss Cocktail Champagne Recipe
    Alan Richardson / StockFood Creative / Getty Images

    wine punch is a perfect low-proof option for parties. Yet, you do have to be careful because, as in the case of sangrias, there is may be some brandy or rum involved. A recipe like this Rosé berry bliss is an ideal light option and it is one of the easiest punches to mix up.

    The wine suggested in the recipe is 12.5 percent ABV and it is mixed with a healthy amount of lemonade and soda. All of these factors bring each serving down to just around 3 percent ABV (6 proof).

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Norina

    Norina Cocktail
    John Carey/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    A simple and fruity take on the classic martini, the Norina is a fantastic sipping drink that is soft enough to enjoy anytime. The mix simply pairs a great dry vermouth with a peach liqueur and it is a true delight for dinner.

    To keep it light, be sure to choose only a 40-proof peach liqueur. Pair that with the 15 percent ABV Cinzano Dry Vermouth, and your finished drink would weight in around 17 percent ABV (34 proof).

  • 06 of 10

    Blushing Geisha

    TyKu's Blushing Geisha Cocktail
    Luca Trovato/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    The blushing geisha is a beautiful pink cocktail that is light and fruity and filled with a fantastic array of flavors. It features Ty Ku Liqueur and its blend of exotic citrus fruits. This pairs perfectly with the pomegranate juice and rose nectar to create a cocktail that is enjoyable all day long.

    TyKu is another low-proof liqueur, at just 34 proof. When mixed into this recipe, the drink comes out to about 6 percent ABV (12 proof).

  • 07 of 10

    Friar Tuck No. 1

    Friar Tuck No. 1 Cocktail Recipe
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    The Friar Tuck is another cocktail that uses more cream than spirits and it is very tasty mix. Frangelico is a timeless hazelnut liqueur that adds a nice savory nut profile to the popular combination of chocolate and cream.

    Assuming that the chocolate liqueur you choose is about equal to Frangelico's 48 proof, a finished Friar Tuck will mix up to about 12 percent ABV (24 proof).

  • 08 of 10

    Smith & Kearns

    Smith and Kearns

    The Spruce

    Once you get past the fact that you're carbonating a creamy drink, the Smith & Kearns is actually a fantastic cocktail. The recipe even gives you the option of coffee or chocolate liqueurs so you can fit it to your mood of the day.

    Glass sizes vary, but let's pretend that we want to build a 7-ounce highball drink. Topping it with 3 ounces of club soda and using a 40-proof liqueur will result in a drink that's a very gentle 6 percent ABV (12 proof).

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    The Grinch

    Grinch Cocktail
    Verity Jane Smith/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Also called the Midori sour, the original Grinch is a fun, fruity, and light drink that cannot be overlooked. It's brilliant green color adds to its appeal and, with only three ingredients, it's one that anyone can mix up.

    The famous melon liqueur is only 42 proof and it's mixed with nothing more than a little lemon juice and simple syrup. In the end, it's a light and refreshing 14 percent ABV (28 proof).

  • 10 of 10

    Christmas Mule

    Christmas Mule, A Hot Cocktail of Pear Vodka and Ginger Beer
    S&C Design Studios

    Warm drinks are often heavily diluted and pleasantly mild, so they're a perfect choice for colder days. A recipe like the Christmas mule is ideal for casual sipping. It's a simple mix of pear vodka and warm ginger beer with a hint of cinnamon.

    Yes, there's vodka here, but flavored vodkas are often bottled at 70 proof rather than the standard 80. Since most of the volume comes from the non-alcoholic ginger beer, this delight is just 9 percent ABV (18 proof).