Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Other Cocktails

9 Low-ABV Cocktails to Try Right Now

They feature full flavors but with less alcohol.

Scarlet Spritz
Scarlet Spritz Image: / Tim Nusog

Most people love a good Margarita or Manhattan. But many standard cocktails add up quickly, and don't lend themselves to session drinking. Plus, many drinkers are looking to take a more moderate approach to alcohol these days.

That’s where the low-ABV cocktail comes in. By enlisting lower-alcohol ingredients such as vermouth, sherry, and liqueurs, you can drink a delicious cocktail without falling off your bar stool. These nine drinks provide plenty of flavor without as much punch, so you can meet your moderation goals or stay in it for the long haul.

  • Americano

    Americano cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This Italian classic is ideal for anyone looking for a cocktail without hard liquor. A combination of Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water, 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 soda and calls for a hefty splash of gin.

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  • Adonis

    Adonis cocktail / Tim Nusog

    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 (below) by calling for fino sherry and sweet vermouth, which creates a sweeter drink than its drier cousin. But there’s still plenty of herbal complexities and sherry nuttiness.

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  • Bamboo

    Bamboo cocktail / Tim Nusog

    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.

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  • Sherry Cobbler

    Sherry Cobbler / Tim Nusog

    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.

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    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • Kir Royale

    Kir Royale / Tim Nusog

    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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  • Garibaldi

    Garibaldi cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Another two-ingredient cocktail, composed of just Campari and orange juice, this drink's secret lies not just in its simplicity but in its texture. It's best made with "fluffy" orange juice, freshly squeezed and then aerated with a handheld frother or in a blender without ice. It's a perfect anytime drink, great with brunch, an afternoon aperitivo, or an evening session cocktail.

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  • White Port & Tonic

    White Port & Tonic / Tim Nusog

    White port brings its complex nutty and fruity flavor to this lower-ABV twist on a classic Gin & Tonic. The Porto Tonico, as it's known in its homeland of Portugal, where it's become engrained in the culture as an afternoon sip, lends itself to endless customization via specialty tonics or seasonal garnishes.

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  • Winter Sour

    Winter Sour cocktail / Tim Nusog

    With just an ounce of Campari bitter liqueur as the only alcoholic element in this cocktail, it's nearly as low-ABV as a drink can be—but every bit as delightful as one can get. The Campari is joined by rosemary muddled with honey syrup, plus Meyer lemon juice and an egg white, all shaken to produce a perfectly frothy and festive cocktail.

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    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • Scarlet Spritz

    Scarlet Spritz / Tim Nusog

    A festive and flavorful riff on the ubiquitous Aperol Spritz, this advanced variation calls for a strawberry-infused version of the low-ABV orange liqueur, plus a splash of Lillet Blanc, an absinthe rinse, and a couple dashes of rhubarb bitters, plus sparkling wine to top. It's a bit more complicated than the classic spritz, but the extra effort will get you miles of additional flavor.

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