Not everyone is looking to get hammered, especially on their first time out drinking. Personally, I have always been a very light drinker. Even half a glass of wine makes me feel woozy. So, I decided to create this list for my fellow lightweights out there.
And, make sure you have a good cocktail shaker set, like these, if you are going to be making this type of mixed drink at home. They are found on Amazon and make a great gift!
Sangria is a delicious drink that beginners will love. There are many varieties of sangria, and it’s easy to make. They typically have a mix of wine, juice, and fruit, with an occasional liquor.
If you make your own at home, skipping the liquor and making at least half of the sangria with juice will be perfect for lightweights. Having fruit is also a good idea, so you have a tiny snack to pair with your drink, giving you something solid in your stomach.
One glass of sangria will be fine for a lightweight drinker at restaurants or bars, but don’t have more. Restaurants all make their sangria, and it’s often hard to tell what’s in it, so too many glasses isn’t a good idea.
You can also buy sangria premade at a grocery or liquor store. Premade sangria is a great option for beginners because the ABV is listed clearly on the package, so you don’t need to worry about having a drink that’s too strong for a beginner.
2. Strawberry Daiquiri
Strawberry daiquiris are one of the most popular drinks for beginners because of their simplicity and delicious taste.
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 2 ounces (59.15 mL) of white rum
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- Squeeze half a lime
Many bars and restaurants have other daiquiri flavors too. You can also make your own flavored daiquiris, such as banana, pineapple, or mango. All you need to do is change the fruit that you blend.
Wines are good drinks because some have low ABVs, and they’re usually the sweetest wines. So not only do they taste good, but they’re great for lightweights.
While all wines will have a different ABV, sweet ones tend to have lower ABVs. Every bottle or restaurant menu will have the ABV listed. With wines, lightweights will want to drink something with an ABV of ten or lower. Anything higher than twelve isn’t good for a beginner or a lightweight.
Here are some sweet wines that will taste good and typically have a low ABV:
- White Moscato
- Pink Moscato
- Pinot Grigio
- Sweet Red Blend
Mimosas are another great drink for lightweights. All you need to make a mimosa is champagne and orange juice. Typically, the recipe is half champagne and half orange juice, but you can add more orange juice to make it an even lighter drink.
If you’re making mimosas at home, you can also add fruit to them. Fruit taking up space in your glass can help keep you from adding too much alcohol. You can also eat the fruit when you finish your drink to get food in your stomach and help the alcohol settle.
Quick Tip: Restaurants and bars often serve bottomless mimosas with brunch. As a beginner, you shouldn’t order bottomless mimosas unless you limit yourself to one of two. If the bottomless mimosas are included with your meal, be sure to tell your server that you’ll not need more than one refill.
5. Light Beer
Light beer is a good drink for beginner drinkers. You can find it nearly anywhere, including bars, liquor stores, and most grocery stores.
Every beer will have an ABV or alcohol per volume listed on its can or bottle. The higher the ABV, the higher the alcohol content in the beer.
For lightweights, you’ll want to find a beer with an ABV no higher than five percent. But an ABV closer to three to four percent would be even better. If you drink beers higher than a five percent ABV, you’ll feel the effects of your drinking faster, which isn’t good for lightweights.
This list contains some common light beers that have an ABV under five percent:
- Bud Light – 4.2% ABV
- Busch Light – 4.1% ABV
- Coors Light – 4.1% ABV
- Corona Light – 4.1% ABV
- Heineken Light – 4.2% ABV
- Michelob Ultra – 4.2% ABV
- Miller Lite – 4.2% ABV
- Sam Adams Light – 4.3% ABV
- Yuengling Light – 3.8% ABV
6. Peach Bellini
Peach Bellinis are similar to mimosas, but instead of orange juice, you use peach juice or puree. Like mimosas, you can adjust the amount of peach juice to be higher than the amount of champagne to make it a beginner-friendly drink.
If you want to use peach puree over juice, all you need to do is use a puree machine or a blender to puree a few peaches. Then mix it with the champagne and add a peach slice to garnish.
Tasty Tip: You can make a bellini or mimosa with any juice or fruit if you want something other than peaches or orange juice.
Margaritas are another great drink for beginners because they come in a variety of types and flavors.
There are a huge variety of margarita flavors, with the traditional kind being lime. However, many places also serve flavors like strawberry, raspberry, mango, and peach.
There are many ways to make them. Margaritas can be served frozen or on the rocks. If you want to make frozen margaritas, just blend the mix or ingredients with ice. For a margarita on the rocks, just shake or stir the ingredients and serve on ice.
If you’re at home, you can get a premade bottle of margarita mix. These bottles can include alcohol, or you can add your own. If it comes with alcohol, check the ABV and find something around ten percent or less. If you add your tequila or other liquor, use only one ounce for a glass.
There are also single-serve bottles and cans of premade margaritas that will come with alcohol. Make sure the ABV for one bottle or can is no higher than eight. However, you shouldn’t have any problem finding one closer to five.
Finally, there’s the classic margarita recipe that bartenders will use to make a margarita. Each bar and restaurant will use a slightly different recipe, but they’re usually similar to the recipe here:
- 1 ounce (29.57 mL) silver tequila
- 1 ounce (29.57 mL) triple sec or Cointreau
- 0.5 ounce (1.79 mL) lime juice
- Blend with ice or stir and serve over ice
- Add salt or sugar to the rim
- Garnish with lime
8. Hard Seltzer
Hard seltzers have gained immense popularity over the past few summers, and now many drink companies are selling their own. They come in many delicious flavors.
There are traditional seltzers with flavors such as mango, lime, raspberry, watermelon, and grapefruit.
There are also hard seltzers that taste like iced tea, fruit punches, and lemonade. All of these also come in multiple flavors, so there’s a wide variety from which to choose.
In addition to the great taste, hard seltzers have a low alcohol content, similar to a light beer. Here are some of the ABVs for common hard seltzers:
- Bud Light Seltzer – 5% ABV
- Corona Hard Seltzer – 4.5% ABV
- Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer – 4% ABV
- Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer – 4.5% ABV
- Truly Hard Seltzer – 5% ABV
- Vizzy Hard Seltzer – 5% ABV
- White Claw Hard Seltzer – 5% ABV
9. Hard Ciders
Ciders are similar to beer, but they’re made of fruit juice. The most common cider flavor is apple, but you can find them in many more fruity flavors like peach, grape, or orange.
Ciders can have a high ABV, up to ten to twelve percent for some. However, some ciders have an ABV as low as four percent, so beginners can find something that will be good for them. Similar to choosing a beer or a hard seltzer, try to limit the ABV of your cider to five percent.
Here are some low-ABV ciders that you can look for as a beginner:
- Angry Orchard – 5% ABV
- Redd’s Apple Ale – 5% ABV
- Stella Artois Cidre – 4.5% ABV
10. Juice or Soda and Vodka
A simple drink to make is vodka with soda or juice. All you need to do is mix a cup of your favorite juice or soda with an ounce of vodka.
Some common versions of this include:
- Cranberry Juice (Vodka Cranberry)
- Orange Juice (Screwdriver)
- Club Soda (Vodka Soda)
- Tomato Juice (Bloody Mary)
- Tonic Water (Vodka Tonic)
- Cranberry and Orange Juice (Madras)
11. Pina Colada
A Pina Colada is a coconut-flavored drink that can be served frozen or on ice. To make it even lighter alcohol-wise, you can remove one of the rums and add more pineapple or coconut juice.
Blend or mix:
- 1 cup of ice
- 2 ounces (59.15 mL) of pineapple juice
- 2 ounces (59.15 mL) of coconut juice
- 1 ounce (29.57 mL) of white rum
- 1 ounce (29.57 mL) of dark rum
12. Miami Vice
Miami vices combine a pina colada and a strawberry daiquiri, the two drinks listed above. All you need to do to make a Miami Vice is combine equal parts of strawberry daiquiri and frozen pina colada.
You don’t need to mix the drinks; pour the strawberry daiquiri in the bottom half of the glass, then top it with pina colada.
A Superman drink takes a Miami Vice even further. It’s a mix of three drinks: a pina colada, a strawberry daiquiri, and blue curacao.
To make a Superman drink:
- You need to blend blue curacao with ice until you get it frozen, like the pina colada and the strawberry daiquiri.
- Once you have the three drinks made, you put them into a glass in equal parts without stirring or blending them.
- Add the strawberry daiquiri to the bottom third of the glass.
- Fill the middle third with pina colada.
- Top it with the frozen blue curacao.
If you want a fun beach drink but don’t want a frozen drink, try a traditional “on the rocks” drink, such as a mojito, instead. Mojitos can come in different flavors, but the most common is lime.
Stir the following and serve it on ice:
- 1.5 ounces (44.36 mL) white rum
- 10 mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- Club soda to fill the glass
- Garnish with lime
15. Bahama Mama
Another drink served on ice is the Bahama Mama. This one is simple but just as delicious as the others.
Stir and serve on ice:
- 1.5 ounces (44.36 mL) white rum
- 0.5 ounce (14.79 mL) Kahlua
- 1 ounce (29.57 mL) lemon juice
- 3 ounces (88.72 mL) pineapple juice
Navigating drinking in social situations can be hard for a beginner or lightweight drinker. It can also be hard to find something that tastes good if you have little to no experience drinking alcoholic beverages.
This list has drinks that taste good and have relatively low alcohol content, so beginners can find a drink they enjoy, and lightweights don’t have to worry about drinking too much. We’ve also included beach drinks, which are usually frozen, colorful, fruity-flavored drinks that are often drunk on beaches or at resorts in tropical places.
Recommended Drink Recipe Books
For even more great drinks for beginners and lightweights, you can check out these recipe books from Amazon.
- The Home Bartender by Shane Carley: This book has a ton of recipes that are easy to make and only need four ingredients or less. With a low number of ingredients, beginners can easily try them and decrease the amount of alcohol as needed.
- Zero Proof Drinks and More by Maureen Petrosky: This book has more than one hundred recipes that contain little or no alcohol. It’s great for beginners who want to try new drinks but don’t want to drink too much alcohol.
- Easy Cocktails by The Coastal Kitchen: Finally, there’s another book with easy-to-make, basic cocktails that beginners will enjoy. With so many recipes, there is something for everyone in this book.
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Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.