Kidney-friendly Mocktails and Cocktails – Holiday Edition

Young group friends hold in hand fruit cocktail with sparkler decoration. Christmas invite party concept. Heath care vegan summer drinks

Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN

The holidays often bring family celebrations and other social events, and this can cause a lot of stress or anxiety for those living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). When it comes to holiday beverages, there are a few things to consider. If choosing to consume alcohol, speak with your healthcare team about it as some medications may interact with alcohol.

The kidneys have an important job as the filtering unit of the body. Alcohol causes changes in the function of the kidneys and makes them less able to filter the blood. It can affect the kidney’s ability to regulate fluid and electrolytes in the body. Too much alcohol can also alter your blood pressure, and more than two drinks a day can increase your chance of developing high blood pressure. Alcohol can also be a source of additional calories and lead to weight gain.

If you are consuming alcohol, consuming it in moderation is important. Women should limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks per day and men to no more than three. A standard drink is:

  • 12 oz. of beer or wine cooler
  • 5 oz. of wine
  • 1.5 oz. of distilled spirits such as whiskey, bourbon, scotch, vodka, gin, tequila, rum

Here are some tips and tricks for kidney-friendly holiday beverages:

  • Offer to bring your own holiday beverages to parties to ensure there are kidney-friendly options available. Try these: apple cider, tea, lemonade.
  • Consider a “mocktail” instead of alcohol-containing beverages. Try one of the recipes below.
  • Make a spritzer by mixing a small amount of wine (2 oz.) with sparking water (250 mL) and ice to reduce the calories and alcohol.
  • If you are on a fluid restriction, try sipping on hot or chilled beverages slowly as this allows you to enjoy smaller portions longer.
  • If you are consuming alcohol, remember to make it kidney-friendly and consume responsibly. Try to have half as much, sip slowly and avoid high calorie mixed drinks.

Drinking alcohol when living with CKD can generally be done safely in when consumed in moderation. It is important to be aware of the ingredients and nutrient content of the beverage you choose to drink. Always check with your doctor or renal dietitian to make sure it is safe for you to drink alcohol. And as always drink responsibly to protect yourself and those around you. If you are looking for more recipes check out these beverage options by the American Kidney Fund.


  1. Fan Z, et al. (2019). Alcohol Consumption Can be a “Double-Edged Sword” for Chronic Kidney Disease. Med Sci Monit.
  2. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Abuse. (2018). Canada Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. Available from:

Mocktail recipes:
Lime and Mint Soda
Servings 2

4 TBSP mint leaves
1 lime quartered
2 TBSP lime cordial
1 cup sparkling water
4 ice cubes

Place mint and lime in a bowl or mortar. Using the end of a pestle or spoon, carefully pound until limes are crushed and juiced. Split mint and lime between two cups. Add cordial and ice to mint mixture in each cup and top with sparking water.

Per serving: 31.3 kcal, 8.7 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 13.6 mg phosphorus, 95.7 mg potassium, 6.9 mg sodium

Pineapple Punch
Servings 2

4 TBSP pineapple juice
2 TBSP lime juice
1 cup sparking water
4 ice cubes

In a pitcher, combine pineapple juice, lime juice, and water. Stir gently to combine. Add ice cubes to serving glasses and pour punch over. Serve with fruit such as lime, berries or mint for an optional garnish.

Per serving: 20.3 kcal, 5.3 g carbohydrates, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 4.6 mg phosphorus, 60.7 mg potassium, 2.6 mg sodium

Cranberry Mint Mocktail
Servings 2

2 TBSP mint, divided
2 TBSP fresh cranberries, divided
1 cup diet cranberry cocktail, divided
1/2 cup sparkling water, divided
4 ice cubes

Place mint and cranberries in two glasses. Pour cranberry juice and water into each glass. Add ice and enjoy.

Per serving: 7.9 kcal, 2 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 5.5 mg phosphorus, 40 mg potassium, 23.4 mg sodium

Cocktail recipes:
Cranberry Margarita

Servings 2

2 oz. tequila
1 cup diet cranberry cocktail
2 TBSP lime juice
4 ice cubes
2 sprigs rosemary
2 TBSP fresh cranberries

In a pitcher, combine tequila, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Add ice to individual glasses. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and cranberries.

Per serving: 75.2 kcal, 3.0 g carbohydrates, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 5.8 mg phosphorus, 27.9 mg potassium, 22.2 mg sodium

Apple Cider Smash
Servings 2

1 cup apple cider, warmed
1 oz. spiced rum
1 tsp cinnamon
2 slices of apple

Pour apple cider and spiced rum into two glasses. Garnish with cinnamon and apple slices. This beverage can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Per serving: 100.9 kcal, 18.6 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 2.7 mg phosphorus, 23.8 mg potassium, 12.8 mg sodium

Pink Lemonade
Servings 2

2 oz. vodka
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup diet cranberry cocktail
1 cup sprite zero
4 ice cubes


In a pitcher, combine all ingredients. Stir gently to combine. Split between two glasses.

Per serving: 75.4 kcal, 3.4 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 7.0 mg phosphorus, 36.2 mg potassium, 19.6 mg sodium