I’ve always loved parties. Just having a drink in hand and chatting with friends, or meeting new ones, is a great night out for me.

Then I got pregnant. I could go to parties — engagement parties, work parties, bridal showers, housewarming parties — but I couldn’t have a cocktail, a glass of wine, a hard cider or a spiked drink. What was I supposed to do?

Being pregnant didn’t stop me from “partying.” Rather, I found out what I could drink at parties that would make me happy. Here are my favorite things to drink at gatherings and nice occasions when I’m pregnant.

All the photos in this article are REAL mocktails and alcohol-free drinks I had at parties and happy hours, when I was pregnant! It might be hard to believe because they look so delicious!

Mocktails

Sure, mocktails sound boring until I’d order them and they’d come just as decked-out as the cocktail my coworker was drinking right next to me. In fact, I’ve had fun mocktails at work happy hours, and at romantic dinners out with Dan, and my drink has been the star of the table. I could almost say that having cute mocktails was one of the things I loved about being pregnant.

What’s not to like about mocktails? They’re fun and fruity, and they’re a party drink in my hand that still looks great. Websites like The Bump have great lists like “easy and fun mocktail recipes” to check out.

A few of my favorite mocktails have been….

Tequila sunrise (without tequila)

I was on a NYC city cruise at sunset and chose to ask for a Tequila sunrise (or was it a sunset?) without the tequila. I wasn’t “showing” yet at the time, so I was able to keep my pregnancy totally a secret if I had wanted to.

Juice with soda (and garnish)

Juice with soda looks just like a cocktail — that’s because alcohol is invisible! I’ve had juice with soda at quite a few events while pregnant and it’s always delicious. I just limit myself after 1 or 2 of these drinks as to not overdo it on the sugar from the juice.

I took this photo at a rooftop bar in Brooklyn while out to happy hour with my coworkers on a beautiful sunny day.

A house cocktail (virgin-style)

If you’re going to a wedding, or even just a regular bar, ask if any of the cocktails on the menu can be made without alcohol for you. Usually, I’d say, “I’m pregnant,” and then VERY clearly say “no alcohol” a few times, especially if the room was loud and it was hard to hear.

A soda or seltzer with garnish

I’ll be first to go to a party and ask the bar for a seltzer water with lime. It’s the best way to stay hydrated, whether you’re pregnant, or not pregnant.

It’s also the perfect drink to have in hand when everyone starts drinking mixed drinks at a gathering. I think a seltzer water with a lemon or lime is a perfectly-acceptable drink to have, ESPECIALLY if you’re at that point of not having told anyone you are pregnant (yet).

It’s uniquely disguised as a vodka-seltzer mixed drink, and no one will even know to ask. You can also ask the bar to put it in a nice cup, rather than a tall soda cup or glass.

Ginger beer

One of my favorite “bubbly drinks” to have in a bottle, to fit in with friends having beers, is a ginger beer! Of course it’s not REAL beer, but for the times when I’m already pregnant and showing, clinking my ginger beer bottle with friends who are drinking cold beers hits the spot.

My favorite ginger beer is Reed’s Ginger Beer, because of the beer-like bottles it comes in. This is great to bring to a party, gathering or informal event.

Kombucha

If (and only if) you are choosing to drink minimal amounts of caffeine during your pregnancy, consider a kombucha as a drink to consume at a party.

I will note, to help those unfamiliar with kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, and while many people think it’s caffeine free, most kombucha is made from black or green tea, which is caffeinated. I’ve helped out a few friends by making this clear, and I’ve taught some people a whole bit about kombucha as an alcohol-free drink.

Before my pregnancy, I got into the hard kombucha trend by drinking brands like JuneShine. I thought it was delicious (it is). When I got pregnant, I considered drinking kombucha at parties, but decided against it because I was avoiding caffeine as a choice.

NOTE: Make sure if you order kombucha at a bar that it is the alcohol-free kind. Many bars these days are serving the on-trend hard kombucha, which will have a ABV like beer.

Fruit juice

Why not drink juice in a fancy cup at a party when you’re pregnant? For the times I was at an event with a bar, during my second or third trimester, I’d ask the bartender for a cup of orange juice or grapefruit juice with a little garnish on top!

Check out this photo I took of the fancy juice drink I had during my third trimester at a cool event at the Edge NYC.

Sparkling apple cider

I had always been a “grab a bottle or can of a hard cider” at a party type of gal, but when I got pregnant, that was no more.

However, to keep the spirit of ciders alive, especially during the fall season when they seem so incredibly perfect, bring along a case of apple cider to a party. Or, if you’re out at an event like apple picking, or a themed happy hour, opt for the season’s drink without the alcohol content.

My recommendation: Martinelli’s happens to be really good.

Alcohol-free wine

It’s too bad that I didn’t discover alcohol-free wine during my pregnancy, although I did have a type of alcohol-free wine-like grape juice at a party with my friend Bre, who was also pregnant at the time.

While I was nursing and didn’t want to overdo it on drinking, I did discover Surely wine, which to me, gave me all the feels of wine, but with no alcohol.

NOTE: Of course, if you are wondering about the safety of drinking “alcohol-removed wine” during pregnancy, consult your doctor.

Best tips for drinking at parties while pregnant

Here are a few of my tips for making sure your point gets across for ordering drinks at parties or bars when you’re expecting. After all, drinking alcohol is one of the things you cannot do while pregnant.

  • Clearly state that you’re pregnant (if the bartender or server can’t tell), and use a few words like “virgin” and “no alcohol” when ordering.
  • Expect that some cocktails just “won’t taste good” if made without alcohol. I was told this a few times at a wedding when the servers said that a margarita wouldn’t taste great without tequila.
  • Keep sugar in mind: just like with cocktails, consider that too many glasses of fruit juice or sweet drinks isn’t great for you and your baby, nor your blood sugar (I’m no doctor, but I know this much). Pregnant women with GD need to be especially cautious of this.
  • Stay hydrated: I’ve had the best luck at parties when I continue to drink seltzers or drinks that hydrate me, as hydration is important when pregnant.
  • Bring along mocktail cards if you think you may run out of ideas. I know of pregnant women who have brought these to work conventions, bars, happy hours and weddings to see if the bartender can make something fun and alcohol-free for them.