At times it feels almost mandatory that vacationers in the Riviera Maya enjoy indulging in (too many) margaritas and tequila shots all day, every day, during their stay.
But it’s important to remember that not everyone consumes alcohol, and the growing numbers of people deciding to put down the bottle is impressive.
If you (like me) have decided that life is too short for hangovers and a host of other downsides to alcoholic drinks, let your next vacation in Cozumel be a sober one. (psst…you won’t even miss it!)
Whether it’s due to personal preference, health reasons, or simply wanting to experience the local culture without the buzz or the hangover, there are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic drink options to enjoy in Cozumel.
We’ll introduce the world of non-alcoholic beverages in Mexico and highlight some of the most refreshing and suitable choices for a tropical vacation in Cozumel.
So be proud of your choice to skip the booze (and the headaches) and get ready to discover a whole new world of flavorful alternatives that will keep you hydrated and satisfied throughout your stay in Cozumel.
Traditional Mexican Beverage Options without Alcohol
Tip: Ask for “sin alcohol” when you’re ordering in Spanish
Mexico has numerous non-alcoholic drinks woven through the country’s cultural traditions. For example, one popular non-alcoholic beverage in Mexico is atole.
Atole has ancient origins and has been enjoyed by Mexicans for centuries.
Atole is a warm and comforting drink made from masa (corn dough), water or milk, and sweetened with sugar or piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar). It is often flavored with ingredients such as cinnamon, vanilla, Mexican chocolate, or fruit.
It is especially popular during the Christmas season and is often served alongside traditional Mexican dishes like tamales.
Atole not only provides nourishment and warmth but also holds a special place in Mexican cultural traditions, as it is often shared among family and friends during festive occasions and celebrations.
Atole is delicious. The first time I had it was in Oaxaca, Mexico, at an amazing atole bar, where they serve a variety of the traditional drink in different styles and flavors.
I ordered two kinds the first morning, and then had to return to this special spot two other times so I could get my fill of atole – it was unlike anything I had ever had before.
But thick, warm, and Christmas-y? That doesn’t sound very refreshing, especially on the hottest days here in Cozumel!
So what do we abstainers drink in Cozumel when we’re not drinking booze?
Great Non-Alcoholic Traditional Mexican Drinks for Warm Weather
These popular traditional Mexican beverages offer a wide range of flavors and textures, providing a delicious taste of Mexican cuisine.
Horchata is a traditional Mexican beverage made from rice and almonds, or other nuts.
It is typically sweetened with sugar and flavored with cinnamon, creating a creamy and refreshing drink.
Horchata may not sound super refreshing, but try it – is often served over ice and enjoyed by locals during hot summer days.
2. Agua fresca
Agua fresca translates to “fresh water” in English and refers to a variety of refreshing fruit-based beverages found throughout Mexico.
Aguas frescas in Cozumel blend fresh fruits like mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, or strawberries with water, sugar, and lime juice.
Aguas frescas are commonly served chilled and is a popular choice to quench thirst on Cozumel’s nice sunny tropical days.
Tepache is another Mexican soft drink I fell in love with on a trip to Oaxaca is a traditional fermented beverage that originated in Mexico. It is made from the peels and rinds of pineapples, along with spices like cinnamon and cloves.
The fermentation process allows the natural sugars in the pineapple to convert into alcohol, creating a tangy and slightly effervescent drink. The alcohol level, in this case, is very low, however – almost always below the 0.5% level that is considered a non-alcoholic beverage by the FDA.
Tepache is often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage on hot days or as a festive accompaniment to Mexican street food.
Its unique flavor profile, combining the sweetness of the pineapple with the warmth of the spices, makes it a popular choice among those seeking a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine.
Whether sipped on its own or mixed into cocktails, tepache offers a delightful and distinct experience for the palate.
Cozumel does not have that many places where you can find a good tepache, but it is here.
If you ever see it, try it – it’s delicious, and the alcohol level is extremely low, like drinking an NA beer in the U.S.
4. Jamaica Tea
Jamaica tea, also known as hibiscus tea, is a refreshing and vibrant beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries in various cultures around the world.
Derived from the dried petals of the hibiscus flower, this tea is known for its deep red hue and tangy flavor. It is often consumed hot or cold, and can be enjoyed plain or sweetened with honey or sugar.
Jamaica tea is not only delicious but it is also packed with health benefits. It is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals, which can help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and improve heart health.
Additionally, Jamaica drinks in Mexico have natural anti-inflammatory properties making them a popular choice for those seeking relief from digestive issues or menstrual cramps.
With its vibrant deep-red color, tangy taste, and numerous health benefits, Jamaica tea is truly a beverage that can be enjoyed by everyone.
5. Fresh Fruit Juices
Mexico is known for its wide variety of fresh fruits, which are abundant throughout the country.
From tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, dragon fruit and pineapples to more common fruits like oranges, apples, and strawberries, Mexico has an impressive array of options to choose from.
These fresh fruits are not only delicious on their own but also make for incredibly refreshing and nutritious juices.
Mexicans have mastered the art of creating flavorful and vibrant fruit juices that are perfect for quenching thirst on hot summer days.
Whether it’s a simple orange juice or a more exotic blend of fruits, the abundance of fresh fruits in Mexico allows for endless possibilities for creating refreshing and flavorful juices.
Mocktails with a Typical Mexican Twist
Mocktails, or non-alcoholic cocktails, are hugely popular these days. There’s a growing number of people worldwide who are rethinking their relationship with alcohol.
Some in this sober-curious movement don’t care for the term “Mocktail” as it seems to denigrate these drinks – some of which are developed with complex flavor profiles and very artfully crafted by skilled mixologists and bartenders, and I totally get and respect that.
I’ve chosen to use the term a lot here for familiarity and ease, but also because I’ve noticed the new non-alcoholic beverage trend spreading down here in Mexico, and with the language translation, most restaurants and bars in Mexico that do offer healthier options in the 0% – 0.5% alcohol range typically use the English term of “mocktails” without much scrutiny.
Whatever they choose to call these thoughtful drinks is fine with me. I’ll take it!
Sueros – Already a Popular Mexican Mocktail
I’ve had many mocktails in Cozumel, from interesting blends of passion fruit and basil, cucumber with mint, and back to basics with traditional Mexican non-alcoholic cocktails called “sueros” which many Mexican foodies refer to as a homemade Mexican gatorade.
Ask any good bartender for a suero, and you’ll get a slightly tart club soda with lime juice and a pinch of salt.
This DIY electrolyte drink is fantastic after a long day in the Cozumel sun, as it helps quench your thirst, and replenish some minerals lost through lots of sweat.
Mexican Mocktails in Cozumel – Non-Alcoholic Drinks Done with Care
Mocktails, or non-alcoholic drinks in Cozumel, are also great options to enjoy the vibrant and bold flavors of Mexico without the need to drink alcohol.
Spicy Margarita Mocktail
One popular mocktail inspired by Mexican cuisine is the spicy margarita mocktail.
This refreshing drink combines the tangy flavors of lime juice and orange juice with a kick of heat from jalapeño peppers and/or a little tabasco.
The Paloma is a very popular cocktail in Mexico. If you take the alcohol away, you still have another delicious option with the Virgin Paloma.
This non-alcoholic version of the classic Mexican cocktail retains all the taste and thirst-quenching properties, without the hangover.
The Virgin Paloma features a refreshing combination of grapefruit juice (or grapefruit soda, like Fresca), lime juice, and sparkling water, creating a citrusy and bubbly drink that is perfect for any occasion.
Heineken 0.0 is Readily Available in Cozumel
Heineken Zero is not my favorite NA beer, or “zero beer,” on the market. But I do appreciate Heineken’s commitment to making their 0.0% version available at any location where their regular beer is sold.
So in the last couple of years, I’ve seen more Heineken Zero in Cozumel than ever before. And sometimes on a nice hot Cozumel afternoon, a crisp lager is just what I’m after. So I’m grateful for Heineken 0.0!
Using Heineken Zero in a typical Mexican Michelada (think bloody mary, but made with lager) would also be a good idea, especially if Heineken isn’t your favorite beer of choice.
I’ve noticed some new non-alcoholic “mocktail-style” canned drinks in the aisle of Chedraui and the other large Mexican grocery stores in Cozumel, so I’m hoping it won’t be long until I can buy my beloved Athletic Brewing Company beers down here, and some other truly phenomenal non-alcoholic craft beer and micro-brews that are growing with exponential popularity in the States and the UK/Australia.
So far, I haven’t noticed any Mexican beer coming out with non-alcoholic versions. (Except for Corona Zero, but I haven’t even seen much of that yet in Cozumel so I need to get my hands on one and at least try it).
The more we ask for it, the more they’ll see a good reason to keep it in stock!
Non Alcoholic Mexican Coffee Drinks
When in doubt, there’s always good old coffee, and you’re sure to find a wide range of great coffee drinks in Cozumel.
One of my first non-alcoholic coffee cocktails was made with strong espresso or a cold-brew concentrate, topped off with tonic water for an edgy kick.
And once again, my trip to Oaxaca was a wonderful exposure to some of the more advanced culinary attitudes in Mexico, including the wider availability of non-alcoholic cocktails.
At one bar, I was able to order a strong coffee drink, topped off with cranberry juice and ginger ale and it was amazing! It quickly became something I make for myself at home as a special happy hour drink – done “dry,” of course.
Head on over to my post on some of Cozumel’s best coffee bars, and then keep your eye out for other creative coffee drinks.
You get the kick of caffeine and the edgy grown-up tastes, just without the ethanol. Win-win.
Where to Find Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Cozumel
The larger grocery stores on the island of Cozumel have a wide range of drinks available, from Cokes to beers and everything in between, as you’d imagine.
As mentioned above, there are hints that more of the global non-alcoholic movement is inching its way in down here, but not quite yet.
If you peruse our article on the best bars in Cozumel for any occasion, you’ll have a few to choose from that take their mixology chops seriously.
It’s this type of high-end bar where you might find non-alcoholic drinks crafted from the growing alcohol-free spirits market. Look for products like Seedlip or NA spirits from Lyre’s or Ritual. There still pretty rare down here, but that is changing.
Here are some of the more reliable places to stock up on or order some NA drinks, if you’re abstaining for whatever reason.
Cozumel Grocery Stores for Soft Drinks
As mentioned, one of the best places to buy some alcohol-free drinks and keep them stashed in your room, or in your bag if you’re going out and want to make sure you don’t get tempted to drink.
You’ll find loads of simple NA choices like sodas (including a lovely brand of soda called Velvet Soda that is on the more gourmet end of things…), tonics, and iced teas, as well as more “mock” drinkers’ products like Heineken 0.0, familiar mixers, and the occasional non-alcoholic gin-and-tonic-in-a-can.
Especially if it’s early days, you can make sure you stock a few go-to choices in your hotel room or AirBnB, so you’re ready for any situation and don’t cave in just because there were no alternatives beyond water and diet Coke.
I’ve been there, I know. It’s always nice to have a yummy NA choice up your sleeve.
Sueros – Great for Rehydration (see above)
Don’t forget this Mexican DIY mocktail is really a very typical bar order in Cozumel, and elsewhere in-country.
A simple but really refreshing combination of seltzer water (a.k.a. agua mineral here), lime, and salt – with variations – is a great non-alcoholic option to order in a pinch.
A great dinner at Serreno rooftop restaurant is even better with an N-A Mojito variation with no rum, but lots of flavor.
Also, they’ve always had a non-alcoholic option on their daily special cocktail, which I greatly appreciate, especially in such a lovely place where I’m often dining for a special occasion, or even just a date night.
I like the option to partake in a “pretty drink” even though I’m currently on the wagon.
Read more about Serreno in our roundup of best Cozumel happy hour bars at sunset, right here.
Cocomama Tiki Room
This is the one cocktail lounge that I’ve seen with a menu of specific spirits made without alcohol, namely the range from Seedlip.
Palomar is another bar that really takes it’s cocktail culture seriously, and if they won’t make you an incredible non-alcoholic cocktail, then I’m not sure who would.
Try this gem of a cocktail bar, and see what’s on offer – I’m sure they’ll whip up something delicious, and maybe add it to their own mocktail menu.
These places above, or any of our roundup of the best bars in Cozumel, will surely be able to mix something up for you if you explain you’re hunting for non-alcoholic Mexican drinks.
Whether you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option or simply want to explore the flavors of Mexico, mocktails with a Mexican twist are sure to impress your taste buds. So grab your shaker and get ready to enjoy these delicious and refreshing drinks!
Plus, if you’re not drinking, you have a free pass to indulge in all the great foods and wonderful restaurants in Cozumel.
Go on, you’ve earned it. And you’ll wake up fresh and rested for your next big day of famous scuba diving, or any other unique and adventurous excursion in Cozumel you have your heart set on. All hangover free.
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