Trait mindfulness has been considered a protective factor against alcohol use behaviors; however, the specific trait mindfulness facets, the specific alcohol use behaviors, and the mechanism underlying this relationship remain unclear. The present study examined the relationship between specific trait mindfulness facets and specific alcohol use behaviors, and how cued alcohol cravings might mediate this relationship. High-risk, young adult, undergraduate social drinkers (n = 240, 75 % Caucasian, 70 % female, mean age 19.4 years) completed a series of questionnaires and reported their level of alcohol cravings following alcohol pictorial cue exposure. Trait mindfulness was associated with less problematic alcohol use (r = −0.19, p < 0.01) but was not associated with alcohol use quantity (r = −0.07, p = 0.30) and duration (r = -0.08, p = 0.21). Only acting with awareness was associated with all types of alcohol use behaviors—including less problematic alcohol use (β = −0.18, p = 0.02), lower alcohol use quantity (β = -0.16, p = 0.04), and shorter alcohol use duration (β = −0.19, p = 0.02). Cued alcohol cravings mediated the negative associations of overall trait mindfulness (b = −0.50, p < 0.05) and acting with awareness (b = −0.32, p < 0.05) with problematic alcohol use, and the negative associations of acting with awareness with alcohol use quantity (b = −1.24, p < 0.05) and alcohol use duration (b = -0.34, p < 0.05). These findings suggest that the protective effect of trait mindfulness likely operates through reducing cued alcohol cravings and might be most specific to acting with awareness among college students, thus suggesting a differential role of separate trait mindfulness facets in this high risk group.