How to survive a drinking event while sober
In honor of Dry January, we wanted to talk a bit about how not to drink at a drinking event!
So you're at a party, wedding, or work event where alcohol is the main focus, but you're not drinking for any variety of reasons. The social pressure to have a drink in your hand however is strong and it can feel awkward floating around empty handed. For those who feel lost navigating a social situation empty handed, this article is for you!
The most obvious solutions are water or soda - but those can get boring after a while, and if you're at a good bar or have a good event bartender on hand, mocktails are a solid option for something a little more fun.
The secret to a good mocktail is the same as that of a good cocktail - fresh ingredients. Any combination of fresh fruit and herbs with soda water (or club soda or seltzer) will usually yield a delicious result. If you're looking for something healthy and tasty, ask the bartender for cucumber, lime, mint, and soda water. No sugar, no alcohol, but it looks fun and is super refreshing!
For those who are limiting their alcohol intake, but are still ok to be exposed to alcohol, another fun option is bitters and soda. Bitters are a super flavor-packed liquid that a bartender adds to certain cocktails to add flavor. They do contain alcohol, but they are served in dashes (small drops) because the flavor is so strong. Soda water topped with two to three dashes of bitters can scratch that itch of wanting a boozy drink without actually having a measurable ABV.
If you want something sweeter, check with the bartender what syrups they have. Any syrup with seltzer is usually a safe bet. Most bars will have simple syrup which is just plain sugar; but we've also seen things like rooibus tea syrup, prickly pear syrup, pumpkin spice syrup, lavender syrup, etc. - syrups are pretty easy to make or buy, so most cocktail bars will have a few different options.
The other thing any good cocktail bar should have is fresh squeezed citrus. Some less cocktail-oriented bars will use sour mix because it's more shelf stable, but the good bars will use actual citrus juices squeezed that day - it's worth asking what they use! When you bring fresh citrus juice into the game, you get a ton more options. A classic is the Lime Rickey, which we make as equal parts lime juice and simple syrup mixed with bubbly water. You could also get a sparkling lemonade with the same ratios using lemon juice instead of lime.
The astute observers might also realize that this can also easily turn in to lemon or limeade! We served a family event recently and made limeade with equal parts lime, simple syrup, and water, shaken and served on ice - according to one happy young customer it was "the best limeade ever!"
Ok, so you've been sipping on your fancy mocktail for a while but then that one friend calls out for shots. To make matters worse, they insist everyone participate - It's really poor form and it happens all too often. How do you handle this? Refusing and setting a hard personal boundary is the best, but sometimes folks don't feel comfortable doing that. If you'd like to participate, ask for a non-alcoholic shot! If people are shooting tequila, a shot of lime juice would be a reasonable non-alcoholic complement. Shots are generally not a pleasant experience, so citrus and sour/bitter things tend to work well as non-alcoholic shot equivalents as they make your face pucker in the same way.
One thing we try to be cognizant of here at Snazzbar is that alcohol is not for everyone. For some people, consuming it in moderation is okay, but for others, avoidance is the safest bet. A good bartender should help you feel included in the event if you choose to take the healthier path. Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org about designing a cocktail & mocktail menu for your next event!