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Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with family and friends and giving thanks for all we have. Unfortunately for many people, drinking alcohol at these gatherings and then driving home can cause DWI arrests, wrecks, and even loss of life. Many of these people who drink alcohol do so only because of social norms, because of peer pressure, or just for fun. To help eliminate drunk driving following the party, hosts can serve mocktails (cocktails without alcohol) as an alternative. Designated drivers, people who rode alone, guests who do not like alcohol, and pregnant guests can enjoy the social aspects of drinking without the dangers associated with it if you serve mocktails at your gathering. If you’re expecting children at your event, offering a Shirley Temple (extra cherries, please) or other special drinks will make them love your party (and you) even more.
Drinking non-alcoholic drinks instead of the alcoholic versions has many benefits. If you choose ingredients carefully and stay away from too much sugar or other additives, you’ll avoid having a hangover or feeling very sluggish the next day. You’ll also save money since alcohol can be expensive, and during the holidays your budget will appreciate this. While you may crave the taste of the yummy treat, you will not become chemically addicted to it like you can with alcohol. And a big benefit of skipping the alcohol is that your judgment, reaction time, and emotions will be fully intact and you will be able to handle unexpected emergencies, being pulled over for a minor infraction or speeding, or getting questioned from your future in-laws.
To offer mocktails at your next event, you can just stock up on various juices, soft drinks, and garnishes and let your guests get creative. Or you can do some research ahead of time to design some very visually appealing and tasty drinks that are missing the spirits but not the holiday spirit. You can search on-line to find many great recipes. One of our favorite drinks in the south is a Bloody Mary. Whether you enjoy the spice of the drink or the crunch of the tasty garnishes we love to pile in the cup, a Bloody Mary is a drink that can easily disguise the fact that there is no alcohol in it. To help with your holiday party, we offer the following non-alcoholic Bloody Mary recipe developed by an experienced local bartender and bar manager:
32 ounces (4 cups) tomato juice
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
⅓ cup distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed (not celery salt!)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce, more to taste
1 teaspoon (about 50 twists) freshly ground black pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon salt, optional
lemon or lime wedges
kosher salt for the rims of your glasses, optional (add chili powder if you’d like)
lots of ice, for serving
garnishes (choose any or use your imagination): celery stalks, skinny carrots with leafy tops, mini bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, dill pickle spears, pickled okra, green cocktail olives, boiled crawfish or shrimp
In a blender, combine the tomato juice, cucumber, vinegar, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Securely fasten the lid and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Taste, and add more hot sauce for more heat. Add the black pepper and garlic. Securely fasten the lid and blend for just a few seconds. Taste, and stir in a pinch of salt for more overall flavor if you’d like (tomato juice brands vary by salt content, so this is really up to you). Set aside. If you’d like to rim your glasses with salt, run a lemon or lime wedge around the outside rim. Pour kosher salt onto a small plate (mix in chili powder if you’d like), and roll the wet edge of the glass across the salt at a 45-degree angle. Repeat with the remaining glasses. Fill the glasses with ice, and pour the Bloody Mary mix on top. Stir with a spoon then squeeze a lemon and/or lime wedge and drop it in. Then add garnishes of your choice. Serve immediately.
Presentation is everything. When you prepare for the party, display your non-alcoholic options in a way that appeals to your guests. If they have to go digging for ingredients, they might be more likely to just grab the beer or pour the readily available liquor. Make sure cups, ice, straws, and anything else needed are all visible and handy. Although it may not be scientifically proven, we believe that cocktail umbrellas make every drink taste better. You can prepare a fix-it-yourself bar of ingredients or you can have a pitcher mixed, labeled, and ready to pour.
Drunk driving is very dangerous, and accidents can bring guilt and possibly even liability to the party host. Party hosts can help reduce the horrible DWI statistics by offering and encouraging non-alcoholic drink options as a choice for people driving home after the party is over. Hosts should still stop serving alcohol 1-2 hours before the party ends and make sure guests are sober before they leave, and having tasty non-alcoholic options makes that a little easier to implement. For more information on ways we separate drinking from driving, call Smart Start of Alabama or complete our contact form.
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