Have Another Drink.

Recently I read a review of some local specialty non-alcoholic drinks. In other words cocktails without the alcohol. The cynic in me thinks mocktails are just a way for restaurants and bars to charge fancy drink prices while saving themselves money by cutting out the alcohol—the ultimate form of watering down drinks. But I also get that there’s much more to it than that. People who don’t drink deserve to have a fancy drink and even those of us who do drink sometimes want another option. Having something flavorful and different and still being able to drive home is a nice thing too.

And it occurs to me they’re not really all that new as an idea. Back when I was in college and would go out with friends there’d always be one or two people in the group who would order a virgin pina colada or daiquiri, and then there was that one joker at the end of the bar who’d ask for a virgin martini, just to see what the bartender would do.

And long before I started going out with friends and ordering virgin martinis I was introduced to the Shirley Temple—not the actress but the drink named after her which, funny enough, she hated. I was seven or eight and I guess my parents couldn’t get a babysitter because they took me to a fancy restaurant where the waitress, after taking their drink orders, turned to me and asked, “And, you, sir, would you like a Shirley Temple?”

I had no idea but I was a polite kid, even when panicking under adult scrutiny, so I blurted out, “Yes, please!” and felt very grown up drinking my fancy drink from a stemmed glass with a bendy straw.

Some time after that I had some friends over from school and my parents weren’t home and I got this crazy idea I’d play bartender, draping a towel over one arm and mixing up Shirley Temples in regular glasses using some Sprite that was about to go flat, since we didn’t have any ginger ale, and a jar of maraschino cherries I found in the back of the refrigerator that I’m pretty sure my parents bought when Nixon was still in office. Then I spilled one of the drinks while serving my friends and panicked and realized that bartending may look cool but it can also be exhausting.

The same is true of cooking. I like to cook and I’m pretty good at it, but, while some nights I have no problem making a quiche, other nights I barely have the energy to scramble a couple of eggs. The same goes for fancy drinks. Some nights I’m up to making a cocktail. Some nights all I want to do is open a bottle or a can and pour.

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6 Comments

  1. mydangblog

    Ken really loves a variety of non-alcoholic beers. He’ll drink alcoholic ones once in a while, but he claims he can’t tell the difference. I tried some non-alcoholic red wine a while ago–it was a little thin but not too bad. I still prefer my ‘real’ white wine though–pairs nicely with quiche!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Something I’ve often thought is that if someone could perfect a non-alcoholic whiskey that would replicate the experience of drinking the real thing–that is, the taste and warmth without the buzz–I’d never want alcoholic whiskey again. And of course I drink beer for the flavor, but I have to admit that sometimes there is a benefit to feeling mellow.

      Reply
  2. Allison

    My sister and brother-in-law are both leaning into the mocktail craze. I found a recipe book I am going to give them for Christmas. I just need to remember which site I found it on. Also, I prefer maraschino juice to grenadine. Not that you asked, but…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now that you mention it maraschino juice definitely seems preferable to grenadine, even if the latter is more high-falutin’.

      Reply
  3. ANN J KOPLOW

    Thanks for mixing up another wonderful concoction for us, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m always glad when you pour your thoughts in here, Ann.

      Reply

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