Guide to Drinking for the Teetotaler

by Brett & Kate McKay on November 12, 2009 · 52 comments

in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Mike Hagan, AoM’s resident bartender. Mike last tackled the 5 classic cocktails every man should know. Today, he gives the non-drinkers among us tips on how to wet their whistles when they’re out at a bar.

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Lots of folks like to go out to the bar from time to time, regardless of whether they drink or not. The bar can be a great place to socialize, meet new friends, catch up with old ones, or even meet that special someone. But what if you don’t drink? Must you avoid this integral part of the male social experience? Absolutely not! With our Guide to Drinking for the Teetotaler, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience of the bar without drinking yourself into buffoonery or resorting to Virgin Strawberry Daquiris.

There are multiple reasons you might not be drinking while you’re out at the bar: 1) you’re not a true teetotaler and DO in fact drink, but you’re the designated driver for the night. The designated driver is an under-used part of the bar experience, but very important. 2) You also may like to enjoy a drink or two, but not to get drunk, be it for having to work early the next day or to not end up with a woman of loose morals and questionable attractiveness lying next to you in the morning. 3) Finally, you may just choose not to drink, but like the atmosphere and camaraderie of the bar.

If you’re on the wagon, be it for life or for the night, here are some tips, broken into two sections:

When You Want People to Think You’re Drinking

There are many reasons why you may want to mask the fact that you’re not drinking. Everyone has that one friend, the “get them all another one!” guy who tries to make sure that the whole group is drinking and getting as wasted as he is. There’s nothing wrong with this guy; he’s usually a good time and just wants to have fun, but he needs to slow it down sometimes. Also, you may not want someone to buy you a drink. Groups of people buy rounds and may get you one if you’re ready. If you always have a full one in front of you, you can politely decline. And as unfortunate as it is, we all have friends that will ridicule you for not drinking. By hiding that you’re not drinking, you can avoid this problem while looking for new friends!

Soda Water, Tonic Water, Seltzer, or Citrus Soda

These can be easily poured in a highball glass and served with a citrus wedge to fool anyone into thinking you’re drinking a clear liquor with a clear mixer. A vodka tonic looks exactly like plain tonic water in the same glass side by side. If you’re going to be drinking a lot of these, however, I’d choose soda water because of the lack of calories. Tonic water and citrus soda (7Up, Sprite) have a lot of calories and sugar, and instead of a beer gut, you could get diabetes.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

Most people’s experience with non-alcoholic (NA) beer is O’Doul’s, from Anheuser-Busch. They try one, and their experiment with NA beers comes to a quick and disappointing end. It doesn’t really taste like beer, and that’s the point, right? But it works great for hiding that you’re not drinking, because in a glass it looks just like any other light lager. Your bartender will be more than happy to pour it in a glass for you before he puts it in front of you. There are a slew of non-alcoholic beers that taste better than the one everyone knows about. Heineken makes one called Buckler, and Guinness makes one called Kaliber. On the domestic side, Coors NA, Busch NA, Sharp’s from Miller, and Old Milwaukee NA are all available. In my experience, most old-school domestic beer drinkers like Busch NA because they say, of all the ones they’ve tried, it tastes the most like beer. Personally, of all I’ve tried, I liked Kaliber the best.

Apple Juice, Grape Juice, Sparkling Grape Juice

What if you want to look like you’re drinking wine? Apple juice in a wine glass looks like a Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay to the untrained eye. Grape juice can look like a lot of red wine if no one is paying attention. Sparkling white grape juice looks like champagne, and mixed with peach puree or orange juice can stand in for a Bellini or Mimosa, respectively. I don’t know how many times I’ve poured one of these for women who are pregnant but not telling anyone the news yet (it’s amazing what people will tell a bartender that they won’t tell their own friends…).

Iced Tea, Cola, Red Bull

Iced tea, on the rocks, can look like whiskey or a light scotch. A lot of people mix their dark liquors with cola, so having only cola in your glass will fool anyone. And if you need a pick-me-up, drink a Red Bull on the rocks.

Bloody Marys, Martinis, Other Cocktails

If you like Bloody Marys, get one sans vodka. You’ll still get all the fun garnishes, so you can get something to eat as well as something to quench your thirst. And if you like dirty martinis, a mix of olive juice and water in your cocktail glass can suffice. Especially if you’re someone who loves olive juice. A mix of cranberry juice and lime juice can look like a Cosmopolitan. Have a Mojito made with everything but the booze, and you’re in for a treat.

You Don’t Care If People Know You’re Not Drinking

Ok, here’s the fun part! You have a great group of friends who know you don’t drink and like your company anyway. Or, you do drink, but you love your friends so much, you’re driving them around for the night. Have fun with your bartender and ask him to come up with something for you, or you can order these drinks:

Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, Arnold Palmer

A Shirley Temple, or Kiddie Cocktail, is citrus soda and grenadine. A Roy Rogers is cola and grenadine. An Arnold Palmer is lemonade and iced tea.

Craft Sodas

Some bars you go to may have a selection of craft sodas, root beers, or ginger ales. Try them! They usually taste better than the standard Coke or Pepsi. The bar I work in has a selection of both Jones and Sprecher sodas. If you have a favorite and you frequent an establishment, don’t be afraid to ask them to carry it. If they can get it, more than likely they’ll buy a case and see how many they sell. If they sell well, they may get a whole slew of different flavors and varieties for you to try.

Fruit Punches

Most bars have a variety of juices and alcohol free mixers available. Ask your bartender to create something for you. I make soda water with a splash of cranberry juice and a lime wedge for a woman who frequents my bar constantly. If you like what they make and order it enough, they’ll remember and may even name it after you!

Just as there are endless combinations when mixing alcohol drinks, and the same goes for non-alcoholic drinks. Try a few things out and find your favorite. Your bartender will be more than happy to help you out. They don’t care what they’re making, just as long as you tip!

Here’s a couple of my favorites that you can make at home, and two family punch recipes.

Brown Pelican

  • 2 parts Apple Cider
  • 1 part Ginger Beer
  • Over ice

Faux Orangina

  • 2 parts Citrus Soda
  • 1 part Orange juice (Medium Pulp)
  • Over ice, stirred

Lime Sherbert Punch

In a large punch bowl, empty the contents of a gallon of lime sherbert, preferably intact. You can soak the gallon bucket in a sink of warm water first to loosen up the sides, allowing the sherbert to slide out into the punch bowl. Also, if you don’t plan on using the bucket again, carefully tap a hole in the bottom with a knife to let air in and make the sliding process easier.

Cover the sherbert with citrus soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Serve. Add more citrus soda as needed until the sherbert is gone or fully melted into the liquid.

Five Alive Frozen Punch

If you did save that gallon bucket from your sherbert in the recipe above, use it here.

Mix Five Alive concentrate as the directions indicate. Five Alive works best, but is increasingly unavailable in some areas. Any citrus punch will do.

Add a small jar of maraschino cherries, juice and all. Stir and cover. Stick in the freezer, making sure there is enough room in the bucket for expansion of the liquid as it freezes.

An hour before serving, remove from the freezer. About 15 minutes before serving, pour citrus soda over the chunk of frozen goodness, using a fork to help break up the ice, turning it into slush. Transfer to a punch bowl or serve from the bucket. Enjoy!

For some “mocktails” that are specifically good during the holiday season, be sure to check out our Man’s Guide to the Holidays Ebook!

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phil November 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Great post!

2 Timothy November 12, 2009 at 10:44 pm

I was dry 18 months on Oct 24th and have found a soda water and a lime twist will get me through most social situations. I’m kind of excited about trying the cranberry and soda water.

3 Matt November 12, 2009 at 11:16 pm

If the bar is extremely crowded, how do you feel when people order a complicated (but cheap) non-alcoholic? I always feel rude taking up the bartenders scarce time to order something a glass of water or something of that sort.

4 Gus November 12, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Great post! I don’t drink but I do like to go out to the bar with my friends and I appreciate the suggestions on branching out from just a water or Coke.

I would like to hear what Mike has to say about Matt’s question though, because I feel the same way-like the non-alcoholic guy might bother the bartender. But I do always tip well.

Finally, you recommend red bull on the rocks as one of the drinks to make people thinking you’re really drinking, but what would people think you were drinking?

5 Will Canuck November 13, 2009 at 12:23 am

Here is an article suggestion: ” how to tip…Like a man”

Have you done this one? I travel all over the US, mostly for business and the tipping rules have become hard to justify in the age of do-most-of-it-yourself travel amenities. A global view on the subject would be appreciated.

6 Michael November 13, 2009 at 1:02 am

I love it! About half the time I don’t feel like drinking alcohol, and some of these are great options. I usually just have a Jones Soda (a lot of bars around here carry it) on ice with a lime, or a soda water with lime like Timothy. Sometimes the soda-water option is free (but less often as time goes by).

And of course, I remember to tip my bartender well – my drink might be cheap, but the bartender still has to make it.

7 Fin November 13, 2009 at 1:30 am

Great idea for a post! I don’t drink very often and what I suggest is just telling the bartender that you want something non-alcoholic and let him use his creativity to whip something up for you. I’ve gotten some very tasty concoctions by doing this.

8 Beat Attitude November 13, 2009 at 5:02 am

If you’re not a drinker, then it can be just as important NOT to hide the fact (though I understand there are some situations where it’s best not to draw attention to it). When with friends, you don’t want to have to be dishonest or secretive. Teetotalism or just not drinking is laudable, not something to be ashamed of.
You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, to go on a guilt-trip crusade like a vegetarian who says “I just believe animals were murdered so you could eat” or something…
I often find saying the following is enough for people to let it go:

* I just decided never to get into it
* I enjoy the company enough without it
* I just never saw it as really necessary for a good night
* I just get sleepy/boring/annoying when I drink
* I enjoy the night less when I drink
* I just prefer the taste of drinks without alcohol

If you make it into something interesting or challenging like “I think booze feeds one of humanity’s biggest problems, which is the desire for escapism and not face up to reality, and I want no part in it” or “drunkenness and alcoholism cost the country a fortune, and I stand against anything that promotes it”. This might be true, but saying it to people who are onto their 3rd or 4th beer is not going to make for a fun night.

I think it’s worth gently challenging the popular idea that alcohol is a requirement for social occasions, or even that it is the real reason for social occasions. So many people drink irresponsibly, it can be good to gently “witness” to them that there is a perfectly legitimate alternative. You might get a bit of a ribbing, but if you can take *that* like a man, then people will respect you all the more than if you can down 10 beers without slurring your speech.

9 wzlbrmf November 13, 2009 at 5:31 am

In my own experience the taste of non-alcoholic beers has vastly improved in the last couple of years. Living in Munich, Germany I prefer Bitburger Alkoholfrei 0,0% or Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Alkoholfrei. But the former being hard to find and the latter being rather sweet I often end up with a Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Leicht.

10 Joe November 13, 2009 at 5:49 am

This is good stuff I wish I had seen this when I did not drink. I used to just have Coke and my teeth were not happy. It’s not that common but Erdinger Alkoholfrei is probably the best alcohol free beer I’ve found.

11 Sam November 13, 2009 at 6:59 am

Hate alcohol. Love this article.

12 Jeremiah November 13, 2009 at 7:09 am

I understand the reasoning behind this post, but if we’re promoting true masculinity on the site (which has been done admirably in most posts,) then I think integrity is something that cannot be forgotten. If you want to order these drinks for their own sake, then that’s fine. But if you’re doing it to hide the fact that you’re not drinking, then something’s wrong. You’re (presumably?) not in high school any more – you can’t make your decisions with impressing your peers as the main objective.

Anyway, I’m a freshman at one of Boston’s biggest party schools, and if I can have fun and make friends without drinking at parties, it shouldn’t be an issue for most of you. (P.S. I am not against drinking, just underage drinking.)

13 Joseph Lenze November 13, 2009 at 8:38 am

Jeremiah – I think most of the visitors to the site have the cajones to stand behind their choices. However, hiding the fact that you are not drinking is often just to not attract unwanted attention. When I’m designated driver, often I get sick of explaining to 25 unique people why I don’t want a shot or why I’m drinking a soda. Sometimes it’s nice to just chill and converse about something other than the fact that you aren’t drinking.

14 Miss Gabriel November 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

Thanks for this post SO MUCH!! For some reason or other I’ve never gone into the drinking scene – it’s not a matter of principle with me so much as that I have no interest :-) Thanks for this, I always dislike fielding questions!

15 Sam Granger November 13, 2009 at 10:14 am

Can I just say don’t forget the Arnold Palmer (About half Lemonade and half Ice Tea)?

I love these more than life itself at times, which is what I hear people say about their alcoholic drinks here and there. Some bars I’ve gone to have dabbled with a recipe. I actually think the best one I had was at the Congress Hotel in Tucson, AZ. They made it with a sweet black tea and a homemade limeade. With a twist of lemon and the optional Bourbon/Dillinger sidecar you can drink them with or without a shot and still enjoy yourself.

It’s got a cool name, it’s refreshing, and it’s like the non-alcoholic version of a black and tan.

16 Matt November 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

When I was under 21 and would go out with friends, I would always order coffee. Costs a couple of dollars at most, and they refill it multiple times.

17 Luis Q November 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

Thanks for the post, I usually just got a beer so people wouldn’t bother about it. Now it seems like it will be a interesting experience to try all that.

18 Piper November 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

When I was a Bartender we had the “unleaded” that we gave as a free one or two to patrons that had over imbibed. It was the UNcola and bitters, with a lime wedge, tastes good, looked like they were getting a mixed drink, and slowed down their drinking. I like it and still order it when I am the DD. Now we did have a case of the old Uncocla http://www.retroland.com/pages/retropedia/food/item/6493/memories/?section=detail&id=10020 Glasses that we served it in, and that made it cool….I guess

19 Mike Hagan November 13, 2009 at 11:42 am

Matt, to answer your question about what to do when it’s busy and you don’t feel like annoying your bartender with making NA drinks…don’t worry about it! I can’t speak for all bartenders out there, but from where I stand, my #1 job is to make the customer happy, no matter what he wants. If he wants something crazy, I’ll make it. If he wants just water, I’ll make it. I don’t need to know why…I’m just moving down the line of customers. And no matter what you order, you’ll always get a smile from a bartender when you cough up the dough for a tip!

Sam Granger – The Arnold Palmer is in the article, right underneath the paragraph that introduces the “You Don’t Care If People Know If You’re Not Drinking” section.

Jeremiah – I appreciate your conviction. And I agree with you 100%. But there are a lot of different people out there, and everyone’s situation is different. Case in point: I have a sales guy that comes in to town one Wednesday a month with clients…and boy do his clients drink! They sit up at the bar and talk business and eat appetizers and get blitzed. A while back, the sales guy says to me before his clients arrive “Man, I really hate coming here with these guys…I feel like crap the next day. But they expect me to drink!” He wanted to drink a few with them, but not as much as they wanted to. He’s a vodka & tonic guy, so he gave me a drink limit at which point I would switch him to just tonic without telling anyone. We do it all the time now, and it works wonders. Not that his clients would shun him for not drinking, but it avoids the inevitable awkwardness.

Joe & wzlbrmf – I’m looking forward to trying those NA beers! Thanks for the tip!

20 Greg November 13, 2009 at 11:51 am

Another option, at least in my area is Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider. Looks almost exactly like champagne (admittedly not the really “top shelf” brands) or sparkling wine, even comes in a champagne bottle. I’ve even had this mistaken for a beer when served in the appropriate glass. It is fruit juice, so you do have to watch the consumption, but it’s nice and tasty, not too sweet, either.

21 Mike November 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I wasn’t able to drink for 9 months because I was taking pills that metastasized in my liver for inactive Tuberculosis, so I would always order a a tonic water and lime. I would joke that it was my TB Triple Play. 1) It kinda tastes alcoholic. 2) It looks alcoholic. 3) And, if you tell the bartender you are the DD, you will drink for free. I must have saved at least $1500. Additionally, I felt extremely sharp and on point constantly, and it is amazing what we miss at the end of the night inebriated.

22 Steve-o November 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm

“A Shirley Temple” that suggestion alone invalidates this whole website. I can just imagine me ordering one with the guys one night. I would expect at least some verbal abuse… both from the guys and the barmaid. At worse I would get my ass kicked.

23 Terry Hart November 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Great article! I would add another reason for not drinking – being in recovery for alcohol and/or substance abuse! One of the things I like about AA is that it suggests that you don’t have to avoid bars/social situations that involve drinking if you have a good reason to be, and that there’s no reason to judge those who do continue to enjoy drinking. In many professions (sales/law/etc.) a lot of socializing revolves around drinking, and a man would be remiss to pass up these networking opportunities.

My go-to drink is usually the first suggestion, tonic water with lime/lemon. I’m one of those rare people who actually enjoyed the taste of alcohol, so tonic water has a nice bitter, ‘grown-up’ taste to it that doesn’t make me sick like drinking glass after glass of soda would (plus it has less calories and protects you from malaria lol)

To Jeremiah – ‘hiding’ the fact that you’re not drinking isn’t about integrity. As others have mentioned, it can be a pain to explain to person after person why you don’t drink all the time. And when you’re socializing with casual drinkers, it’s not really their business to be granted an explanation, anymore than, say, it’s their business to have an explanation of your religious beliefs, your 401(k) strategy, or your tipping philosophy. I don’t hide the fact that I don’t drink if someone asks, but I don’t feel the need to advertise the fact.

24 Vincent LoGreco November 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I used to go to a bar in college before I could legally drink alcohol there. My draw to that bar was that they had Saranac Root Beer on tap. I loved it and wished I could find a bar in my current area that serves it that way. If your curious, the bar is Beander’s Due North in Elkins, WV.

25 Brian Escamilla November 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm

My wife would love this article. She hates the taste of alcohol but doesn’t want to feel left out.

26 Philip Barber November 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Great article, AoM. Nice to see the man culture represented without the drinking of alcohol as prerequisite. Pick up a “men’s” magazine, and I’d wager there’ll be at least one piece on some form of alcoholic beverage. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with alcohol: whether or not to drink is a personal choice. But it’s nice to hear the other choice acknowledged.

27 Traveling Salesman November 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Cool article. I agree with Jeremiah that a man shouldn’t hide that he’s drinking simply because he’s afraid to let his friends know where he stands, but I can think of situations where you would want to hide it that have nothing to do with integrity.

-The pregnant woman who doesn’t want to tell her friends yet that she’s pregnant.
-People like the guy above who has a health problem or is taking a medication and they don’t want to tell people about their health problem.
-People who are recovering alcoholics but don’t want to announce that to people.
-Salesmen who want to show clients a good time but don’t want to get off their game themselves.

I can personally identify with the last example. I’m a salesman and I sometimes take clients out to drink. I want them to feel free to have a good time, but I don’t want to get drunk myself. I could say to them that okay, my next one is just going to be plain tonic water, but I feel like when someone says that they’re kind of subtly putting the kibotz on the others drinking which makes you and them feel awkward. So I do like the sales guy described above and let them keep drinking while I switch to something NA. Here it is not about my convictions or integrity but simply making sure the clients have a good time. That’s my job as a salesman.

28 QtD November 14, 2009 at 2:31 am

A truly great article. Too often, I’ve had to cut customers off to protect my employees, and knowing N/A Drinks might help mitigate this. One of my favorite N/A cocktails is called “Sober Thoughts”-tonic, lime-juice, orange juice, and a splash of grenadine.

29 Scott November 14, 2009 at 8:14 pm

One of the problems with being a non-drinker in a college town is just plain quantity of fluids.

I’m occasionally the DD and if we’re all dancing or something it’s nearly impossible to stay hydrated in some bars You can get a half-gallon of beer in a heartbeat, but they’ll shell out diet cokes in 6 oz glasses that take forever to get. Getting a pitcher of water or of soda is nearly impossible too. The bars are there to firehose (yes, it’s a verb now) alcohol and there are often problems getting anything else. My solution at parties is to just bring my own, but bars are pretty squirrely about it.

The great payoff is getting to be just as silly as everyone else without having a hangover the next day or worried about being arrested for impaired driving.

30 Harland November 15, 2009 at 7:56 am

Great article. Like others above, I’m a salesperson and don’t drink alcohol. Although I’m up front about it with all my clients, drinking sodas gets boring quick so I like to mix it up (so to speak). I also don’t like to pretend I’m drinking to fool others. The soda water and splashes are a great choice for taste. At the beginning of the night I also like juices and ginger ale. Especially pineapple and ginger ale (after a while it is too much sugar).
As for telling people. I usually say, “By the end of the night, I’m really funny to everyone else.” That usually gets a laugh, breaks any tension if there was any. The key point is not to be judgemental, enjoy their company and have a good time. However, if you don’t drink, it is usually tasteful to leave before the crew is completely smashed (unless you are driving everyone home).

31 jim November 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm

St Pauli NA!!!

32 Keith Brawner November 16, 2009 at 8:40 am

Will, you have mentioned that it would be nice if Alex were to write a guide to tipping.

I have good news for you, my friend!

http://artofmanliness.com/2008/06/24/gentlemans-guide-how-much-should-tip/

33 Mike November 16, 2009 at 10:17 am

I tend to be around heavy drinkers more often than not and have found that most are quite upset when you aren’t drinking with them. I switched form my old standby of Jack and coke some time ago in favor of Vodka and Soda. The benefits are: not as much sugar, I drink them slower, and I can switch out to just plain soda without anyone noticing.

34 Cameron W November 17, 2009 at 11:54 am

I often find that a glass of soda water with a lime wedge is just the thing to drink when I am not “drinking”. It tastes good (i love dry drinks) and looks like a gin and tonic (my usual drink of choice).

great post, keep ‘em coming.

C

35 Eric November 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I tend to just go to a few places pretty regularly, wether to hang with friends, or just for dinner. They see me often enough now that I can just order the usual, and I get it just how I like it.

Orange juice and grenadine on the rocks. Most people wont bother you or ask about it, and for the ones who are all like that about the drinking, even if they taste it most cant figure out what it is. I got a whole table of people drinking them cause they wanted them too, and the next day I had a good chuckle with the wiatress about the placebo effect on a couple of them who acted drunker and drunker while drinking orange juice all night.

36 Gary Olson November 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Microbrewery root beers are often just as well crafted as the beers; and complement the pizza well. Warning: you may never drink mass market grocery store root beers again.

37 Jacknut November 19, 2009 at 10:31 am

This is great! I’m keeping this around for everyone who comes over and doesn’t drink.

38 jack November 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I’m all for being sober. But at least make sure you have one drunk idiot around to make fun of.

39 WDG November 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I highly recommend a San Pellegrino Sanbitter. It’s a non-alcoholic aperitif that taste a little like a sweeter Campari and soda. There are very few drinks on the market that have that strong, bitter taste. Most common sodas are too sweet, with little real taste.
Pellegrino also makes a bitter drink called Chinotto that’s similar.

40 James November 24, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Usually I will just ask if they have anything special for the DD’s. And if you’re like Steve-o and want to avoid the onslaught of verbal hazing for ordering a “Shirley Temple”, just ask for a Sprite and grenadine, it seems a little more dignified. That was my solution when I was too embarrassed to order one from the attractive new bartender at the local pool hall.

41 aussie December 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

i lived in a mining town in a remote part of aussie, i had ambition,after a girlfriends death in a car crash i started drinking age 17, the mining towns had a hard drinking culture and i joined it to the max.
at the age of 55 and reflecting back on life i can only say drinking did me no favours,it was a waste of precious time and lost opportunities.
i gave it away cold turkey 4 months ago and feel great,although friday night is a struggle,I cant wait for the reunion with the boys when i order a “milk”
I think you should have the balls to say “I dont drink”
I wont let anyone translate” i dont drink “as” i dont fight”
and no i have not found god I am just a more enlightened black heathen who will stand tall wherever i go and drink what i want,……..got a problem with that?

42 Jen March 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm

My very manly dad (a true gent) doesn’t drink and always orders either root beer or a Shirley Temple. He just loves the look on the server’s face when he does. Oh, in NYC, a Shirley Temple is grenadine and ginger ale. Grenadine and 7up is a Roy Rogers. Both taste extra zippy with a dash of bitters.

43 Hemm Tim March 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Just don’t drink and drive!

44 Jay April 8, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Bitters is alcoholic

45 Gaston April 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I just say “I’m driving, so I’ll have a Virgin Mary with a bottle of Tabasco sauce for the table”. I like mine really peppery-hot, so I get a sufficient “manly factor” to suit the hard drinking, got to prove yourself type companions, and I stay sober. Besides … a Virgin Mary is really good if it’s made well. You can’t really taste the alcohol in a spicy Bloody Mary, anyway.

46 soberguy April 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

If you’re ever in France check out Amstel Free the stuff is amazing. It’s less than 1% alcohol, in the US “non-alcoholic” beer is less than .5%, that .5% must make a big difference because the stuff is tasty.

My US non-alcoholic beer of choice is Beck’s NA but they are all decent, even Sharps and O’Douls if you don’t drink it too often.

Sober guys slay the gash in bars. It’s almost too easy.

47 Tyler December 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

My friends laughed at me the last time I tried ordering a virgin Cuba Libre (rum & coke sans rum). They still joke about it now, and I just shrug it off. I’ll have to try some of these the next time I’m out.

48 Tristan December 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure, but if you like “hoppy” beers (and are looking for an N.A.) then I’d recommend Clausthaler. It is magnificent.

49 Tom August 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm

The Best NA beer by far is Clausthauler.
I like it better than most beers. Unlike Buckler Kaliber which are slightly flat and both too sweet, it is dry and has a great head. St. Pauli Girl NA is a close second. It is a great one if you want to keep it on the QT as the bottle is almost impossible to discern from the real thing.

50 bts September 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Great article. I usually get Sprite at the bar when I’m not drinking, but it’s got a lot of calories. Might try some alternatives

51 Jess October 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Bitters and soda. Looks like a drink but isn’t a drink. Though bitters are made with alcohol if you use less than 5-6 dashes you can make a non-alcoholic drink for people avoiding alcohol or driving. If you have allergies or other issues I suppose that’s a different story.

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