Sometimes we start out on a mission and grow weary of its pace, either too slow or too fast. I have to say that meeting new people, making new friends, and being a part of a swiftly growing global community of alcohol free imbibers is one of the most rewarding paths I have taken in my life. This new adventure started as a search for something that I thought would be easy, alcohol free cocktails. I quickly found out that so far in Arkansas it is a strange and new concept for most in the hospitality industry. There are a couple of restaurants with mocktails, and a few bartenders willing to play my silly game of “Create a MOtini, MOrita, CosMO”…etc. Not all of them take me seriously, but what keeps me going is the joy it brings to talk to people about sober drinking, and to see the light bulbs switch on when they start to understand the idea. Alcohol is not a requirement to enjoying socializing with people, nor is it the root of all sin in my book. What I’m interested in (and the exponentially growing number of A.F. drinkers agree) is a world where “cocktail” has a broader meaning than just a boozy drink.
I have to credit Instagram, and the wonderful groups of people I find there for spurring me onward. I have definitely found my tribe there. So many people are choosing to be “mindful drinkers” for health reasons, be it lowering calories or wanting to be hangover free. Some are “sober curious”, and looking for an alternative to getting drunk. The inspiring crowd of people who choose to stay sober because of addiction is absolutely remarkable. There is so much care and support in that community, it gives my heart wings. I have also been inspired to continue on this path by certain people I follow. There’s The Mocktail Project that shares my mission and has taken it to the next level being the first to officially serve Mocktails at the Kentucky Derby. Sans Bar and Listen are pop-up event bars that create a safe place for sober people to party. On the other side of the Atlantic, The Virgin Mary bar in Dublin is a completely alcohol free bar. How crazy is that? I mean when you think of Ireland you think of pubs and people downing pints and angry whiskey fights am I right? That picture is changing as of now because of the Virgin Mary. On that note… Europe seems to be way down the road with low and no alcohol drinking. There are so many alcohol-free spirits to choose from it would be easy to create all kinds of sophisticated and complex tasting mocktails. Seedlip is by far the best known alcohol free spirit, and can now be found in the U.S. Caleno, The Bitter Note, and Silk Tree Botanics also sound so interesting, but most aren’t sold in the U.S. making it a challenge to try them.
All this keeps me plugging away here at home in Arkansas. My mission continues to be A Mocktail for Every Menu, and with that in mind I am open to talking to any and all business owners who are curious about expanding their clientele. This is a movement after all, and that starts with educating people. Mine is a “build it and they will come” kind of plan, and I am happily gaining some success. Without going into specifics…yet, I have talked with a few restaurateurs who are interested in adding space on their menus for mocktails. I will also be collaborating with a local hot spot bar to expand their mocktail service. Watch my instagram feed (mocktail.mo) for updates and upcoming events with BellaVita Jewelry and Nexus Coffee and Creative.
I never knew at the beginning just where this journey would take me, and I’m still not completely sure where it will go. I do have ideas on where I’d like to take it. (Possibly becoming the face of the Mocktail Movement?) All I know is I’m having a blast along the way and will continue on the crusade. Mocktails… it really is a thing.