Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants lands you in the most interesting places…
As we wind down 2019 and head into Thanksgiving, I look back with a grateful heart at what can be described as a perfect beginning of what I hope to be one of the best paths in my life. As those of you who have read the blog know, I blindly stumbled into this Mocktail/ alcohol free (AF) movement. My slide into an AF lifestyle was purely by divine design, not so much a choice as an end to things. After a life of casual imbibing, I went from a “one and done” kind of gal to suddenly alcohol makes me sick – period. And being conditioned to avoid things that make us sick, I landed on a path of discovery. Little did I know just where that path would lead.
In January I started the Mocktail MO blog to chronicle my search for AF drinks. The logical next step to move traffic to the blog was to promote it on Facebook and Instagram… amiright? So that’s what I did. On Facebook old friends have given encouragement and support to this new phase in my life, even if they don’t completely understand it. But I suppose that’s what friends are for. Their cheering me on helped me gain confidence when I had no real idea what I was doing. At first I was simply trying to find a place that I could socialize with friends over a drink that didn’t contain alcohol. The search was a short one, because at the beginning there was one restaurant in town that actually had a mocktail menu with actual craft AF drinks. This disappointing fact lead me to change the objective from journaling mocktail finds to a full on mocktail crusade. I became determined to have a mocktail on every menu. And in less than a year, I can barely keep up with all the local restaurants with mocktails on their menu. I can’t take credit for it all, but I do believe that I have contributed consistent if ever so small propulsion in that direction in my hometown. As recognition for that contribution Mocktail MO was featured in Arkansas Life magazine’s “Best of 2019” issue. (That took me by surprise and sent me a bit over the moon.) I was also interviewed by Laura Monteverdi, THV-11’s morning news journalist in her story about the mocktail trend. All of this has confirmed to me that Mocktail MO is more than just a lark, but has a purpose and should continue.
My mantra has become, “Keep going and see what happens.” There have been times when I’ve wondered what’s the point in all this, but a little voice keeps urging me on. My curiosity (see what I did there…? #sobercurious) has fueled me to continue to see what I might find. I’ve discovered that somehow I have landed in the middle of a wave that is global and growing in size. The cool part is that I get to be a part of it all. Remember when I said that this journey was of divine design? I believe that for some real reason my sickness has brought me to a new place in life with the possibility of more. On Instagram I kept hearing echoes of things I had been saying myself. “I don’t want to feel excluded.” “Socializing doesn’t have to be alcohol required.” “Alcohol free cocktails / Mocktails really are a thing and worth more than just a smile and a shrug.” One of the best discoveries has been a tribe of strangers that I didn’t know would become so dear to me. I am proud to share a common ground with the sober community of moving forward in life differently – with honesty, sometimes being fearlessly vulnerable, and unapologetically asking for a world big enough for socializing with and without alcohol.
I have also found an ever expanding market of alcohol free products and people who review them. Unfortunately most of them are sold in Europe, but more and more are making it to – and being made in the U.S. It’s fun and exciting to try all the alcohol alternatives that I find. And although I keep telling people that I am absolutely not a bartender, I am an enthusiastic experimenter. I look forward to a time that we start seeing bottles of the alternatives on the shelves above bars. Who knows what incredible things could be created in the trained hands of a professional? Someday…
Where the future will take this AF wanderer is unknown, but as far as beginnings go… even the yellow brick road’s got nothing on me. If 2020 is anything like this past year has been, I’m in for quite a ride.
I would like to give a special thanks to the generosity of the people and establishments who have played a large roll in this wonderful beginning:
- Laura Monteverdi for her interest in the Mocktail movement, and including me in her story.
- Jordan Hickey for listing Mocktail MO in the Arkansas Life magazine’s Best of 2019 issue.
- Amy Counce at Nexus Coffee and Creative for always saying “Yes” to my crazy ideas.
- Brandy McNair at Bella Vita Jewelry for providing such a lovely platform for sharing Mocktails.
- Atlas Bar and Dustbowl Little Rock for being such fierce competitors in the Monarch of Mocktober competition.
And finally to all the restaurants and bars out there that are willing to open their eyes to something new.
Looking ahead to aspirational hopes and dreams…
- I would like to team up with a local brewery to create a zero proof craft beer. (Yes, even in Arkansas)
- A YouTube “Mocktails with MO” show (Stay tuned!)
- That one of the outcomes of this movement is a future where kids don’t feel compelled to treat alcohol as a rite of passage. (Possibly a high school tour??)
Thanks for joining me and being a part of this journey. Here’s to what happens next.