Alcohol is synonymous with socializing in most parts of the world. In some countries, it is omnipresent at rituals. Nothing like the holidays to open a new bottle of wine or bubbly. But things are starting to change.
More and more, traditional alcohol is being replaced by non-alcoholic drinks, which use the ingredients that lend alcohols their distinct flavors and aromas but with minimal or no ethanol. This means you can have four glasses of non-alcoholic wine at your Christmas party without bumping into furniture.
Give some thought to serving non-alcoholic drinks at your New Year's Eve party or upcoming celebrations in 2023. Here are our tips to help you get started.
Celebrations And Their Value Systems: How Alcohol And Partying Are Carried Around The World
Alcohol came to be included in festive, religious and cultural occasions after being sanctioned by apex religious bodies. The Catholic Church regards sacramental wine to be the blood of Jesus Christ. In Judaism, wine is integral to Sabbath and Passover Seder meals, and during the feasts of Purim. The Fali people of Cameroon drink millet beer during every ritual to warm their bodies for initiation ceremonies.
While alcohol is a great way to keep warm during winter breaks, it is also consumed to crank up the fun on major holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, Labor Day, and Mardi Gras. Needless to say, alcohol features on party menus too. A few other drinking practices are lesser known - take a look.
Some Traditional Celebrations Around The World that Include Alcohol
Alcohol forms a part of festivities and rituals in Germany, Spain and Ukraine. In Australia, where drinking is an important social act, a certain ritual is expected of mates gathering to...well drink.
- Germany has a pre-wedding drinking practice whereby groomsmen surprise the bride with a mock abduction and leave the groom with hints to find them. They take her to a pub and wait for the groom to arrive and buy them drinks as ransom to get his wife back.
- At weddings in Ukraine, brides must keep their feet on the ground to avoid their shoes being taken. Whoever is successful in taking the bride's shoes earns the right to make unreasonable demands. Quite often, the wedding party is also made to drink wine from the bride's shoes.
- At Spain's Haro wine festival, participants are doused in gallons of red wine. The only conditions are that they must wear white and revel in the wine battle.
- In Australia, the ritual of 'shout' involves friends gathering at a pub taking turns to buy drinks for all others in a group. They 'shout' the round of drinks, and everyone in the group is expected to return the favor.
Challenges Of Consuming Alcoholic Drinks
Heavy and frequent drinking can damage your brain, liver, heart and pancreas. And while past studies suggest the health benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation, recent research has found that it may not be true.
Health effects apart, bringing alcohol to the mix at parties poses the risk of inebriation, which can lead to embarrassing, not to mention, risky situations. And if you've ever had one too many drinks, you'll no doubt know how terrible the morning-after can get.
Bringing Non-Alcoholic Drinks Into The Celebration
There are strong reasons to consider adding non-alcoholic drinks to your party menu, as you'll know below.
Benefits Of Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Non-alcoholic beverages don't pose the health risks of their alcoholic counterparts. As they don't contain ethanol, and use botanicals, they're easy on your body's vital organs. They also happen to be low on carbs, sugar and calories.
The only way you can get drunk on a non-alcoholic drink is if you have exponentially large amounts of it. For example, drinking 1 can of regular beer is equivalent to downing 40 cans of the non-alcoholic version of the alcohol. The bottom line - non-alcoholic drinks are low-risk while ensuring relaxation and upliftment very much like their alcoholic counterparts.
Why Consider Non-Alcoholic Drinks
As you cannot get easily drunk on non-alcoholic drinks, the possibility of intoxication after a night of revelry is minimal to non-existent. You won't wake up with a throbbing headache, nausea, fatigue and/or other hangover symptoms either.
Alcohol at parties can be a problem for non-drinkers. People who don't drink tend to feel left out at parties that serve alcohol. It could prompt them to avoid accepting invites at parties they know will have alcohol. These people could be your colleagues, neighbors, book club or mommy group. Thankfully, you can cater to all guests by serving non-alcoholic drinks.
Drinks For People Who Don't Consume Alcohol
It behooves a good host to consider the needs of party attendees who haven't ever had alcohol for religious or other reasons. Just as one might initiate a beginner into alcohol with something lighter, such as cocktails, so can you add non-alcoholic cocktails to your party menu. Cocktails mask the power and strong taste of alcohol, which may be a bit much for beginners or disliked by those who've tried alcoholic drinks before. Here are some quality non-alcoholic cocktails to look at:
- Splash Cosmopolitan, a blend of cranberry and bright citrus notes, which makes it very easy on the palate.
- Sir. James 101 Pink Gin Tonic, a sophisticated blend of herbs, raspberries and red currants, with a slightly bitter finish
- Sir. James 101 Mojito, which has the distinct minty-fresh and citrus taste of the bubbly rum cocktail, along with a long and balanced finish.
Pairing Non-Alcoholic Drinks With Meals
Here's another reason to incorporate non-alcoholic drinks to your party - they go great with common party dishes. Some pairing to consider are:
- Non-alcoholic gin and tonic with slices of cured meats, cucumber sandwiches, lamb curry, strong cheese, different types of nuts, paté and fudge.
- Non-alcoholic Pinot Noir with steak, grilled fish and vegetables, barbecue pork ribs, lamb chops, pizza and cheese and charcuterie
- Non-alcoholic spritz with fruit, cheese, light charcuterie, potato chips and caviar.
Enjoying Games With Non-Alcoholic Beer
Beer is the most popular game day alcohol. So, it's only natural that the game day party you host has a decent selection of non-alcoholic beers, such as:
- The award-winning Big Drop Brewing Paradiso IPA, which has a mango and grapefruit aroma, and sweet and subtly malty flavor.
- Big Drop Brewing Galactica Extra Dark, a low-alcohol beer whose taste has been described as a chocolate-covered honeycomb.
- Big Drop Brewing Coba Maya, a crisp lawnmower-style lager, whose gently spicy flavor and herbal aroma hits the spot on a warm summer day.
Non-Alcoholic Spirit Recommendations For Your Next Celebration
For special occasions, bring out the gin, tequila or bourbon. Here are our recommendations:
- The Spirit of Gin, a smooth, bright and floral non-alcoholic alternative to a London dry gin, with refreshing notes of citrus, coriander and cardamom.
- The Spirit of Bourbon, a rich, oaky non-alcoholic alternative to bourbon made from all-natural flavors and functional ingredients.
- The Spirit of Tequila, a fiery, earthy non-alcoholic alternative to tequila, boasting an earthy, spicy nose and a smoky, agave-forward palate.
Hopefully, we're leaving you with ideas for your upcoming party. To explore more choices in non-alcoholic drinks, browse Better Rhodes now.