The Ultimate Guide for Pairing and Enjoying Alcohol-Free Drinks at a Bar

We all know of the famous phrase- 'Alcohol is a great social lubricant'. While it is true, it isn't the only way to socialize.

We get it. On your alcohol-free journey it may be easier to avoid socializing. Well, we are here to tell you that you don't have to choose between staying off alcohol and staying home! You can socialize while making sure that you stay away from alcohol! We are not doing any shallow preaching here either; this article walks you through the nitty-gritty of a booze-free social life, and how to achieve it.

The importance of non-alcoholic drinks in social settings

First, we begin with the social setting itself. It becomes 10x harder to stick to your resolve when the setting demands you to have a drink or a few. This is why if you have any say in the way the social activity is organized, you should push for non-alcoholic options. Regardless of whether you are the one on a booze cleanse or not. This would of course not apply in settings whose organization aspect is not in your control (We have some relevant tips coming for you later in the article!).

Non-alcoholic drinks are essential in social settings for several reasons:

  • Inclusivity: Not everyone drinks alcohol for various reasons, such as health, religion, or personal beliefs. Having non-alcoholic options ensures that everyone feels included and comfortable in social situations.
  • Safety: Drinking alcohol in excess can impair judgment, leading to accidents and injuries. Having non-alcoholic drinks available allows people to pace themselves and stay in control of their drinking.

The benefits of alcohol-free drinking in social settings

  • Improved health: Consuming alcohol in excess can have negative effects on physical and mental health, including liver damage, increased risk of cancer, and mood swings. Opting for alcohol-free drinks can improve overall health and well-being.
  • Clearer mind: Drinking alcohol can impair judgment and cognitive function, making it difficult to communicate effectively and make sound decisions. Choosing alcohol-free drinks allows for a clearer mind and more meaningful interactions.
  • More enjoyable experiences: Enjoying social events and activities without alcohol can help individuals fully engage in the experience and remember the event clearly. It can also promote a sense of control over one's actions and prevent negative consequences, such as regrettable behavior or accidents.

The rise of alcohol-free bars and their role in promoting non-alcoholic drinks

Alcohol-free bars, also known as "sober bars" or "dry bars," have been gaining popularity in recent years. Especially, as people are seeking alternative social spaces that promote healthier lifestyles and non-alcoholic options. These bars offer a variety of alcohol-free drinks, including mocktails, craft sodas, and kombucha, creating a unique social experience that centers around socializing rather than drinking.

    How to order non-alcoholic drinks at a bar?

    • Check the menu: Many bars now offer a selection of non-alcoholic drinks on their menu, so start by checking if any of these options appeal to you.
    • Ask the bartender: If there are no non-alcoholic drinks listed on the menu, don't be afraid to ask the bartender if they can recommend a non-alcoholic option. They may have some creative ideas or suggestions.
    • Specify your preferences: When ordering a non-alcoholic drink, specify your preferences to the bartender. For example, if you prefer something sweet or sour or if you like a particular flavor, be sure to let the bartender know.
    • Ask for customization: Most bartenders are happy to customize a drink to your liking. For example, if you see a cocktail on the menu that you like, ask the bartender to make it without the alcohol.
    • Be open-minded: Don't be afraid to try new things. Bartenders can often create unique and delicious non-alcoholic drinks that you may not have considered before.

    Tips for communicating with bartenders and servers

    Communicating with bartenders or servers remains the same experience for non-drinkers as it is for alcohol drinkers. However, we do understand that for people who are not used to knowing what non-alcoholic drinks to order at a bar, the situation can seem daunting. Or that they would judge you for not 'ordering right'. Here is a short run-down of everything you need to keep in mind before ordering your drink:

    • Be clear and concise: When ordering, be clear about what you want and how you want it. For example, if you want a non-alcoholic drink, specify that you want it without alcohol.
    • Be polite and respectful: Treat bartenders and servers with respect and courtesy. Remember that they are professionals and are there to provide excellent service.
    • Ask for recommendations: If you're unsure what to order, ask the bartender or server for recommendations. They can often provide great suggestions based on your preferences.
    • Be patient: Bartenders and servers are often very busy, so be patient if they are not able to assist you immediately. They will get to you as soon as they can.

    Popular non-alcoholic drink options and how to order them

    1. Wander + Found Rosé:

    We know that brunch with your girls is just not the same without wine. You don't get the same kick out of the gossip without a glass. Wander+Found Rosé is an award-winning wine with citrus and ripe berry notes. It makes for a surprisingly long finish that will leave you satisfied.

    2. Wander + Found Sparkling Cuvée Blanc:

    Another major occasion where drinking seems second nature to us is- celebrations! It is hard to ignore a toast when you are happy and celebrating. On those occasions, Wander + Found Sparkling Cuvée Blanc is a perfect fit. Made by some of the bestGerman winemakers, this wine is a perfect balance of dry with just the right touch of sweetness.

    3. The Spirit of Gin:

    There is a non-alcoholic option for everyone, whether you enjoy beer, wine or spirits. The Spirit of Gin is a smooth floral substitute for the London dry gin. Highlights of this gin are the notes of citrus and cardamom, which makes the gin feel quite authentic, minus the health issues.

    4. Ritual Tequila Alternative:

    One of the best tequila alternatives on the market, Ritual is a bronze-winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition! With 0 calories and low sugar, this will be the perfect addition to your alcohol-free margarita!

    5. The Spirit of Bourbon:

    Are you a classic Kentucky bourbon drinker? Then this is the alternative for you. Laced with rich caramel and oak flavors, the Spirit of Bourbon is the smoothest, malt-iest, and most fragrant alcohol-free bourbon you'll find.

    How to customize non-alcoholic beverages to suit individual preferences

    • Choose a base: Start by selecting a base for your beverage. This can be NA wine, AF spirits, soda water, tonic water, juice, or any other non-alcoholic drink.
    • Adjust the sweetness: Adjust the sweetness of your beverage by adding sugar, honey, or another sweetener. You can also reduce the sweetness by using fewer sweeteners or by adding more bitter or sour elements.
    • Adjust the acidity: You can adjust the acidity of your drink by adding lemon or lime juice, vinegar, or other acidic elements. This can help balance the flavors in your glass, especially if they tend towards the sweet side.

    How to pair non-alcoholic beverages with food

    • Consider the flavor profile of the food: When choosing a non-alcoholic beverage to pair with food, consider the flavor profile of the dish. For example, a spicy dish may pair well with a beverage that has a cooling effect, such as iced tea or a mint-based drink.
    • Look for complementary flavors: Choose flavors that complement the dish. For example, a citrus-based choice can pair well with seafood or a salad.
    • Consider the texture of the food: The texture of the food can also influence the choice. A rich and creamy dish may pair well with a drink that has a refreshing and crisp taste, such as sparkling water or a fruit-based drink.

    Tips for pairing non-alcoholic drinks with different types of cuisine

    1. Mexican cuisine: Mexican cuisine often features bold and spicy flavors. To complement these flavors, try pairing the food with a refreshing choice such as a non-alcoholic white wine, or a non-alcoholic margarita.
    2. Japanese cuisine: Japanese cuisine often features delicate and subtle flavors. To complement these flavors, try pairing the food with green tea, a cucumber-based beverage, or a light, fruity drink.
    3. Middle Eastern cuisine: Middle Eastern cuisine often features spices and bold flavors. To complement these flavors, try pairing the food with sparkling NA wines, or a fruity seltzer!
    4. American cuisine: American cuisine features a wide range of flavors, from savory to sweet. To complement these flavors, try pairing the food with a classic beer, a lemonade, or a California non-alcoholic wine. 

    How to use flavor profiles to create a complementary pairing experience

    • Identify the dominant flavors: Identify the dominant flavors in the food, such as spicy, sweet, sour, or salty. This will help you choose a non-alcoholic beverage that complements and balances the flavors of the food.
    • Use contrasting flavors: Pairing a non-alcoholic choice with contrasting flavors can enhance the flavors of both the beverage and the food. For example, pairing a spicy dish with a sweet and fruity option can help balance out the spiciness.


      Alcohol is not tied to a good time, and we all know that deep inside. As a kid, we never needed a drop of alcohol to have the absolute time of our lives. And the same applies to us today because we are the same person. However, it is easier said than done. For someone taking the leap into the non-alcoholic path, every action requires a conscious push, especially at the start. The article outlined most of the necessary pointers you might need. But the most important part of it all is to let loose and be chill. Overthinking and anxiety around social settings can make you crave alcohol more. So it is important to have fun with it.

      As a leading non-alcoholic beverage marketplace, at Better Rhodes, we have the opportunity to make a significant impact in the non-alcoholic marketplace. One way to do this is promoting the health benefits of non-alcoholic options.

      YOU can also play a role in promoting a healthy, non-alcoholic life by choosing our products, sharing your positive experiences on social media, and providing feedback. By working together, we can help create a positive non-alcoholic community that provides delicious, diverse, and inclusive options for all.