Ideas for non-drinkers at a party
I may not drink alcohol any more, but I still love a party, especially when it is thrown by friends to celebrate, share important news, or bring people together for the hell of it.
You always put in so much effort. Nice food, great playlist, inspiring speeches, great wine, quality beer … and a carton of cheap orange juice, water … ah!
I really don’t want to be a party pooper. But if you’re not drinking then the choices are often a bit of a let down. I feel unloved!
Here is my handy guide to extending the fun and love at your party to everyone, regardless of what they are drinking. I hope this is a post that will empower people not wanting to drink at events to RSVP with a plea ‘for something interesting to drink’ and those organising parties to go a bit wild on the non-alcoholic front when it comes to drink choices.
Make sure you have as much choice in the soft drinks as alcoholic ones
Serving beer, wine and champagne? Then find three equally nice choices for your non-drinking guests. Here are some ideas:
Wine — why not try making up some nice jugs of posh cordial with chilled water. I like this Jasmine Tea cordial from Waitrose, and a nettle cordial has a hint of Sauvignon about it. Or you could try a de-alcoholised wine.
Serving beer — stock some of the nice German low alcohol or no-alcohol ones as well. You can see some of our suggestions and expert reviews here, Erdinger Alkoholfrei is easy to get hold of. Or new kids on the block Dry Drinker have a selection of the best.
Personally I prefer soft brews. Alfresco drinks have a fermented grape juice called Anon.
If you are serving bubbles, then make sure your soft drink is just as luxurious. Belvoir do lots of lovely elderflower drinks. I like it topped up with fizzy water for sparkle.
And if your winter or Christmas party demands mulled wine, then try Bottlegreens Spiced Berry, or pop into Holland and Barrett for some Rochester Mulled Berry Punch which can be heated and dressed with the normal bits and pieces.
Be proud and dress to impress
This drink is as important as the wine, beer or cocktail. Let it do the job.
- Add it to your invite. It may tip the balance for someone you would love to come, if they see they have something more than a glass of water to nurse for the whole the evening
- Let it be seen alongside all the other drink choices (it’s hard to pick something you can’t see!).
- Dress it and chill it — ice, a twist of lime, and an appropriate glass make all the difference.
Water is for everyone
Fizzy or still, it is not just a non-alcoholic drink option, it is rehydration for everyone.
Talking to your venue or caterer
Remember, it’s your party. Give them enough notice and they can get anything you want. Don’t let them fob you off with what they do already, or just something cheap and nasty. If you don’t think what they have suggested is good enough for your guests, then be demanding. Feel free to point them here for some ideas.
Going to a reception or do?
Whether you are going to an event or to a friends, ask about non-alcoholic options when you RSVP. Think of it like being a vegetarian; most people will work to accommodate your dietary needs, as long as you aren’t making absurd impossible requests. I have done this quite a few times, and then enjoyed myself immensely noticing how many people are drinking the fancy non-alcoholic offering I’ve asked for. Wedding, award, celebration? Here we like to channel J-Lo: “raise the glass, take a minute sip” and then put it down. Feel proud that you looked the part and will continue to look the part for the rest of the evening!
Making a soft drink an acceptable choice
Choosing not to have a boozy drink is not a rebuff of your hospitality. In fact it is a real testament to the importance of this event to your guest. They came along to your event with the normal expectation that there would be little or nothing for them to drink. They came to see you.
Instead of asking them why they are not drinking, or feeling they are being neglected without your wine or beer, your time will be much better spent talking about all those mutual interests that bring you to this shindig in the first place.
If you are organising a business event, by taking this approach you or your company make it easier for your colleagues and friends to make their own choices at the event too. And if your guests are also your customers, you wouldn’t want some of them to feel less valued?