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Five Things to Do to Make Your Non-Drinking Guests Happy This Thanksgiving

November 16, 2010

I’ve never had a drink in my life. Ever. For some reason this freaks people out.

It was my bon chance to included for dinner at a chateau in France no less.  The maison managed to be unassumingly comfortable and magnifique at the same time.

Each course featured a new libation, from champagne to port.

Every time booze was passed my way, I simply said no thanks. After the third time, my host asked, “Are you a recovering alcoholic?”

He could not understand why, when given the opportunity to drink the best of the best in the world, I said no.  Even his  merveilleux mansion happened to be situated on the grounds of a vignoble or vineyard.

“No,” I replied. “I’ve just made the decision not to drink.”

It was a lovely dinner and the host was lovely as well. But why he gotta get up in my grill and grill me about not drinking?

It’s not the only time when I’ve been questioned because of my choice. I think I’ve been questioned more than folks who walk around with underwear on their heads.

I remember flying back from a speaking engagement in Jamaica. There were a group of guys who were clearly feeling no pain. Free champagne was offered on the flight as a perk. When one of the feel-no-pain men overheard me turn the bubbly down, he said, “Then how am I going to take advantage of you if you don’t drink?”

I couldn’t come up with a snappy answer. Blame it on the altitude.

Don’t make your guests answer it. Just offer non-alcoholic options. Always have options available. You may think all of your friends drink.  There could be some among them who are rehabbing.

  1. Don’t call  your non-drinking friends out. In other words you don’t have to make a big deal about it.
  2. You can get faux “champagne” or make your own. Simply use a ratio of two-thirds apple juice to one-third soda water. You can also  try this recipe with cranberry juice. The latter is my favorite drinkwhen I go out.  Adding soda water cuts calories and stretches out your juice.
  3. I’ve always been struck by how beautiful alcoholic drinks look. Drinks without the booze can be just as beautiful. Garnish with wedges of lime, orange or lemon. Dropping in whole cranberries and frozen grapes is also festive. Beautiful glasses are another nice touch.
  4. Use exotic mixes. I have not had better drinks, than I had in Jamaica. They were concoctions made from fruits I had never known of before. Look for the exotic at the grocery story. A little passion, as in fruit, would add some spice to your drink menu. Try mixing one part passion fruit with two parts pineapple juice. Garnish with a stalk of pineapple.
  5. Don’t make any guest explain why they are not drinking. Simply say, “We have alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks today. What’s your pleasure?” Enough said. Lindsay will thank you for it.

Star Tip

  • Be sure to ply all the designated drivers with your non-alcoholic delights.

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