One of the things I love about Austin is that there are lots of places in town to get a great drink, and more are popping up all the time. When I was in college getting a drink meant a vodka tonic or a terrible whiskey sour, and pretty much nothing more than that. I embrace the return of cocktails wholeheartedly!
Of course, now that I’m older I also appreciate the option to not drink. Unfortunately, many bars, restaurants, and food events don’t recognize that fact – or that if you don’t want to drink, you might also not want to sip on mineral water or soda every time. (Food event planners: please consider offering sober passes to your events! Some of us can’t afford to spend the extra $40 that goes toward booze if we’re not partaking.) I’ll be honest when I say that sometimes I’ve ordered more drinks than I should just because my friends were still drinking. Yep, it’s stupid.
Did you know that last December in Texas alone there were 78 deaths as a result of drunken driving? Sure Texas is a large state, but multiply that by 50 and we’ve got a huge problem.
I’m happy to see the Texas Department of Transportation roll out their Holiday P.A.S.S. (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) program again this year, but with a little twist – they’ve teamed up with the creative folks behind Peché and Cherry Street to create some delicious nonalcoholic alternatives for the season. Being the sober driver shouldn’t be considered a punishment. Let’s help remove that stigma so we can all have a happy holiday!
The drinks that were created are just as fun as your standard cocktail, with familiar flavors and festive names for the season: Home Safe Merry Cherry, Yule Be Safe Sipper, No Alco-Holly Basil Lime Spritzer, and Sober Snowman. The recipe for my favorite is below, but head on over to the TxDOT Holiday P.A.S.S. resource page for printables of all the recipes, and be sure to offer one or more at your next holiday gathering!
(makes enough syrup for approximately 10 drinks)
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lime
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup loosely packed basil
Sparkling water or club soda
Simmer the water with the basil and lime zest for ten minutes. Let cool and add sugar and lime juice, stirring until fully dissolved. Strain to remove basil and lime zest.
Add 1 ounce of the Basil-Lime Syrup to a glass; fill to top with sparkling water or club soda and ice. Garnish with lime slice and basil.
Recipe by Robe Pate. Photo by Melissa Skorpil. Reprinted courtesy of Texas Department of Transportation.
What nonalcoholic drinks do you like to serve at parties?