The booze was gifted. The sobriety renewing. And the fun can be everlasting, because sober soirées are in, and the only consequence is a good time for the body and the party soul.
With a new apartment and plenty of space, I got to thinking about my bar corner and what should be in it.
My mom’s favourite had to be present (or I’d be getting a talking-to), and bubbly had to be aplenty. Since most Capetonians have evolved into Gin denizens, Tonic is an absolute necessity in any bar worth its salt…but what else?
Then I remembered something so important: I have a friend who decided to quit drinking, and who actively seeks out and prefers restaurants & bars with interesting non-alcoholic cocktail menu options.
She deserves to be thought of in the same spirit as my other family and friends.
And that’s how I expanded my thinking and shopping parameters.
Long story short: I have a whole amateur DIY bar set up, cute glassware to match, and a decent starter medley of non-alcoholic drinks and mixers sprinkled between the alcoholic booze.
Soft drinks – which remain the go-to option for menus uninspired to create for the sober-minded – can honestly get so boring, too! At least make the garnishes interesting if you end up too lazy to mix together fantastic concoctions, am I right?!
My non-drinking friend may be an anomaly among those closest to me, but the world is full of sober-curious, budgeting, health-conscious, and fully non-drinking people – including celebrities like Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, actress Anne Hathaway, and America’s ‘wellness’ peddler Gwyneth Paltrow.
Some are even choosing ‘Dry Hen’ bachelorette parties, and alcohol-free weddings!
#sobercurious has over 3.2 million views on TikTok
Inspired by my friend and Drink Nil’s challenge to go non-alcoholic, I figured I’d give the sober path a try for a bit too, while I had the goods fresh in my arsenal.
From the CBD-infused to the alcohol-free canned cocktails, bitters, wine, and a world of options in between, who’d have thought how far adult bevvies would come?!
The non-alcoholic lifestyle isn’t anything new. From personal preference to religious beliefs, a lack of dynamic market options, and so many other reasons, there are some people who just do not drink when you encounter them.
According to market research company NielsenIQ, in 2022, sales were up dramatically in the $395 million nonalcoholic adult beverage sector too! By 2028, the market is also slated to grow to a worth of $1.7 trillion according to Fior Markets.
It is big business and getting bigger in 2023, with the South African market also able to shop the latest hits on the market, via Drink Nil.
Tips to Sober Soirées:
1. It’s your party, however, it’s not all about you.
This is where the mindfulness trend comes in.
2. You have to think of who is attending, what they enjoy as well as what their actual needs may be – from dining to facilities.
3. Make your soiree accessible and appealing to your attendees, and not just to your tastes.
4. Give all attendees prior notice of the event or get-together being a booze-free setup.
And give people a heads up on whether the soiree’s beverage picks have health warnings, as some options come with a heads up for the pregnant or those with medical concerns.
5. If you are able to: Provide non-alcoholic drink varieties
And remember that it’s always a better idea to overestimate how many libations (I’m talking mixers here too!) you’re going to need, rather than find yourself cleaned out too early.
You may find more people than you expected are also ‘Sober-Curious’!
6. Make the glassware and/or tableware unique so there’s as much a taste experience as there is a visual experience with the non-alcoholic drinks.
Take heed though: Never favour style over substance. Balance!
7. Have some food favourites that vibe with the tone of the drink varieties
My friends and I love a good cheese or charcuterie board, but there are options from chocolate to finger food and even decadent dinners and easy tacos you can bring into the party!
8. Always have some games or other fun prepared to ensure mingling alone isn’t the only entertainment of the soirée
9. ALWAYS have a banger playlist crooning in the background, and allow attendees to also play one or two of their favourite songs throughout the soirée
10. Try experimenting with desserts like sorbet or ice lollipops featuring the non-alcoholic drinks in them – like lemon gin sorbet.
By the way: YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH ICE!
Buy or freeze up more than 3 trays of fresh ice for use throughout the party.
*BONUS TIP: Always have a stash of throws, jackets, or blankets that guests can grab if they’re feeling a little chilly.
Good hosting is more than the food & drink!
Think you’re ready to host a sober soirée?
If not, start slow. Invite people over for a mixed drinks experience where you emphasize that really great non-alcoholic options aside from soft drinks, will be available.