How to Order a Non-Alcoholic Drink at a Bar | Tips from a Bartender
I have a few friends on the Marnie Rae team and they SWEAR by Monica--she's a local bartender who knows the ins and outs (but is relatively new the whole mocktail movement)--and we’re talking about lots of alcohol-free things today!
Monica says some people get it, and some people don’t: “If you go to a bar that has a lot of great ingredients, like bitters in different flavors, you will definitely have a better selection of fun mocktails. Butttt, on the other hand, if you go to a local hole-in-the-wall, your best bet is going to be orange juice, cranberry, and 7-Up, mixed together. I really wish more bartenders were on board with making non-alcoholic drinks look amazing, because that is part of the fun—and it’s important to also include everybody.”
She makes it a point to always have ginger beer and fresh fruit around so that she can put it in a copper mug and add a little garnish. She says, “one of the most important keys to making a good mocktail is the presentation! Instead of putting a mocktail in a plastic glass, let the customer feel included and make their drink beautiful.”
When we asked her if it would be offensive to show a recipe to a bartender and ask them if they’d make that for ya, she said “Non-alcoholic beverages in bars is a really new thing to a lot of bartenders, so if you politely introduce a new drink to a bartender, I would hope that they would be kind to you! I would suggest using phrases like ‘I want something fun that is non-alcoholic, so that I can enjoy my time here with my friends and feel included’ as that comes off a lot better than “Here, make me this!”
She kinda lays it out for us—while it isn’t acceptable by our standards, “If the bartender is rude to you, smile and order a juice in a pretty glass. Some bartenders aren’t ready to make a non-alcoholic drink as gorgeous as they can be. And bad attitudes stink, but are sometimes prevalent in this business.” She goes on to tell us “After dealing with drunk patrons for years, I would LOVE to serve some amazing NA drinks to some nice and friendly (and sober) patrons!”
It’s Monica’s hope that this movement will continue to pick up speed and bartenders can take pride in their NA drinks! She admits to not knowing it all but being willing (and excited) to learn; she says “I am really excited to learn and put into effect some amazing mocktails that Marnie has introduced to the bar and wedding scene!”
When we asked her what the biggest obstacle was in front of bartenders, she said it’s likely they just don’t know enough about mocktails and the movement. She says if you’re at a restrautn or bar and they aren’t, ahem, super duper mocktail friendly, tell them about this movement—tell them to get over to Instagram (and check out the hashtag #SoberNotBoring). The more “people hear about this, the less foreign it will be to all of us bartenders” she says.
Also yes, that got our wheels spinning here at Marnie Rae—should we do a guide for bartenders to help spread the word and show off some of the easiest and tastiest recipes?! Stay tuned ;)
“Often times we give the designated drinkers a free soda pop” but Monica thinks that when bartenders and establishments realize that mocktails are still pricey (meaning not a 99 cent pop), they’ll start to be more receptive to the idea (after all, we all have a bottom line now, don’t we?!).
Monica says: “Mocktails can be so fun and interesting to make. The flavors that you can come up with that will wow your customers is very fulfilling. After all, it is called the service industry for a reason! We love making drinks that our customers enjoy. So why not try making mocktails also! It’s a new thing and hopefully it spreads like wildflowers!”