Taking Ownership of your Non-Alcoholic Drinks

multitude of different glasses

I'm quite ballsy when I'm out about taking ownership of my drinks. When I’m at someone’s house or out in a bar or at an event I am very clear when talking to hosts, waiters, and serving staff about what I want to drink and what vessel I want to drink it in.

This wasn't always the case. When I first got sober and felt like a weird, boring alien on fun boozy planet I would be quite timid when out about my drinks. I felt insecure about being the only non-drinker in the room and shy about making any fuss with the waiters. 

I'd accept a glass of thick, cloying orange juice because it was the only thing on offer, and I'd hold it feeling like a kid amongst adults with a neon sign above my head that said 'CHECK OUT THE NON-DRINKER!!!'.

I'd not flinch when the bartender served my soda water in a short tumbler with a straw that kept falling out, and I'd drink it through the bloody straw too (what-the-hell-was-I-thinking)?

I'd have a coke because coke was offered even though I would never normally buy or drink coke. I don't even like coke. Why did I drink coke?

There's times when I do still have to accept a drink I'd rather not have. Like if a friend has gone to the trouble of concocting a mocktail even though it's far too sweet and I'm not in the mood (or am trying to be sugar-free!). But for the most part nowadays I'm all about being very clear about what I want and not feeling in the slightest bit shy or embarrassed about it. 

I'll say very clearly at the bar, "Can I have soda water with fresh lime please, no ice" and if it arrives with a straw I'll pick it out and leave it sitting on the bar. 

I'll say very politely to a friend who has offered me some juice or fizzy, "to be honest I'd rather just have a water - is that okay?" It always is.

On Saturday I went to a pot-luck dinner and took my own bottle of San Pellegrino. When the hostess saw what I had she offered me a tall glass and rather than just accept it I said politely “actually, do you mind if I use a wine glass?" Of course she didn't.

Last night I went to an event and the bar was set up with champagne flutes and bottles of bubbly wine. I could see a few tumblers stacked on the edge of the table alongside a bottle of apple juice. I was bold and asked the waitress "do you have any fizzy water?". She said "no sorry but I have this jug of still water with lemon". I then said "Ok cool I'll have that please, in a flute." "Sorry?" she didn't hear me. "IN A FLUTE PLEASE" I said very clearly. My girlfriend beside me giggled. No shame!

Unfortunately the lemon water tasted like dirt but at least I was holding a flute like everyone else!

I really think this matters. Our societies are booze soaked, everything is always geared towards drinkers, us non-drinkers are in the minority and why the hell shouldn’t we be bold and clear about what we are holding in our hands and putting in our tummies. 

Be bold! Take ownership! Don't settle for a tumbler if you’d rather have a stem. Tell them if you don’t want ice. Don't drink sickly sweet orange juice if you don't want to. And never, ever use a straw unless there is a mocktail umbrella present. 

Cheers to that.

9 Comments
  1. reena 4 weeks ago

    The plastic cup with a straw is horrid, been there. I remember a waiter telling me they could only use fresh mint in the alcoholic drinks!!! And on New Years Eve last year i was at a fancy “do” where they had nothing but Coke in cans to give the people who weren’t drinking, I promptly asked for a wine glass at least for Gods Sake. Pretty glasses for all. I have traveled in summer with fresh mint and lime and Perrier or pelligrino, also take more because people invariably drink my drinks which is very annoying! Fun post thanks Mrs. D.

  2. Lupita 1 month ago

    For New Year’s, my son and I had lime soda water in champagne flutes to toast. It made it very special and he (who’s 10) got to share a drink with me. It made him feel grown-up and we got to ring in the new year together. I had no qualms about asking for a flute to make the occasion special. After all, no one cares what you’re drinking (unless they too are concerned with their drinking…but that’s a different discussion).

  3. AprilsFool 1 month ago

    I couldn’t agree more with the whole premise of this post. Ask and you will receive. I always always ask for what I want – particularly at a bar or a restaurant – and especially if I’m paying for it! When I was a bartender, I didn’t care if my customer wanted her drink served in a Nike sneaker. I’d happily accommodate. Why not? My job was to make my guests feel welcome and comfortable. So when I go out, I assume the bartender shares the same attitude. “Tonic over ice in a tall glass with a splash of pineapple juice if you have it please.” (Full disclosure: I still haven’t dared use a wine glass again yet. Not quite a year yet – and not that ballsy to go there just yet)

  4. maude023 1 month ago

    At home I drink my tonic out of a fluted beer glass which is very nice. I think I will ask for it in a fluted glass when I am out from now on. Great idea

  5. Treehugger 1 month ago

    Yes! So true, I drink fizzy water from my favourite wine glass that I use at home. The only remaining one from a set of 4 that were a wedding present. I remember going to a restaurant with girlfriends and asked for a ginger beer when they were all drinking champagne and the waiter laughed at me. He brought back the 3 flutes for the champagne and my ginger beer in the bottle, no glass. My girlfriend sternly asked him to return with a 4th flute so I could put my ginger beer in it. She’s such a rock star 🙂

  6. Mtedenmummy 1 month ago

    I love this. The sweet fizzy think is funny. It took my mother in law a long time to realise that I just genuinely preferred fizzy water most of the time and she would have a fridge loaded with options (bless her!).

    I was once at a conference with everyone drinking proper champagne and cocktails…there were meant to be mocktails but for whatever reason there weren’t any. A waiter gave me a glass of water in a pathetic little plastic cup like you might get at the dentists… what!!!!!

    Sort of linked to this is the weird fact that people sort out alcoholic drinks for the drinkers and just ignore the non drinkers, it’s weird. Like if you’re at a BBQ and someone gets up to get a beer they will ask the other beer drinkers if they want one, but not me, like my drink of imaginary. Strange little bite sized examples of our drinking culture

  7. soberlynn 1 month ago

    I love this article! It took me some time in my sobriety before I was completely comfortable drinking a non-alcoholic beverage of any type out of cocktail glass. But now I rather enjoy my tonic with lime and out of a pretty wine glass, even at home. (And I’ve never understood why anyone other than a child would drink from a straw anyway.)❤

  8. MāoriGirlSober 1 month ago

    I actually never considered this! And it has revolutionised the way I will be drinking from now on!!!

  9. dorothyparker 1 month ago

    I do this too! Some bartenders or wait staff seem slightly taken aback when I ask for lime and soda in a cocktail glass but they do it.
    And it does make a difference. Glassware for whisky or a decent red is lovely to drink from.
    Water glasses generally are not.

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