Mock mixes, authentic fun 

As the designated driver, his role, he said, was to have a good time, but make sure everyone got home in one piece.

“I get a big kick out of watching inebriated people,” Allmond said. “I have no problem with people drinking and having a good time, but I just don’t want them driving, so I always volunteer as the designated driver.”

Being the sober one means drinking nonalcoholic beverages. Luckily, people have choices.

“I drink interesting drinks that bartenders make up for me,” he
said. “The bartenders at Rococo, for instance, have a whole martini
menu, but they can make them without alcohol.”

Michelle Meek, Melissa Skaggs and Steven Schuster at Iron Starr

As much as 35 percent of traffic crashes are alcohol-related, according to AAA Oklahoma, with that figure climbing to 40 percent during the holidays. “We’re big on designated drivers, and drunk driving is still a huge problem,” said Chuck Mai, AAA Oklahoma vice president of public and government affairs. “Everyone is in a party frame of mind, our guard is down and sometimes we do dumb things.”

For 20 years, AAA Oklahoma has hosted a mocktails contest between local bartenders, and those recipes are published and available to the public annually.

Say good-bye to the boring Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers of yesteryear; the modern-day drinks taste as good, if not better, than their alcoholic siblings.

“The drinks are quite creative,” Mai said. “Some have ice cream or fresh fruit in them. The bartenders really go all out. We like to publish the drinks in time for the holidays for those who are designated drivers or who simply don’t drink. Kids love these drinks, too.”

AAA’s Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off recently was held at the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel, with the winning recipe going to Iron Starr Urban BBQ at 3700 N. Shartel. Bartenders Melissa Skaggs, Steven Schuster and Michelle Meek entered the Ginger Peter, comprised of ginger and habanero.

“You have to search for other ingredients to replace the alcohol” Schuster said, “but still finish the full drink. It’s fun to try out different syrups and juices.”

The team created several beverages before settling on the Ginger Peter.

“We can also take those ideas and create cocktails from them, as well. But, we do have people who come in and want a nonalcoholic drink,” Schuster said. “The other night, I had two ladies come in and they were both pregnant. They wanted something like a drink, but obviously with no alcohol. It’s fun to create those.”

For party animals who want to stay sober New Year’s Eve, mocktails are a simple and easy way to enjoy a drink without the buzz.

Photo by Shannon Cornman

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