I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the comment, “what's the point if there's no alcohol” when sampling our Bitters & Soda. Yes, the comment is misguided, but it also speaks to how a large portion of the population thinks. To many people beverages fall into one of three categories - water, kid’s drinks, and alcohol. Thankfully popular opinion is shifting but many still don’t understand the need for something else or even the desire for low and no alcohol options.
Since we make cocktail bitters, often associated with high alcohol drinks like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, as well as our zero alcohol Bitters & Soda, we find ourselves interacting with many folks who think the choice is one or the other. You either drink alcohol or you don’t. But we believe there are many times when it’s not an either/or situation. Sometimes you just want one drink, sometimes you want something with a little less punch. Great drinks have a range of alcohol content and simply having a little knowledge and choice makes all the difference.
Sometimes a Manhattan, with its high alcohol content and rich, indulgent flavors is just what you’re in the mood fort. You have one, maybe two, excellent drinks and you’re done. But what if that Mannhattan was equally rich and indulgent, but had significantly less alcohol content because some of the whiskey was swapped out for sherry and there was a little less vermouth? You could definitely have two or maybe even three.
Imagine you’re meeting friends for a drink after work, but you skipped lunch. Everyone’s ordering beer, but you’re thinking that’s going to go straight to your head until you have some food. So you start with an NA beer or a hopwater first and then go for that 7% IPA after you’ve eaten. There are so many times when wanting more choice isn’t about cutting out alcohol or simply not drinking, it’s about choosing what’s right for you in that moment.
I’m going to throw out some numbers to help give you perspective. Roughly 40% of Americans don’t drink alcohol at all (many of them simply because they don’t want to) and about 60% of those who do drink alcohol have less than 1 drink per week. That’s a lot of people who don’t turn to alcohol as their first choice. While the grocery store aisle and cold case is full of no alcohol options, many social situations are extremely lacking. I’m going to wager that all those folks not drinking still like to go out to eat on occasion, head over to a friend’s for a dinner party, or even join co-workers for happy hour. I’d also bet that many of them would be super excited to be offered something other than water or soda. And it’s not just about non-alcoholic options, having low alcohol spritzes or a rosemary lemonade that you could choose to add sparkling wine, a shot of vodka, or even a half shot of vodka to, goes a long way to making everyone to feel welcome, no matter what their preference is.
Having a beverage with people is celebratory, a way to settle in and relax with friends and family, an easy way to connect with someone new. Our culture is set up to make these occasions centered around alcoholic drinks. At The Bitter Housewife we believe you should drink what you want, whether you choose alcohol or not or something in between.