Zero-Proof / Mocktail / Free-Spirited / Booze-Free / etc. While the non-alcoholic beverage menu comes in many forms these days, the acknowledgement for the need of interesting non-alcoholic options at restaurants was a long process and there is still room for improvement.
"We can make any of our cocktails non-alcoholic" used the be the most common answer I received when asking a restaurant server about any unique beverage options that didn't include alcohol (i.e. not a cran&club or iced tea). So, what that means to me is that the restaurant will take out the main ingredient of a cocktail and add what....soda water? Thanks, but no thanks...I'll stick with my bottle of sparkling water.
Over the past few years, many restaurants have acknowledged there is a market for interesting non-alcoholic beverages and have made strides to develop a selection to meet demand. The increased demand comes from many sources (not just people in recovery): from the rise of wellness-focused vacations to the popularity of baby-moon travel where both members of the couple choose not to consume alcohol. For venues who don't want to develop their own beverage selection, there has been a concurrent surge in the variety of prepared options, such as non-alcoholic beers and pre-bottled "craft" mocktails. A recent addition to this list are alcohol-free wines and spirits. Keep in mind many of these options, especially the beers, wines and spirits have a small amount of alcohol (less than 0.5%).
Pictured above is the Zero Proof menu Recover Hospitality helped develop for a hotel & restaurant partner: The Red Lion Inn, which is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Restaurants may be adding interesting non-alcoholic options to their beverage menus, but there is still much work to be done. To maximize the value of a non-alcoholic beverage menu, Recover Hospitality advocates restaurants follow these steps (to learn more about the recommendations, please contact the Recover Hospitality team by clicking here to send us a message):
1) Be Intentional: all too often are the non-alcoholic options found at the back of beverage menu and appear as an afterthought. Thus, one of the most important recommendations is to portray that time and effort was spent in curating a selection of beverages.
2) Assorted Selection with Quality Ingredients: many of the current non-alcoholic beverage offerings are designed for individuals who are "sober-curious". It's important to create a selection that appeals to both guests who want to drink less and those who do not drink at all.
3) Staff Promotion:If a restaurant's waitstaff are able to recognize the value of promoting non-alcoholic beverages, in a manner similar to a signature cocktail, guests will be more likely to order and enjoy their zero-proof drinks.
Not only does Recover Hospitality serve as a resource for identifying and developing supportive dining environments, but we partner with hotel properties to design a more supportive travel experience focused on helping individuals maintain their healthy routines when away from home. Click here to learn more about booking a Recover Hospitality Experience. While our lodging packages are currently exclusively available in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, Recover Hospitality also offers a travel service membership for individuals traveling to other destinations (for leisure or business purposes).
Individuals struggling with mental health concerns, especially those in substance use recovery, are often hesitant to dine-out and travel due to the often tempting and unsupportive environment of many restaurants and hotels. Recover Hospitality helps individuals locate supportive and fun dining environments by conducting recovery-focused reviews. Celebrating venues' efforts and opportunities to improve by assessing: service, atmosphere, beverage offerings, food quality, value, and location.
Recover Hospitality also offers consulting services designed for restaurants and hotels interested in offering an environment attractive to the recovery community and others focused on health & wellness.