23w, 0d. It’s not often that I get to enjoy an evening out sans enfants these days, but when I do, I really want it to be fun and special. When not pregnant, having a glass of wine or two is part of that, but now that I am pregnant—and taking baby aspirin for high blood pressure, which shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol—wine is out of the question. So what’s a teetotaling pregnant lady to do? Whoop it up with a Shirley Temple? I should think not—and yet, it would seem that many servers’/bartenders’ creativity stops there when it comes to non-alcoholic beverages. Here’s how it often goes:
Waitress: “What can I get for you?”
Me: “I’m pregnant [in case this isn’t obvious—but I just want to be clear on the personal no alcohol policy], but I’d love to have something to drink beyond water. Could your bartender possibly make some kind of mocktail?”
Waitress: “Mocktail?” [Giving me a blank stare]
Me: “Um, yep, like a cocktail without any alcohol—a mocktail?”
Waitress: “So you want some juice? Like some cranberry juice?”
Me: “Well, no, not exactly.” [If I wanted some juice, I would have asked for some, no?] “Do you think it would be possible for the bartender to make something fun—like a non-alcoholic version of one of the cocktails on your menu? I’m totally open to their creativity.”
Waitress: “Hmm… I’ll have to ask.” [Turns away with a skeptical look. Returns a few minutes later.] “Here you go!”
Me: “Thanks! What's in it?”
Waitress: “It’s club soda with a splash of cranberry juice.”
I get that mocktails might not be exciting to the rest of the world, but to pregnant ladies, they can be kind of key to a fun celebration. I’ve had some great ones—like a tamarind punch, which was a non-alcoholic spin on a tamarind margarita at an Indian restaurant in NYC, a peach and lemon combo at a great Southern restaurant in Charlottesville, Va., and a fancy mock-martini at a nice restaurant in Fayetteville, Ark. I remember all of them because I appreciated that either the server/bartender was open to coming up with a tasty concoction on the fly—or that, in the case of the latter two, the restaurants actually had mocktail menus with multiple choices at the ready.
I’d never ask a busy bartender during a 1 am rush to come up with something creative (believe me, I’m not anywhere but my bed—or pacing in front of our refrigerator at that hour)—heck, I’m rarely in a restaurant during its dinner rush, given that I’ve fallen into the starving-at-six trap of eating dinner with my kids most nights (and next to no one eats dinner out at 6 pm in NYC)—but I get that maybe it feels like I’m asking for a bartender to go beyond his/her regular duties. Then again, maybe it’s fun to do something other than pour gin and tonics and pop open yet another beer bottle? I dunno.
Do you have any favorite mocktail recipes? Do you have a special mocktail you’ve successfully ordered in restaurants? Leave a comment!