• Nine ways to ensure your non-drinking guests feel special

    Nine ways to ensure your non-drinking guests feel special

    In 2021 more and more people are making a choice not to drink alcohol, or to take regular breaks from booze, as a personal choice to fit in with a healthier lifestyle. Dry January and Sober October have become part of the social calendar. And of course, most occasions require at least one person to be the designated driver. Drinking alcohol has traditionally been a key element of having a good time, and is often central to planning a dinner or party. For the non-drinking guest, asking for an alcohol free alternative can feel like a dampener on the occasion. Often the alternative to an alcoholic beverage is not very sophisticated or appetising – water, coke, orange juice, or something overly sweet and full of calories that doesn’t pair well with food. For the host, the offer of the alternative needs to be combined with an apology. ‘I’m really sorry but all I have is sparkling water, not very exciting …’ At Saporista we are determined that enjoying good food and good times should not need to involve an alcoholic beverage, in the same way that it does not need to involve meat for vegetarians. Our friends at NINE ELMS have inspired us to come up with no less than NINE ways to ensure that a non-alcoholic event does not turn into a non-event!

    1. Serve a recognised, and award-winning alcohol alternative at your event, such as NINE ELMS No.18, which is specifically designed to complement good food – not to emulate wine, but as a satisfying alternative when people choose not to drink alcohol. It gets great reviews! Tatler describe NINE ELMS No.18 has having ‘mastered the art of a non-alcoholic tipple’. Douglas Blyde in the Evening Standard wrote that NINE ELMS No.18 is ‘a sip-able, red masterpiece, with a useful grip which worked brilliantly with my home barbecue’.
    2. With alcohol off the menu, food becomes an even bigger part of the occasion. We would recommend a Saporista selection of tasty nibbles to whet the appetite and inspire conversation.
    3. Begin your occasion by offering your guests a delicious and refreshing alcohol-free cocktail. Try ‘The Olson’, which is a sophisticated and moreish drink, with a refreshing bitterness and a gentle caffeine kick. Simply pour 75ml of NINE ELMS No.18 and 10ml of cold brewed coffee into an ice-filled highball or rocks glass. Give it a gentle stir and then add a rosemary sprig and a juicy twist of pink grapefruit. Top with 75ml of light tonic for the perfect pre-dinner cocktail.
    4. For a winter occasion, greet your guests with the warming scents and flavours of ‘Mulled Nine’. In a heavy bottomed pot combine a bottle of NINE ELMS No.18 with 5ml of ginger cordial (try Gimber) or a generous piece of root ginger, a whole chipotle, ancho or mulato chilli (make an incision in it to release the heat), a cinnamon quill, 2 star anise, 7 dried allspice berries, 3 cloves, 30-60g of light brown sugar and a large orange twist. Gently simmer for 20 mins, taking the chilli out earlier depending on how much kick you want in the drink! Serve in heat proof glasses or elegant mugs, garnished with another orange twist.
    5. You don’t need alcohol to create a great atmosphere. Music can be an important occasion-maker, so create the perfect play list! You will know the right tunes to get the party going, and song choice can also spark off many a conversation!
    6. Never forget the importance of the right glassware. Enjoyment of drinking is really enhanced when you choose the right vessel. The complex aromas of NINE ELMS No.18 lend themselves very well to the theatre of wine, and its flavours will evolve and unfurl differently depending on the shape of the glass used. Choose either a pinot noir or cabernet glass. Earthy and red fruit aromas come to the fore in the broad bowl of a pinot noir glass; while herbaceous and black fruit characters are more pronounced in the narrower shape of a cabernet glass. NINE ELMS No.18 is great with goat cheese, beef, chargrilled vegetables, poultry, lamb curry, roast meats and dark chocolate.
    7. Try a theme! If you’re worried about a lack of alcohol causing a lack of ‘morning after’ funny stories, then why not give your occasion a fun theme that will spark memorable moments. Try themed dress-up, reach into a past decade, make it a murder mystery night, experiment with geographical themes, or create a competition challenge for your guests. Get creative!
    8. Desserts are always a highlight of an occasion, and when someone is saving calories on alcohol (NINE ELMS No.18 is only 20 calories a serving) make sure they have the opportunity to spend them on a yummy pudding instead! Or offer your guests Saporista’s Cogno ‘Tartufi Neri’ (incredible dark chocolate and hazelnut truffles) as an after dinner treat.
    9. The cheese board is always a good talking point. NINE ELMS No.18 is particularly delicious when paired with a well-stocked cheeseboard. Try three or four impactful cheeses, such as a soft creamy cheese to contrast with the acidic top note of the berries, a blue cheese to stand up against the robustness and tannins, a delicate nutty hard cheese to complement the botanical infusions and a sharp goat’s cheese to offset the sweet berry notes.

      So, nine ways to host a brilliant alcohol-free dinner party, or at least to ensure your non-drinking guests don’t miss out on any aspect of the occasion! Now all you need to do is order your Saporista selection to ensure you’ve got all the tasty nibbles covered!

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