But what about for those who don’t drink? And those who refrain for the night so as to provide transportation for the imbibers?
Bartenders have begun to offer intriguing selections that go beyond soda and humdrum H2O. Designated drivers, those dutiful DDs, deserve frou-frou beverages, too.
While Opus Prime Steakhouse, 800 W. Memorial, focuses on serious steak and wine, the nondrinker can get spoiled, too.
Bartender Matt K. shakes together ice with an ounce each of pineapple, orange and cranberry juice before adding 7-Up. It is served elegantly in a martini glass.
“The red pigmentation comes from the cranberry juice,” he said. “It has the look of a cloudy Cosmopolitan.”
He noted he makes extra effort to add flair to the nonalcoholic drinks.
“I try and have fun with everyone,” he said.
S&B’s Burger Joint, 20 N.W. Ninth, is known for its Bloody Marys. The menu features seven cocktails, all of which are usually prepared with specialty vodkas. But each can also be made alcohol-free.
Wayne Perotka, mixologist at S&B’s, said it is important to personalize every beverage. One of the best ways to do so is by adjusting the level of spiciness. Drinks can be made to order on a scale from one (mild) to five (hot).
One inspired creation, The Bloody Bull, is made with beef bouillon-soaked guajillo peppers, V8 juice, fresh lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire and cracked black pepper. The Kickin’s Wasabi contains a wasabi-infused V8 juice mix, celery and sea salts, with a garnish of edamame and green onion.
“We dress it up … so it looks like a rainforest,” said Perotka.
One Bricktown nightclub is also broadening its customer base. Serving a glass of mineral water to nondrinkers is dated. The challenge lies in making a mocktail that’s appealing.
“There is no substitute for fresh juice,” said Aaron Hays, bartender at Club Social, 115 E. California.
Hays offers the Mock-jito (a sober version of the popular Cuban mojito). Fresh mint, lime juice and a sweet soda like Sprite are combined to create a citrus and minty refresher topped with slices of lime and lemon.
“It’s an attractive and creative beverage,” he said.
For a clientele looking to be part of “the scene,” image is vital. Like his colleagues, Hays noted the value of a good garnish.
“People like a drink that looks like it is a part of their surroundings and the bar,” he said. “They want to enjoy the night.”
And if you prefer tradition, there’s always old Hollywood for inspiration. Maybe the first-ever mocktail, the Shirley Temple is a tasty mix of lemon-lime soda, ginger ale and a dash of grenadine. It’s topped by a classic maraschino cherry.