Posted by: MummyTravels | May 22, 2012

The virgin route

Sitting in the pub at the weekend, tucking into the world’s largest Sunday roast, I spotted two women at the bar giving me slightly strange looks. After my friends assured me there were no odd smudges on my face, I suddenly guessed what might have caused it – the glass of amber liquid sitting in front of me.

It contained nothing more suspicious than a bottle of Becks Blue non-alcoholic lager, but must have looked like the bump and I were enjoying a relaxed pint with our lunch. Now I’m not planning to get into the debate on whether you should or shouldn’t drink alcohol while you’re pregnant (or about why strangers feel they can comment on your lifestyle) but to list the alternatives I’ve found to endless glasses of water.

I’m not a fan of fizzy drinks (too sweet) or fruit juice (too sweet or too acidic), I’m saving my caffeine quota for coffee and chocolate rather than Coke, and while the occasional ginger beer, tonic water, cordial or J20 is fine, more than one feels like my teeth are about to dissolve.

Which leaves water. Supremely healthy, great when you’re thirsty and boring boring boring if that’s all you’ve got to drink for months on end. After some experimentation, I’ve managed to find a few half-decent alternatives to tide me over until I can sneak a snip of wine again. Then all I have to worry about is having no tolerance limit…

  • Becks Blue – I’m not normally a huge lager drinker, but this is not a bad substitute. Bizarrely, more than about two bottles gives me a hangover-style headache, which does seem distinctly unfair. Bitburger alcohol-free beer is drinkable too. Do not, under any circumstances, try alcohol-free Cobra which was undrinkable (backed by my husband, so I can’t blame pregnancy tastebuds).
  • Virgin mojitos – my non-alcoholic cocktail of choice after much testing in the Cayman islands, usually with a touch of apple juice or ginger ale instead of the rum, although the mint, lime and sugar give it enough of a kick to be interesting. If you’re on a beach, a virgin pina colada is worth a try too though less successful if you don’t have sand between your toes. Asking a barman what non-alcoholic cocktails he can make is a good way to gauge how good they are – I’ve had some really fun combinations, but plenty who’ve just bunged fruit juices together.
  • Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon – look, nothing really tastes like red wine (apart from red wine) but this is the best substitute for when I’m craving the real stuff. The range’s rose is hard to find but not bad, but steer clear of Eisberg Chardonnay unless you want grape juice. Very chilled Fre White Zinfandel from Asda is good when the sun shines too – if slightly sweet and slightly grapey.


Image: A.Currell/Flickr


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