French No Snobs on Virgin Cocktails

Paris' best hotel bars serve up delightful booze-free drinks
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2008 11:52 AM CDT
The non-alcoholic cocktail is no source of shame in France.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Nonalcoholic cocktails need not be exclusive to designated drivers and teenagers. While, er, “researching” Paris’ best hotel bars, Julia Langbein discovered that the virgin cocktail is one thing the French don’t look down upon. In Paris, she writes in Gourmet, “an alcohol-free drink isn’t a consolation prize; it shares equal status with the poison.”

Maybe the phenomenon underscores a preference for less potent pre-meal drinks, but no matter how it took off, the Meurice’s berry cooler and spicy virgin Bloody Mary are right up there with baguette and Brie. And mixologists are getting inventive: “Bartender Colin Field at the Ritz mentioned that he’s at work on an alcohol-free Martini, which, as far as I can figure, is an olive.”