the Alcohol and Other Drugs Harm Reduction Initiative (“Audrey”)

Nine non-alcoholic drinks

9 Alcohol-Free Drinks that are Probably Better than What Everyone’s Drinking at the Party

While there is plenty of drinking that goes on at college, rarely is alcohol the star of the show – even on campus, it’s hard to find people who could call themselves devoted fans of “premium” light beer or frighteningly cheap hard liquor. Here are nine drinks that might not have any alcohol in them, but will often have people wishing they could swap for what you’re having:

1) Shirley Temple

The queen (or perhaps princess?) of non-alcoholic cocktails, the Shirley Temple has it all – flavor, fizz, faux-sophistication. It was a childhood standby when you wanted to feel fancy when out to dinner, and guess what – it’s still just as good. But the Shirley Temple has a life expectancy – how long in your life can you continue to safely order a drink named for a child star? If you’re young enough that you’re still getting ID’d, you’re in the clear, so enjoy them while you can.

2) Roy Rogers

If you feel like the time for Shirley Temples has passed you by, then perhaps it is time to take a taste of the King of Cowboys, who has traded in the traditional ginger ale and orange juice base of the Shirley Temple for cola, still finished with grenadine and maraschino cherries. The only thing that could make it better is if New Haven was also home to one of those fried chicken restaurants also named after the King, but alas, Yale wasn’t built at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop.

3) Horchata

Is it complex? Yes. Is it worldly? Absolutely. Is it really unclear how a drink primarily composed of ground rice ends up tasting so good? Completely. The downside to its complexity is that it’s not the most friendly drink to be composed in a common room (note: if your suitemate is unfazed by this limitation, I’d be looking to preserve that relationship for the rest of your time at Yale), but thankfully it feels like on every street corner there’s a food cart that’s trying to sell you their version.

4) The Arnold Palmer

You would love to believe that you are going to really make some freshly-squeezed lemonade and mix it with a batch of just-brewed iced tea but let’s be honest – you’re just going to be grabbing a tall boy at the end of the Durfee’s line to round out your $8 lunch swipe – nonetheless, it’s hard to go wrong with a drink named after a champion.

5) Virgin Margarita/Daquiri/Piña Colada OKAY YOU GET IT THEY’RE ALL SMOOTHIES

Who is fooling anyone here? Frozen alcoholic drinks are typically composed of three parts – a ton of crushed ice, the cheapest possible liquor behind the bar, and an absurdly over-sweetened syrup designed to emulate the taste of some fruit and completely mask the terrible alcohol that went in before it. And somehow they always manage to be expensive on top of that! For half the price, you’re better off with a smoothie made from actual ingredients that don’t get pumped out of a soap dispenser.

6) Autumn Chiller

For too long has ginger beer lived in the shadows of its less exciting relative. This drink is one part orange juice, two parts ginger beer, and three parts sparkling apple cider, which essentially means that it can be achieved in one trip to GHeav and some creative dining hall sampling around Christmas. Just promise that if you go through the effort of picking up frozen cranberries, you won’t serve it in red Solo cups.

7) Milkshakes

It is really hard to think of anything better than milkshakes. They’re so good that people ignore their lactose-intolerance just to have one, and after it has destroyed their body, still feel good about the choice they’ve made. How many Yorkside milkshakes ever been consumed solely by the person who bought them?   And they’re easy to make on your own and hard to screw up, if you can manage a tub of ice cream, a gallon of milk, and some Hershey’s.  Add candies of your choice, or some malt if you want to get really fancy, then chuck it in a blender (if you have one) or just go wild with a fork (works just as well, plus burns some of those calories). 

8) Strawberry Basil Lemonade

I know, I know, leaves in lemonade, surely this is a stretch. But you’ll never smell a better drink in your life. It’s a standard lemonade with a strawberry-basil syrup added – all you need to do is dissolve some sugar in water, let some strawberries hang out there for a while, throw in the basil and strain – it’ll take you more time to manipulate your friends who work at the Yale Farm to give you basil than it will for you to actually make the syrup. And once your syrup is made, it goes great in all drinks - virgin and alcoholic.

9) Coffee

Coffee achieves everything alcohol purports to: it offers access to trendy campuses spaces, the logo on your cup buys you status when you sit down to seminar, and it serves as the first date for approximately 90% of Yale relationships. Whether its early morning, in the middle of the day, or late at night, it’s always an acceptable drink, and at least you’re getting your extra boost from something that doesn’t have “ENERGY” in all caps on the label. Now, on the question of whether caffeine has drug-like properties that should concern us all…