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Help finding a ubiquitous cocktail for a booze hater

I am a scotch and bourbon drinker and will always happily drink some variety of those beverages on the rocks or a Rob Roy. My girlfriend, however, does not have a taste for hard alcohol, though weirdly she does like specialty cocktails from various bars and restaurants. More specifically, she does not like the flavor of the booze itself (martinis, gin and tonics) to be the primary flavor of a drink. She does like a variety of drinks such as a dark-and stormy where the ginger takes the primary flavor. But, when you go to a new place and try some specialty cocktail, it is often 50-50 on how good it is, and whether or not the primary flavor is the booze and whether she actually likes said drink. Thus, getting a drink with her can be pretty hit or miss depending on the establishment. So, my question is: what drinks would people recommend that are A) ubiquitous enough to be able to order at any bar? And B) whose primary flavor isn’t just the booze itself?

My first thought is something along the lines of a negroni. Where the flavor comes from the aperitif, and isn’t overwhelmed by the fire of the gin. Any other suggestions besides a screwdriver?... Thanks

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  1. A cosmopolitan is probably a safe bet, the cranberry and orange flavors should be stronger than the vodka.

    I can't recall the name of the drink, but 2 parts sambuca to 3 parts of coffee liqueur, served over lots of crushed ice is amazing... if you like coffee and licorice, of course.

    1. Maybe a grasshopper or a white russian.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        The Dude seconds the white russian

        1. re: scubadoo97

          If you are going to go with a creamy drink there are several that are very good, though they tend to be sweet. Brandy Alexander or Brandy milk punch are two I like, but are definitely very dessert-like.

          Or this one - tastes much better than it sounds


      2. If she likes the ginger flavor of a Dark and Stormy, she may also like a Moscow Mule or possibly a Pimm's Cup.

        4 Replies
        1. re: karma belle

          I've found it tough to get a decent Dark & Stormy or Pimms. Most places try and pass off that disgusting soda gun ginger ale for Dark & Stormy and precious few bars have the right ingredients on hand for a Pimms Cup. Both are pretty seasonal too, not my first choice in the colder months.

          Gin-based I know but I'd recommend either an Aviation, French 75 or a Fitzgerald. If any of these are made right, they won't taste strongly of alcohol at all.

          1. re: Pedr0

            Sorry, I live in Austin and I forget that other parts of the country experience winter. Luckily, there is a crazy cocktail scene here and many bars make their own ginger beers/ales etc.

            I will second the Aviation or French 75 suggestions. Those are my go-to drinks when I try to convince the "I'm not a gin drinker" types to try something new that doesn't taste like gin.

            1. re: Pedr0

              My SO likes a well-made gin buck ...

              1. re: Pedr0

                Also recommend a French 75, or any Champagne cocktail. Or for that matter, just a glass of Champagne!

            2. A Negroni is booze, booze & booze, how about an Americano if you think she would like Campari.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                Campari is definitely riding the bike without training wheels ...

              2. how about a kava bowl or rum keg (trader vics and/or beachbum berry)

                Probably couldnt order those out but could make them at home with not a ton of effort and you already know she likes rum since the dark and stormy is a winner

                1. Morgan and Coke.
                  Or a non-alcoholic drink, no need to drink booze if one doesn't like the taste.

                  1. Congratulations to your girlfriend who although is not a drinker is willing to join you in a cocktail or aperitiff. My wife is a non drinker and it presents a problem for me sometimes when we go to a really neat restuarant. At times she will decide to imbibe and usually I suggest a Prosecco, or a kir made with Prosecco or a Cava. I think a bubbly cocktail before dinner is just great. One place we go to will make her a Prosecco with a strawberry liquer rather than Cassis. Also, a vodka tonic is pretty ubiquitious, just ask for them to go light on the vodka so more quinine water and lime flavor come through (Used to be when one ordered a drink "Presbyterian" it meant go light on the alcohol).Also consider aperitiffs like Lillet blanc that have a good flavor in themselves. Hope this helps.

                    1. Campari and orange juice is my favorite not-too-alchoholic tasting drink, and it's a little more interesting than a screwdriver. I HATED the one negroni I've tried...tasted VERY alchoholic to me.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Liz K

                        If you like Campari and orange juice, try it with soda and a lot of lime. It's low in alcohol and really wonderful. Adjust the Campari to suit your taste / tolerance. I started out with hardly and and now use hardly any soda. You may one day come around to that Negroni -- I did. Its a famous drink for a reason.

                        I second the idea of Lillet. It's a very slightly bitter orange flavored sweet French aperitif wine. I like it with a healthy dose of lemon to transform it from sort of a dessert wine to a light, refreshing aperitif. I think that's a great choice, but it may not be ubiquitous. Some may recoil in horror, but you can add soda to it to make it even lighter.

                        A rum and tonic made with dark rum and lots of lime is pretty accessible. The tonic adds a bit of bitter character and sweetness. The lime balances the sugar. Most bars have some sort of dark rum on hand. It will still taste of alcohol, but is light and refreshing. The dark rum will add a warm molasses character and may you think you're in the Caribbean.

                        Keep trying. It was not long ago that my wife was a white wine only drinker -- and sweetish ones at that. Now she enjoys just about anything -- Negronis, rye and scotch cocktails, even a hint of Fernet now and then. We really enjoy have a cocktail together most days; it's a nice ritual.

                        www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                        1. re: Liz K

                          Blood Orange Italian soda with an orange wedge or twist is also excellent with Campari. Add a shot of gin if you want to amp it up.

                          1. malibu and pineapple juice

                            1. Some great cocktails from HuffPo that look delicious..


                              1. http://www.smallhandfoods.com/recipes...

                                The Pina Colada recipe is killer (i amp it up with one extra oz of rum for myself Cruzan is a good inexpensive choice) but it tastes like fresh pinnapple and coconut, you cannot taste the alcohol and the Mrs always will ask me to make it, and even my guy friends like it (as drinking a pina colada is generally not considered "manly"


                                It is a bit heavier / sweet so you cannot drink them all night but one or two is certainly a good start to the evening

                                Not something to order in a bar though, but trying to stick with a rum theme for you