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Tomato water: from canned tomatoes, as non-alcoholic mealtime drink?


I'm getting married in a few days and I could really use your help with solving a problem. Almost half of the guests have, for religious reasons, chosen to forego wine in favour of non-alcoholic options. These options are atm water, an intense fresh blueberry juice, fresh apple juice and sodas.

While all these are tasty I have a feeling they won't go as well with the main courses (grilled top blade steak or a nice grilled white fish) as wine and sake will.

So I have two questions:

1. Might tomato water or a non-alcoholic drink made from tomato water be a better substitute for wine than sodas and juices?

2. Can tomato water be made from canned whole tomatoes or are fresh tomatoes the only way to go?

The reasons I'm wondering about the canned tomatoes are that they may be an easier sell by virtue of being peeled and ready to go (chef might not be keen on this last-minute idea otherwise) as well as for their flavour, picked and preserved as they are at the peak of their ripeness.

Any and all help you may have in the form of experiences or thoughts would be very much appreciated!


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  1. Are iced teas out of the question? You standard iced tea would be fine with the meals you mentioned imo, but I also really like Celestial Seasonings "Red Zinger" served cold as well.

    If you have access to a SodaStream, you could perhaps also make carbonated iced teas for something different.

    The blueberry juice drink sounds a little odd with steak or fish, what about a non-alcoholic Sangria made with white grape juice and fresh sliced fruit? You may be able to carbonate these as well to make them a little more interesting.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Atomic76

      Thanks for the ideas! Nothing is really "out of the question" but I think I'm mostly looking for alternatives that aren't all too sweet and fruity.

      1. re: ikitorp

        Then regular iced tea. Id you want tomato juice, just go for tomato juice. Tomato "water" is kind of weird.
        Water, Iced tea, tomato juice (virgin mary's) would be just fine. And I wouldn't bother the chef with juicing tomatoes.

        1. re: wyogal

          Thanks, I think some sort of iced tea might def. be a good pairing to consider! I recalled just now vague memories of unsweetened teas served as mealtime drinks to good effect.

          That being said, tomato water isn't weird--it's just delicious! I haven't tried making it from canned tomatoes or used it as a substitute for wine, but it's very tasty in some sauces and also in various cocktails and mocktails. Tomato juice, while being similarly delicious, has a very different mouthfeel as well as an overpowering taste, both of which may suit some grilled meats well but would not suit the rest of our menu all that well.

          1. re: ikitorp

            Tomato water is delicious. As is cucumber water.

            1. re: ikitorp

              Ikitorp, this is absolutely NO slam against you, but where are you from that tomato water is common (I've never heard of it, but maybe I've been living under a rock) and iced tea is something that you remember from what seems to be an distant memory?

              ETA: Now I see that this is your first post. I hope I didn't offend you. I didn't mean to!

      2. I think agua fresca would be far better than full-strength juices. Watermelon, citrus, or berry agua frescas are popular. And there's nothing wrong with plain water. Those who dine out and don't drink alcohol are probably well used to drinking water with a meal.

        1. I'd leave aside the tomato water and just have sparkling water available for dinner with lemon or lime. Many people do not appreciate tomato water and trying to create a pairing is beyond necessary. Perhaps have juices for the party after, but keep it simple for dinner itself.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mojoeater

            Don't just want to hit recommend on this one. A big plus one for the sparkling waters. I know what "tomato water" is I suppose but can't imagine drinking it with a meal.

            1. re: c oliver

              I like the sparkling water option as well. It's more festive than plain water, and its simplicity and lack of sweetness means it pairs well with pretty much everything.

          2. We had many non-drinkers at our wedding, and offered sparking apple cider as an option - seems like something that would go well with both entrees. If you want to try something a little fancier, you could offer bottles of grape juice made with wine grapes - we had a delicious juice from Navarro vineyards at The Modern at MOMA. Just be careful not to purchase "non-alcoholic wine" - in my experiences, those tend to be very sweet and not at all good to drink with meals.

            1. you do know there are decent dealcoholized wines out there, there's endless varieties of iced tea which go with anything. seriously, the possibilities are endless when choosing non-alcoholic drinks.

              3 Replies
              1. re: LordForceOne

                Is "dealcoholized wines" like the beer? Cause the beer, in fact, DOES have a small amount of alcohol in it.

                To me, being from the South originally, there's only one iced tea and, no, it isn't "sweet tea" = ugh.

                1. re: c oliver

                  No. They spin the wine in something and it removes the wine. There is actually none I believe. I don't drink, I am allergic to alcohol and that is what I use.

                  1. re: LordForceOne

                    I just did a quick google and it appears that, like the beers, it does contain a minute amount of alcohol. Maybe not enough to trigger you.

              2. The whole point of tomato water is to capture the fresh, uncooked taste. So, no, I would not suggest using canned tomatoes. Nor would I attempt to make fresh tomato water to serve a crowd as the yield is very small.

                Here's a photo of the lemon water station on the buffet line at an event I attended. Depending on the fresh herbs and sliced citrus and other fruits you add, it can be as colorful as a centerpiece.

                Cucumber and fresh mint leaves muddled with water and ice in the same way is also a good non-fruity choice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Tomato water has to be fresh not canned

                2. Here's a recipe for a white peach sangria. It would be easy to just put in more nonalcohol ingredients. And it's SO pretty. (Just made it this weekend.)


                  1. I'm trying to recall an instance where there has been something other than wine, water, iced tea at a dinner/reception that I have attended...... can't really think of any. Maybe for a cocktail hour, but served with dinner? nope. I don't like to drink wine or other alcohol with my dinner, and I prefer water or iced tea. I wouldn't want a juice or other flavored drink.
                    Maybe I'm just weird...
                    If your chef wants to prepare fresh tomato water, and you can afford the added expense, go for it. I think I'd pass on it, though, and just have water.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Looks like it's an ingredient rather than a standalone beverage. Thanks for the info.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Uh, it is used as a beverage as well, per some of those discussions.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Oh, sorry, I skimmed the posts but missed that I guess. I saw where it was used as an ingredient in drinks. Oops.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            Let me make it easier and add some that are beverage specific,
                            These can easily be made "virgin" without alcohol.

                            And again, I would not recommend this to serve large numbers.