The other night, I went out with some friends to celebrate at a nice, upscale Asheville restaurant. The waiter brought us the menu, the page-long wine-and-cocktail list, and asked what we would like to drink. Now, I am one of those strange people who does not drink alcohol, never liked it. So I asked what they had to drink that wasn’t alcohol, and I was offered cola products, coffee or tea, and water.
Why would anybody think that I would want to pair a nice, expensive meal with a cheap, sugary soda? Even though I have lived here in the South for almost 30 years now, I have never warmed up to iced tea, sweet or unsweet. So, I told the waiter I was fine with just water.
I can’t count the times that I have gone to fundraisers or other events in Asheville that offered food and alcoholic beverages, and on my question about nonalcoholic options, some friendly volunteer would cheerfully announce: “Of course, we have water!” How exciting, to go to event after event and mingle with people drinking wine or beer while clutching my bottle of water.
A local independent movie theater has a whole refrigerator full of assorted local brews but, as a nonalcoholic option, only offers soda from a fountain or, you guessed, water. To add insult to injury, they charged me $3 for a small can of water. (This was not the Fine Arts Theatre. They are one of the few venues that offer a nice selection of nonalcoholic drinks.)
Why does it seem to be so difficult to put a few fun, nonalcoholic drinks in the fridge? There are so many options, from juices to ginger brews or locally made kombucha.
Can somebody please get me something to drink in this town?
— Monika Wengler
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