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Alcohol-Free Event Catering Ideas

Recently the term “Dry January” has been all the rage.  But for some, skipping booze is more of a permanent decision.

  They call themselves the “sober curious” and they are reshaping event planning like never before.  More than 1.2 million people posted #soberlife on Instagram in 2019, and the non-alcohol beer industry is expected to grow to over $25 billion by 2024.  A pursuit of a cleaner, healthier lifestyle is mainly what’s driving this trend.

Yet, alcohol is pervasive in our society, especially at a celebration—whether that be a wedding, corporate gala, or bridal shower.  But these tips from New Orleans wedding caterer Messina’s Catering and Events can help you plan a spirited booze-free event where no one will miss imbibing.

Colorful Alcohol-Free concoctions are as fun to drink as they are pretty to serve.

Whether healthy or indulgent, alcohol-free drinks can pack a huge punch.  One way to spice things up is to start with ingredients like Seedlip Garden, the world’s first distilled alcohol-free spirit made from lemon, elderflower, and cucumber.  Another incredible taste sensation is the cider, thyme, and tonic “mocktail” made from apple cider, fresh-squeezed lemon, water, sugar and fresh thyme.  A sprig of fresh rosemary  makes for a beautiful presentation in a clear highball glass.

Set up a LaCroix sparkling water bar. 

LaCroix is “naturally essenced sparkling water “that’s calorie-free and high in popularity.  Set up a self-serve LaCroix bar with lemon, hibiscus, tangerine, coconut, and key lime flavors that can be enhanced with fresh fruits and fruit juices, simply syrups, fresh garnishes, and beautiful stemware.  Be sure to include fresh mint, rosemary and lavender because smell is a big part of how we perceive taste.

Another idea is to have full-service catering bartenders mix up craft cocktails to order, which can include a sparkling Pina Colada, with coconut LaCroix, pineapple juice, and a pineapple wedge and fresh orchid on the glass rim.  Guest might also enjoy the Cucumber Line Mojito, a hearty mixture of fresh mint, lime LaCroix and cool cucumber slices.   Another favorite is the watermelon-basil lime cooler, a mocktail made up of watermelon puree, lime LaCroix, and fresh basil—perfect for summertime.

Food pairings can be as inventive as the mocktails you serve.

Messina’s suggest pairing craft mocktails with lighter foods and fresh ingredients.  Elegant trays of fruits and cheeses, grilled vegetable and antipasto displays, and imaginative charcuteries are always a crowd pleaser.  Take, for instance, Messina’s tantalizing charcuterie with assorted olives, okra, spicy green beans, pepperoncini, gherkins, artichoke hearts, Genoa salami, capicola, pepperoni, and chorizo, andouille and alligator sausages arranged with dill Havarti, smoked Gouda, cranberry goat cheese, brie, and pepper jack.  Such variety complements even the most creative mocktail concoction.

As with the drinks, freshness is also important in the dishes offered on your catering menu.  Fresh salads like classic Caesars or colorful Cobbs, cherry tomatoes stuffed with crab salad, Louisiana shrimp Canapé, oyster shooters, ceviche, sushi, and a tapenade station are all excellent choices for any booze-free event.

Timing and planned activities are key.

Even with a French Quarter “it’s five o’clock somewhere” attitude, drinking before noon is typically not the norm at many New Orleans catering events.  With that in mind, perhaps  you could plan a corporate outing mid-morning or have a bridal brunch instead of dinner.  Another way to make sure guests don’t miss an open bar is to offer plenty to do at your event.  Activities can include anything from team-building events like a classic tug of war or spoon race to old-school board games.

Let the experts at Messina’s Catering help you plan the perfect booze-free event sand elect the perfect place to host it from their many exclusive event venues like the Walnut Room, Atrium at the Terminal, Terrace at the Terminal or the Huey P. Long Room at the Terminal—all amid the fully restored Art Deco elegance of the Lakefront Airport.  Together, you can host an event your guests will be buzzing about for a long time.


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