Beyond the "Booze Cruise"
Despite all the jokes revolving around beer-soaked boat rides, boats and booze don't always mix well. Having an alcoholic drink or two is all right if you're not the one at the helm, but even for passengers, overindulgence on the water isn't wise for safety's sake. Alcohol slows down reflexes and can play havoc with your balance. If you choose to drink alcohol while on the boat, please don't drive or operate any watercraft. It's not only dangerous, but also illegal. Don't let a bad decision ruin a good time.
You don't need a fancy bar on your boat to serve great drinks. A cooler packed with your favorite beverages and a sleeve of plastic or paper cups is all you really need. If you're boat doesn't already have drink holders, they're easy and inexpensive to add.
Stay hydrated by sipping water, juice, non-caffeinated soda, flavored seltzer water, etc. Like alcohol, caffeinated drinks like cola can be dehydrating. The classic Arnold Palmer, a blend of lemonade and iced tea, is refreshing, low-caffeine, and delicious - and, if you're not into mixing your own, it's available ready-made. Check out your local grocer's bottled and canned iced tea selection for drinks that fit your favorite can cozies, or stroll down the coffee aisle to discover the flavored teas that are available to brew yourself.
Try new juice ideas, too. A cold watermelon, cut into chunks and puréed in a blender, is great by itself. Add a shot each of lime and orange juice, a dash of simple syrup, and serve it in a salt-rimmed glass, and you've got a melon "mock-arita" that even the kids can enjoy. Make cold drinks at home and bring them on the boat in lidded pint-size mason jars for easy serving and sipping.
Speaking of which, alcohol-free cocktails have come a long way since the invention of the Shirley Temple. The "sober-curious" movement is here to stay, with sophisticated "mocktails" and craft-brewed near-beers popping up everywhere. Expectant moms, designated drivers, and people in recovery no longer have to settle for a sweet soda while everyone else partakes of something more interesting from the bar. Here are three mixes, ranked from simplest to most complicated.
12 Earl Grey tea bags (or 1/4 cup loose tea leaves) peel of 1 orange 4 cups boiling water 3/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup sugar 4 cups cold water
Steep tea and orange peel in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Remove tea bags and orange peel (or strain, if you used tea leaves). Pour into a pitcher or half-gallon glass mason jar. Stir in sugar and orange juice until sugar dissolves. Add cold water and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve over ice. Note: If you're a low-carb or keto diet follower, use your favorite sweetener equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar.
Use either: 1-2 tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled) 1 tbsp simple syrup OR: 2 tablespoons sweetened lime juice 1/4 cup (2 oz) club soda 3/4 cup (6 oz) ginger beer (non-alcoholic, and not ginger ale; try Gosling's or Cock'n Bull) crushed ice
In a copper mug or rocks glass, pour lime juice and simple syrup (or sweetened lime juice, if using) and club soda. Fill cup about 1/2 with crushed ice. Add 6 oz ginger beer. Serve garnished with a lime wedge and mint leaves, if you like.
Cucumber Tonic Makes 1 drink
3 slices cucumber 1/2 cup (4 oz) tonic water 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice crushed ice 1 lemon wedge 1 sprig of rosemary
In a rocks glass, muddle 1 cucumber slice with lemon juice. Add ice, the other 2 cucumber slices, and tonic water. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the glass, add the rosemary sprig, and serve. (Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart).
However you choose to party, please help keep our waterways clean and safe for everyone by tossing litter in a garbage bin, not overboard. Have fun!