This time of year can be one of the heaviest drinking times living in Durango. In less than a month there is graduation, Taste of Durango, Iron Horse, and River Days. Throw in some very nice weather and outdoor day drinking, and you have the perfect combination for swearing off alcohol altogether. What do you do when sobriety sounds like a good idea? You drink other liquids. There are a lot of other possible liquids suitable for drinking, and I’m going to walk you through my favorite non-alcoholic beverages.
CoffeeCoffee is a beverage created by using water (I will return to this, “water” later) to extract color, flavor, aroma and other characteristics, most notably, caffeine, from the pit of a tropical stone fruit. The pit, often called a bean, even though it is not actually a bean, is heavily processed by being fermented, washed, dried, roasted, then ground in different ways according to local tradition, appetite of consumer, and numerous other reasons. Coffee can be served hot or cold, so it’s quite versatile. I highly recommend coffee. It’s great.
JuiceNow, “juice” is a fairly broad term, and you may find yourself asking “What is juice”? At the very basic sense, juice is the liquid portion of a fruit or vegetable. Common fruit juices include apple, orange, cranberry, pineapple, and mango. Common vegetable juices include tomato, beet, carrot, and I’ve heard people will often juice kale. Juices can be lots of different colors or textures. Just because it is a liquid derived from a plant, doesn’t mean that it is a juice. The sap of a maple tree is collected during the winter and used to make maple syrup, though this is not in the typical sense “juice”. It’s also important to note that animals, though their bodies have ample amounts of liquids inside of them, are not used for the creation of juice. Juice is pretty decent. I’d definitely give it a try if you haven’t.
MilkMilk is a hotly debated term in the consumer beverage market. On the surface, there appears to be many, many different types of milk, derived from many different sources: Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, milk milk, chocolate milk, etc. But what is milk, really? Milk refers to the white, medium to full-bodied liquid produced in the mammary glands of female mammals, which is fed to their young. If the young are separated from the mother and the milk is continued to be extracted, the mother will continue to produce milk indefinitely. Milk is pretty weird if you think about it. When you drink milk, you are drinking a liquid that was extruded through the nipple of a mammal. Milk is OK; I liked it a lot better when I was kid and it’s pretty good on cereal and very decent if turned into yogurt (a fermented milk product). Two and a half stars.
WaterOut of all the possible non-alcoholic liquids that a person can safely consume, water is perhaps the most abundant and necessary. Water is a clear, light to no-bodied, naturally-occurring substance found on Earth and possibly throughout the universe, and is necessary for all known forms of life. Water can naturally be found warm, hot, cold, or it can even be a solid, in the form of crystal water – ice – or a gas, in the form of steam. Most water on earth is salty, but there are abundant sources of “fresh,” or non-salinated, water. Water is so abundant that it regularly falls from the sky. Water is the best. There is not another beverage I’d suggest over water. I recommend serving it over ice. Bubbly water is also very good.
Good luck on your attempts at liquid sobriety. But remember, in the words of Frank O’Hara: You’ll never be mentally sober.
Robert Alan Wendeborn is a former cellar operator at Ska Brewing and current lead cellar operator at Tin Roof Brewing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.