Tips on How to Bring Your Own Vibe

Let’s just acknowledge the truth: Social culture is drinking culture. Across countries, cities, age groups, people like to drink socially. It’s built into the fabric of what it means to socialize, from friend catch-ups to first dates to co-worker bonding.

Which is why it’s so hard for non-drinkers or moderates to take a step back without feeling like outsiders. Many people who don’t like to drink will do a “reverse Prohibition,” and slyly ask bartenders to make them drinks that look boozy but are in fact zero proof.

But just as the nut milk and plant-based faux-meat craze is supported by people who also indulge in dairy and the occasional burger, the zero proof trend is also fueled by moderate drinkers that switch between non-alcoholic drinks as often as traditional boozy cocktails. According to recent data, around 60% of drinkers will switch between zero proof drinks and full proof drinks when socializing.


As Sober October kicks off, it’s easy to plan for a season of responsible partying with a dash of Bring Your Own Vibe (#byov). Here’s a few tips to incorporate into your social swirl:

  • Practice one-on, one-off drinking. Switch up between zero-proof drinks and boozy drinks. The majority of people aren’t actively trying to get tipsy -- they just want to be out with friends. So keep the party going by keeping a drink in hand, and try to make it a zero-proof sip throughout most of the night.
  • If you’re going to do shots, make them zero-proof. The fun of doing shots with friends is the ritual of a group action; that’s why the idea of shots persists. It’s about bonding first, alcohol second. Rather than introducing extra liquor quickly, switch up those boozy shots (and keep them at less than one ounce) with a quality zero proof alt-gin. All the fun, none of the regrets. Another option, borrowed from the bar world: Make a full size zero-proof drink, then break it up into tiny “shots”. You’ll still get that kick of flavor but in a sip-size amount, perfect for a round of toasts.
  • Keep the focus on the party, not the booze. Bringing a vibe is more than just about drinking, it’s about ambiance. (Notice how many top bars have meticulous playlists?) Design several party playlists and keep them on hand for the different moods of the night. Who doesn’t love a sing-along? When everyone’s singing and having a great time, it’s about the night, not about who’s drinking what.
  • Celebrate bonding, not drinking. People love parties and going to bars not only for the liquor. They go for the full experience, from gorgeous glassware to dark, sexy rooms to great music. If you’re planning to throw a #BYOV event or bring that spirit somewhere else, borrow at least one thing from your favorite past events, whether it’s spending an indulgent amount of money on fresh flowers, lighting rooms only with candles, only serving drinks in vintage glasses that you picked up at the secondhand store or dressing up rooms in social media-ready scenes.

People want vibes, and it’s easy to deliver, provided you put just a little bit of planning into it.


Content Contributed by Elva Ramirez

Elva Ramirez is the author of “Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking,” a look at the growing non-alcoholic cocktail movement. Follow her on @zero_proof_cocktails on Instagram.