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Mocktails help reduce instances of drunk driving

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Holidays can be rough on the liver.

Whether overcoming the memories of an epic Jan. 1 hangover or participating in a “Drynuary” challenge to forgo alcohol for a month, plenty of people kick off healthy resolutions with a goal to reduce booze consumption.

That’s good news for AAA Oklahoma public affairs vice president Chuck Mai, who spearheads the association’s annual pamphlet of “mocktails.”

Since the 1980s, through its contest to create alcohol-free cocktails, the local chapter of the American Automobile Association has encouraged residents to avoid getting behind the wheel while inebriated.

“It’s a means to do something positive about a serious problem: drinking and driving,” Mai said. “Waving fingers in people’s faces is not always the most effective way to change behavior.”

The annual Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off competition draws in professional and amateur bartenders to create zero-proof drinks. The November contest drew in nine bartenders who created original, alcohol-free cocktails.

Amateur bartender Wonna Cornelson’s mocktail Hawaiian Snow Storm earned the $1,000 first prize. Ashley Flannigan of Boulevard Steakhouse in Edmond took home $700 for her second-place drink Pama-Chai-Tini. Cookie’s Bar employee Shannon Wasson won $300 for her basil-infused kiwi strawberry mojito.

It’s best when people completely avoid alcohol when they plan to drive, but Mai said that’s not always realistic. Instead, the Mocktail Mix-Off encourages party hosts to create alcohol-free drinks that can be enjoyed by kids, nondrinkers and guests who want to avoid overconsuming alcohol.

Most mocktails resemble their alcoholic counterparts and have more sophisticated flavors than sugary soft drinks, giving drinkers added reason to switch between alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

For a complete list of 2016 mocktails, visit aaa.com/mocktail.

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Print headline: Straight mock, Mocktails are the real deal for promoting healthier drinking habits.

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