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Query from non-drinker going to Italy for first time

Query from non-drinker going to Italy for first time

Sep 9th, 2001, 07:45 PM
  #1  
kelvy
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Query from non-drinker going to Italy for first time

Greetings all - I've been sober a loooong time, and as I plan my trip (less than a month to departure, WOO-HOO!!!) it occurs to me I haven't seen this addressed in books, on the web, etc. What can a non-drinker expect in Italy? I'm comfortable in bars, around social drinkers, etc., but am wondering if there are any tips folks can provide (above and beyond common "no thank you" courtesy). Anyone have any experiences or comments on this? Which brings me to question #2 - are there non-alcoholic Italian specialty drinks I can order that won't make me look like a geek when I'm at Harry's? Stateside, I'm inclined to have a Coke or juice; what might a non-drinking local order? Thanks!
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 08:29 PM
  #2  
Lexma90
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I'm a big lightweight when it comes to drinking, so my "problem" has been more of persuading people I don't want any more wine. If you want an easy way to avoid a discussion of why you are passing up on some of that wonderful (in the eyes of the restauranteur) Italian wine, say that you're allergic, or you have a medical condition that prevents you from drinking wine. It's not that not drinking is unacceptable; they might just be more confused than an American waiter might be as to why you're not drinking.

And it's not Italian, but I enjoy "Schweppes," which is the British company that makes tonic water. Most every place I've been in Italy has this in little cans (order "Schweppes," or "tonic"), and I prefer it to the sweeter sodas like Coke.
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 08:49 PM
  #3  
Escritora
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I'm another non-drinker, and my favorite beverage is Pellegrino with lime. That ought to work for you. As far as what you tell people, my feeling is as little as possible because it's none of their business. But to close the door to any possible discussion/debate on the subject, I will say simply, "I can't--doctor's orders" and find that puts an end to further questioning. If you want to be extra-charming about it, you can always add, "besides, Italy is sufficiently intoxicating all by herself." And don't stress about it. You won't be the first or last person ever to pass through Italy alcohol-free. Enjoy!
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 08:56 PM
  #4  
FPacker
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Almost everyone in Italy drinks espresso, so you would never look odd ordering that. Im an oenophile; I adore wine. But, there are days when all I want is a Diet Coke. No one has ever looked at me funny for ordering that. Stop being so self-conscious. I don't think the waiters give a rat's ass what you drink.
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 10:09 PM
  #5  
russ i
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Kelvy,

I too do not drink. During the 2 years that I lived in Italy, I simply said, "No thank you, I don't drink" (non bevo alcol). I never had a problem or negative reaction. Lots of bars often had some sort of fresh fruit blend ready to mix with procesco, or something stonger. I just asked for it without alcohol (senza alcol). Enjoy your trip!
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 10:11 PM
  #6  
russ i
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That, of course, should have been spelled "prosecco" in the post above.
 
Sep 9th, 2001, 10:49 PM
  #7  
xxx
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you can ask or look on the menu for "bibite analcoolica" (non-alcoholic beverages)
alcool=alcohol
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 05:08 AM
  #8  
Mika
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Unless you are a little child, never never never order Coca Cola with a meal. Not in Italy, France, Belgium or any other latin country. They even sometimes refuse to bring it. Water is fine. You don't have to excuse yourself, it is none of their business.
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 05:27 AM
  #9  
Jean
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I'm also a non-drinker who had no trouble in Italy. While some in our group did order wine at meals, including my husband, I always ordered water and/or cola. (I'm not a child, but I had absolutely no problems ordering soft drinks!)
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 07:29 AM
  #10  
micia
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I've been in Italy a long time and have yet to find that restaurant that won't serve Coke with a meal or at any time.
Many people drink Coke or other sodas at meals, not only kids.
This is all over Italy, not in just one city.
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 07:29 AM
  #11  
micia
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forgot to add they don't look at you funny either.
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 09:09 AM
  #12  
Cheryl Z.
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Hmmmm, not sure about Mika's experiences but we have never had a problem in any way, shape or form when specifically ordering Coke with a meal, including dinner, or any other non-alcoholic beverages, on any of our many trips to Italy, France etc. Have never felt uncomfortable either. Have a great trip.
By the way, for a breakfast beverage, try the blood orange juice. It's from their red oranges, and very tasty. I thought I was being served tomato juice the first time I got it.
 
Sep 10th, 2001, 09:15 AM
  #13  
Rex
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Just as Sharp's and O'Douls are essentially synonyms for non-alcoholic beers here in the US, Kaliber has achieved similar "cognizance" in Europe - - though you may find Beck's Lowenbrau, clausthaler and others listed as "birre analcoliche" also.

And if you want to try something a little different, both Gingerino and Crodino are "aperitivi analcolici" which are going for the non-alcohol-drinking "market".

Best wishes,

Rex
 

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