Vodka-Red-Bull Effect — Entertaining
I maintain a full bar for entertaining. I think it’s part of being a good host, but I’m wondering if I haven’t kept up with the times. Should I stock Red Bull and similar beverages?
–ES, Chicago, IL
What a great question for summer entertaining! According to a recent Atlantic Monthly article:
"Mixing an energy drink with alcohol might seem fairly innocuous, but has been linked with ugly tendencies. A 2013 study found that people were twice as likely to be involved in an alcohol-linked car wreck or a sexual assault if they consumed an energy-drink-and-alcohol cocktail, compared to those who drank just alcohol."
- The FDA actually put a ban on the sale of pre-packakaged caffeine-and-alcohol drinks because the caffeine can mask alcohol's effects with the result of a person drinking too much too fast.
In my opinion, to jazz up your bar offerings provide a seasonal signature drink such as a Dark and Stormy or bubbly rosé in warm weather and in the fall serve a chilled Riesling wine or handcrafted beer from a small local brewery. You get the picture, as long as the drink isn't sweet. Chilled Presecco or Champagne are also festive to have on hand. Maybe stock a split of champagne for that lone person who wants a nip of the bubbly.
When I asked a popular thirty-something Newport host your question, he said, "There are a few alternatives to Red Bull at a home bar. I would recommend looking at tequila (e.g., Casa Amigos, Avión), light beers (e.g., Heineken Light, Yuengling Lager Light, Amstel Light) and assorted mixers (e.g., Skinny Girl cocktails, Powel and Mahoney Margarita Mix, Le Croix) as most people are now more calorie conscious than ever. Other options might be to have a frozen drink maker machine or White Girl Rosé for women.
The short answer is that Red Bull and their prototypes are too edgy. Be creative, but remember that your guests are at greater risk when imbibing caffeine-and-alcohol cocktails.