AAA is offering a trio of ideas to help Oklahomans stay safe on the road this holiday season: its free Tipsy Tow service, non-alcoholic “mocktail” recipes and use of designated drivers.
“During the year, about 35 percent of all traffic crashes involves a driver who has been drinking,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Over the holidays, that number can exceed 40 percent. Not only can most of these crashes be prevented, the means of doing so are free and readily available.”
TIPSY TOW starts in Oklahoma at 6 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 14 and runs through New Year’s Day until 2 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2013 in metro Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as Lawton, Shawnee, Enid, Bartlesville, Muskogee and Tahlequah. If you feel unsafe behind the wheel after drinking, AAA will send a tow truck to give you and up to one more person – plus the vehicle – a free ride home within 15 miles of point of pickup. The community service is open to AAA members and non-members alike. Call (800) 222-4357 to request a Tipsy Tow.
MOCKTAILS are zero-proof beverages that can add life to holiday parties when interspersed with regular cocktails, plus they provide non-drinkers and children a festive way to celebrate. Here’s the winning recipe from this year’s AAA Great Pretenders Mocktail Mix-Off, held last month at the Oklahoma City Marriott. It’s a concoction invented by Alexis Zeigler of the OKC Marriott and Remington Park that she calls “Mistletoe.”
4 Mint leaves
Juice of one-half orange (fresh squeezed)
2 oz. Pomegranate juice
1 oz. Agave juice
Sierra Mist or soda water
Muddle the mint leaves five times, pour the orange juice into a glass and add the pomegranate and agave juice. Give it all a good shake and pour over ice. Top with Sierra Mist or soda water and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
For a downloadable copy of all the recipes entered in this year’s mix-off, go online to www.AAA.com/partyguide or call Danial at (918) 748-1074 for a free mailed copy. And for the 2010 and 2011 recipe guides, go to Safety Brochures in the AAA News & Safety section of AAA.com.
DESIGNATED DRIVERS can be those in the group who don’t drink or can be a rotated responsibility from night to night. Reward designated drivers with free non-alcoholic beverages (such as mocktails) or special gifts.
AAA’s ABCs of smart party-giving tips
A – Alcohol. Be sure your guests are the life of the party. Have a car key collection when your guests arrive and tag the keys. When guests leave, detect their level of intoxication. If you feel they would be unsafe behind the wheel, call them a cab or arrange for other transportation, such as a Tipsy Tow. Mix drinks yourself, avoid open bars. Limit mixing drinks with carbonation, as carbonated beverages increase alcohol absorption. Close your bar 90 minutes before your party is over– and don’t encourage “one for the road.”
B – Buffet. Always serve high protein foods, such as cheese and meats. They stay in the stomach longer and slow down the rate of intoxication. Mashed potatoes and beans (as well as other starchy foods) are great, too. Minimize salt. Salt makes people thirsty and speeds up intoxication. Serve dips and spreads with unsalted or low-salt crackers or raw vegetables. Also, consider cold-cut trays, cheese fondues and cheese balls. Always provide non-alcoholic mocktails, soft drinks, juices, punch and sugar-free beverages.
C – Carpool. Remember, only time will make your guests sober. Not coffee and not cold showers. It takes about one hour to burn off an average drink. Five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and one and one-half ounces of liquor all contain about the same amount of alcohol. Keep watch on behavior. Sleepy, too talkative, too giddy, and uncoordinated guests are under the influence. Arrange cab rides, Tipsy Tows, rides with the “designated driver,” or invite intoxicated friends to sleep over. For irate intoxicated guests, “hide” their car keys until they have found another ride home. You may feel as if you have lost a friend that night, but you will have an even better friend the next morning. Be first a friend – then a host.