Drinking alcohol is a big part of the summer season for a lot of us, and it's pretty normalized. From barbecues and pool parties to the after-work happy hour, so many social events center around drinking. But for a lot of us, drinking doesn't always feel great or can even be harmful for a variety of reasons.
So when I saw 27-year-old Frankie Simmons' (@heyfrankiesimmons) TikTok series about her own "Mocktail Summer" adventure, I was instantly hooked.
She opens her series by explaining that she's realized she doesn't actually enjoy drinking alcohol and that her experiences with drinking have more to do with seeking feelings of inclusion and shared experiences. "I've drank a lot of alcohol, but am I glad it's happening while it's happening? Almost never."
"Usually when I drink right now, it is just because that is the most interesting beverage option that has been made available to me. Like, going to a dinner where everybody else has like a grapefruit gin spritz with a rosemary garnish, and I'm drinking a Topo Chico — do you know how painful that is for bonafide beverage girly like myself?"
"The solution is obviously 'Mocktail Summer.' I'm going to spend all summer trying all the little sober options and doing everything that I can to make a drink that I like as much as a French 75 so that I can have a drink without having a drink."
Frankie told BuzzFeed, "Drinking culture is so normalized that I think so many of us start our relationship with alcohol without thinking about why, and then it becomes this big part of our life as we fall into the drinking patterns of the world around us before ever considering, 'Am I actually enjoying this or do I just like the idea of it?' I would love for my videos to be a prompt or a permission slip to ask some of those questions."
"Asking those questions doesn’t have to be some big, high stakes thing that means something life altering about you. You don’t have to wait until you’re in crisis to hit pause and do some re-assessing. You can just try out some different options and see how they feel, and see that — even if no one in your real life circles quite gets it — there are thousands of people online doing the exact same thing and having the exact same thoughts as you."
She says her favorite mocktail of the summer so far is a grapefruit spritz that she got at a restaurant during a dinner with friends. She says that drink felt, "extra special because I got to be out with my friends, enjoying the full evening, and not being cut off from feeling included just because I didn’t feel like consuming a mood-altering substance that night."
And Frankie has many more delicious bevs planned for the summer. "This week I’m planning to make a pineapple, mint, and ginger beer mocktail that I’m super excited to try. I’m pumped to expand my mixology skills in general and love that the comments of my videos have become a treasure trove of inspiration and recipes."
Finally, she hopes that reexamining our relationships with alcohol and the place that alcohol holds in social events can help us build a more mindful culture around drinking. "There are so many ways that consuming alcohol might not always be a healthy choice, even for people who only drink socially. Creating a culture where there’s more mindfulness and open conversation towards how we choose and partake in substances, across the board, feels like a good idea for everyone."
Follow Frankie on TikTok and Instagram, and share your favorite mocktail recipes in the comments!