CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Sports Bar at the Camp Zama Community Club here debuted five new “mocktails” during a social April 11, adding to its menu a variety of nonalcoholic alternatives for patrons.
The Army Substance Abuse Program here collaborated with CZCC staff to introduce the drinks as a way to promote Alcohol Awareness Month, which is observed every April. But what got the process started was a serendipitous drink order a few months ago.
Leslie Noel, an ASAP specialist, was at the Sports Bar and asked Yuko Portillo, the bar chief there, if she could mix something without any alcohol. Portillo devised a drink “on the spot,” Noel said, and it was so delicious that Noel spoke with the club management about creating a full lineup of mocktails.
Portillo eventually came up with five drinks, giving them evocative names like the Sour Apple Jolly Rancher, the Cran-Tastic and the Electric Lemonade.
“Yuko took the challenge head on [to] create some beverages for those people who enjoy socializing, like me, but who do not like the alcohol that often comes with that,” Noel said. “She did not disappoint; these drinks are awesome.”
Attendees at the social could sample as many of the drinks as they wanted, like the fruit-based Hugs on the Beach, made with pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine, or the Chocolate Espresso Martini, made with espresso, chocolate sauce and milk, shaken with ice and served in a martini glass garnished with chocolate shavings.
Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson, U.S. Army Garrison Japan commander, was there to present Portillo and the club management with certificates in appreciation of their efforts. He offered some brief remarks while standing in front of the proclamation he had signed a week earlier for Alcohol Awareness Month.
“In the long list of things we want to do to combat the risk of harmful behaviors, we want to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and highlight the fact that you have alternatives in this community and do not have to drink or feel the pressure to drink alcohol,” Tomlinson said. “What a great initiative to have these alcohol-free options always available.”
Sgt 1st Class Mary Katzenberger, a water treatment supervisor assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, heard about the social while attending a training course and decided to attend. Society tends to glamorize alcohol in social settings, she said, so she was pleased that there are now more nonalcoholic options available for community members.
“I really appreciate that the Garrison command decided to host this event, and that alcohol awareness is so important to them,” Katzenberger said. “I think events like these will only help Soldiers and family members on Camp Zama.”