How our dinner dates have changed after we stopped drinking
Updated: Feb 11
My husband and I have always enjoyed going out for dinner. Be it a snack by the bar counter, a local low-key place, the occasional fine dining experience - or our yearly Valentine's dates.
Our dinners used to be accompanied by bubbles and red wine - perhaps an Aperol Spritz to start off with. But since we stopped drinking alcohol 13 months ago, our dates look somewhat different.
We dine out less these days. Not a conscious decision but just one of those things. I believe it's partly due to our sober lifestyle - but honestly, Covid has also turned us into Netflix-addicted homebodies.
We're out of there quickly
Unless we go for a tasting menu with several courses, we're usually out of the restaurant quite fast. A bottle of wine that would last over two courses used to be part of the "dinner date ritual" but without it, once we've eaten up, we're usually ready to ask for the bill. We'll then often have a drink at home because funnily enough, the Floris household offers a vaster range of AF drinks than almost any restaurant in KL.
All about the offer
While we live in a Muslim country, we'll often choose Western non-halal restaurants (where alcohol is served ) for our dates and I guess it is still ingrained in us to desire something tasty, served in a pretty glass. And despite some progress, Malaysia is not quite there yet. So, we don't feel that the restaurants cater for us - leaving us often no other option but a fruit juice or sparkling water.
I'm convinced that our dinner dates would look different (and be more frequent) were we able to find an amazing non-alcoholic drink pairing menu. The closest we've come was at De Wan fine dining restaurant here in KL. They did a juice parining for us. I have high hopes for restaurants back in Europe to be catering more for our needs. And imagine ordering oysters with the new ISH N/A white wine! We can't get I here but I'm dying to try it.
So, why not just one glass occasionally?
I have talked and written about moderation quite a lot. I find it fascinating how some people are able to moderate - and others aren't. My husband and I are in the latter category. We are both very aware that one glass will likely turn into a bottle. But, to tell you the truth, we no longer have a desire to moderate. We're happy about not drinking at all! I re-posted something today on my Instagram which really resonated with me. As long as we moderate, we don't fully accept that a life without alcohol can be fulfilling.
Sounds like your dates are boring! Is it really worth it?
You could probably say that our dates have become more boring. And there is no shame in that. Just like there is no shame in admitting that we're probably perceived as more boring since we quit drinking. But, you know what they say: We don't drink to have fun. We drink to tolerate activities that would otherwise be boring 😉 I will be writing more about 'embracing boring' soon.
However, to answer your question: YES! It is worth it! We eat, have a meaningful conversation, look each other in the eyes, go home, no poison in our bodies, wake up early, completely hangover- free! Every. single. day.
BEFORE: Our 20th Wedding anniversary at Marini's on 57 in Kuala Lumpur. Wine pairing menu.
AFTER: Dinner at Sri Lankan restaurant. No fresh juices or AF alternatives available. So we had a spiced chai.