January 21, 2010
State department holds drink contest, urges drivers to stay sober

This story has been updated from it's original version.

The California Office of Traffic Safety is holding a drinking contest.

Sort of.

The state department, which administers grant funding to reduce traffic deaths and injuries, is holding the final stage of its non-alcoholic "mocktail" drink contest today at Grange Restaurant in Sacramento.

The contest began in mid-December, when the department launched a Facebook site that included an interactive application soliciting mocktail recipes from Facebook fans statewide.

The recipes are hoped to provide designated drivers with interesting, delicious drinks that allow them to feel included in the party.

"Driving drunk is a problem, but at the same time we don't want people to not have a good time," said Chris Cochran, the department's spokesman. "We're not anti-alcohol, we're anti alcohol plus driving."

In less than a month, the Facebook site attracted more than 1,000 fans and officials received about 40 non-alcoholic drink recipes, he said.

Cochran, along with other staffers - including one that is a former bartender - was tasked with narrowing the list.

"We were looking for things that are new and different and had something unique about them that hadn't been seen before," he said.

Two entries emerged as finalists: Kimberly Beck's "Green Meenie Martini" and Erika Penzer Kerekes' "Minty Pink Sparkler."

Follow the link below to read more about the contest.

Kerekes' mocktail is a dressed-up version of her family's summer staple: watermelon juice. Kerekes, of Santa Monica, buys small seedless watermelons and purees them in a blender with lime, a hit with her two children.

"I love the clean taste of watermelon, and when you marry it with mint and a squeeze of lime, the flavor is really amplified," she wrote in an e-mail to The Bee.

Kerekes, who has a food blog and a column in the LA Cooking Examiner, said the contest was a perfect fit.

"I'm not much of a drinker and always end up the designated driver when we go out, so I love creating fancy non-alcoholic drinks," she said.

Beck, a teacher in Modesto, is always talking to students about not drinking and the dangers of drinking and driving.

"I want them to know that there are ways to have fun without alcohol and certainly making tasty non-alcoholic drinks is one way to do just that," she wrote in an e-mail to The Bee.

The inspiration for Beck's drink came from a girlfriend who had already entered the contest and suggested Beck use basil, mint and lemon in a mocktail.

"I have these ingredients in my garden," she said. "I went ahead and made one and added fresh ginger (the meenie). Wow it was so unique, refreshing and made me feel good."

The two drinks will be mixed up by a Grange bartender and judged on creativity and taste.

Judges include Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety, Jay Johnston, Grange's beverage manager and Courtney Dempsey, a reporter for "Good Day Sacramento."

The winner receives a two-night stay at a Joie de Vivre hotel.

The contest is open to the public and will be held at 4:15 p.m. today at Grange Restaurant, 926 J Street.

Check back here later today for contest results.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

Recommended Links

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31