Be a lifesaving hero and vote for a HEROtini mocktail this summer

ByTom Kretschmer WPVI logo
Monday, July 1, 2024
Be a lifesaving hero and vote for a HEROtini mocktail this summer
Be a lifesaving hero and vote for a HEROtini mocktail this summer

A new drinking trend is sweeping the nation, but it doesn't involve alcohol.

They're called mocktails: non-alcoholic beverages made to look and taste just like the real thing.

They're also the summer centerpiece of the HERO Campaign, raising awareness about the importance of designated drivers.

The idea is thanks to the Elliott family of Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Bill Elliott's wife Muriel came up with the concept of needing a non-alcoholic drink for the HERO Campaign.

And out of that, they decided to have a contest for the best-tasting mocktail. It's the perfect drink for designated drivers who still want to hang out with their friends at a bar or party.

Folks can be heroes by pledging to be designated drivers.

So, they called the drinks HEROtinis.

This summer, 27 area bars and casinos are participating in the 2024 HEROtini Mocktail Challenge. They are creating delicious beverages for a contest where flavor connoisseurs can vote on their favorite mocktail.

"The hero designated drivers is the real life of the party. He or she is the one that enables you to have fun and still be safe. We're not against drinking, but nobody wants to get into an accident, injure anybody, or hurt themselves. Have fun but be safe," Bill Elliott explained.

Creatively named concoctions like Strawberry Mokjito, Tame Tiki, and Nada Guava Lava fill the menu lists alongside their alcoholic cousins at various New Jersey bars and casinos this summer.

At Gregory's Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point, NJ, bartenders are hard at work keeping up demand for their entry into the competition, Greg's Mango Lemonade.

"The fun part is coming up with our drink. Greg's Mango Lemonade is a summery drink. Who doesn't love mango? It's got mango puree, and simple syrup and is light and refreshing. Be a hero, be a designated driver, and save a life," Carrie Gregory explained.

Designated drivers can be a lifesaving decision for many. The Elliotts know firsthand the importance of the hero who safely gets their friends home.

In 2000, just weeks after graduating from the Naval Academy, Bill's son, John, was killed by a drunk driver on his way home.

"There's not a parent alive who doesn't share that nightmare of the night they might get a knock on the door like we did," Bill says.

He turned that sorrow and grief into a lifelong mission to promote the usage of designated drivers, calling those who take turns to abstain from alcohol for a night, heroes.

Thanks to Bill Elliott's tireless work and the cooperation of so many bars, restaurants, casinos, and police departments across the area, The Hero Campaign has grown into a nationwide movement.

According to their website, more than 100,000 motorists have taken the pledge to promise to use a designated driver or become one for their friends.

He says he's not against having a good time, but the mission of the Hero Campaign is seeing to it that bar patrons can have fun responsibly, by taking the Hero pledge and serving as a designated driver for their friends.

"We think that mocktails are becoming more popular. We think that a lot of people are choosing not to drink alcohol and party with their friends, enabling people to be a part of the party," he said.

"The message is continuing to grow in popularity. It's not a warning, so much as an invitation to do the right thing. That's what our son was, he was a leader by lifting people up. And we hope that's what we're doing as well. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about (my son). But his legacy continues. My daughter's biggest regret is that so many people didn't get the chance to meet their best friend John. He was going to serve his country. I couldn't be prouder of who he was," said Bill.

You can cast your vote and support the Hero Campaign by the HEROtini mocktail website.