Mocktails are a great way to indulge without actually indulging. If you're pregnant, if you're teetotal or if you're allergic to booze, you can order one, pretend you're drinking the hard stuff and come away without a hangover.

They're also good for those under the legal drinking age, which is presumably why 33-year-old Mark Thomas and his fiancée, Kathryn Wilson, 29, ordered one for their young daughter Evelyn when they went out for a meal at American-themed chain restaurant Frankie & Benny's in Burtonwood, Warrington, on 20 December.

However, four year-old Evelyn was accidentally served an alcoholic cocktail called F&B On The Beach - not the booze-free mocktail called Fruity Sunrise that they ordered.

Evelyn guzzled a third of the drink before pushing it away in disgust. Which we'd probably do too if we were four years old and drinking Eristoff vodka and Archers Peach Schnapps, which are used to make the drink along with orange and cranberry juice.

Credit: Mercury Press

At first, the couple thought their daughter, who loves fruit juice, was just being fussy and they encouraged her to drink more. But then a panicked waitress rushed to their table to admit the mistake.

By that point it was too late, however. Mark claims the drink left Evelyn unable to walk in a straight line, and caused her to crack jokes and giggle to herself in the bathroom mirror.

"She was really thirsty when the drink was brought over," the systems analyst told the Mirror. "She had gulped about a third, but she recoiled and said she didn't like it.

"We thought it was just her being fussy, as most four year-olds are. One week fish fingers are her favourite, the next week she doesn't like them.

"We looked at each other and told her to drink it because she likes fruit juice. She had a few more sips but no more.

"Then the waitress came over and was really worried, she looked like she was about to cry. She told us that she had accidentally given Evelyn a real cocktail. Me and Kathryn just looked at each other, I don't think I believed it at first. The waitress was really apologetic."

Credit: Mercury Press

While they probably had every right to get very angry, the couple took it in their stride and 'acted kindly' towards the waitress while keeping an eye on Evelyn.

"We kept asking her if she was okay and if she needed anything but she said she was fine. Then she stood up in the booth and just started dancing. Four-year-olds are silly anyway so we weren't sure if it was the alcohol or just her being a four-year-old.

"She told us she needed a wee so I took her into the baby change toilets as there was more room in there. I wanted to see if she could walk but she was swaying, she also walked into a post.

"I led her into the toilets but she didn't have a wee - she did start to look in the mirror, laughing at herself and telling funny jokes.

"This may have looked normal for any other four-year-old but I knew it wasn't normal for Evelyn."

Credit: Mercury Press

Mark ordered some garlic bread and ice-cream to help soak up the booze his daughter had ingested and eventually took her home to sleep it off, but a call to 111 told them she should probably be taken to A&E to be examined.

"They did tests and she couldn't walk in a straight line," said Mark. "Anything serious was ruled out and we were told she was just tipsy and to keep an eye on her.

"They said she would have a hangover. I couldn't believe it, she was four years old and about to have her first hangover."

Credit: Mercury Press

He continued: "Kathryn stayed off work with her the next day. She was complaining of a headache so we kept her fluids up.

"Just the previous week she was on some strong antibiotics so it worries me that if this had happened then she would have been in a much more serious condition."

Frankie & Benny's offered Mark a free meal voucher by way of apology, which he has deemed 'unacceptable'.

Mark is now calling for tighter training around alcoholic drinks and for mocktails to be served in a cup that's clearly intended for children.

"We are very sympathetic to the waitress here, she was genuinely upset by it," he said. "We don't want her disciplined by her employer, we see it as a training issue."

Featured Image Credit: Mercury Press

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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