It’s best if, when on stage, actors
don’t drink real alcohol.
If you work in the theater and need to make realistic-looking fake booze for a character to drink, what do you make it out of?
Years ago, the toast method was used:
"As a substitute for tea, wine, whisky or brandy he serves to the actors water colored with a piece of toasted bread to suit the shade of the desired liquid and then strained… toast-water has been accepted as the regular thing, agreeable to every palate."
But if burnt toast is unacceptable, you can use cold brewed tea, or a bit of burnt sugar, or caramel coloring, or cola concentrate, or food coloring.
Champagne can be imitated with ginger ale. (Making the cork pop out of the bottle requires more work, however.)
Beer can be done with alcohol-free beer. Or you can add a "cocktail foamer" product such as "Frothee Creamy Head" to make a foamy head on a brown liquid.
Longtime prop maker Eric Hart explains these and other theatrical deceptions on his blog, Prop Agenda.
Making Fake Drinks, Eric Hart’s Prop Agenda>>