Taking on the “challenge” of Dry January often sounds tempting on New Year’s Day. That friendly bottle of Vodka makes your stomach turn, the smell of the Tequila is enough to put you off shots for life and the fact that you don’t remember that weird photo happening on Facebook is often an excuse to take a few weeks off the sauce.
The problem is (if you party regularly), a week or so in you sometimes begin to realise that it’s not as easy as it seems when you get to the bar, get served immediately and you don’t have time to switch off autopilot and order that soft one instead. My small periods of abstinence in my uni years followed by my 2 and a bit years of teetotalism to stand by a former partner, didn’t start easy and when becoming single weren’t any easier either.
If you’re finding the process more than sobering, here’s a few ideas to help you hang in there for the next 3 weeks. If you need further inspiration, take a look at Olivia Cox’s entry on the Huffington Post or Oilver Wheaton’s list on Metro’s website.
This seems to be the most popular option for people in the last couple of years. If you don’t want to put off your social life for the month and the idea of going out drinking Pepsi and Water sounds pretty grim, then emulate the drinks you love with their non-alcoholic equivalents.
Mocktails are one form of these and are basically cocktails without the alcohol, but instead are mixed with juices to simulate or create new flavours in the spirit of cocktails (just not liquid spirits).
There are many different mixes to try online and many cocktail bars, larger chain bars and restaurants often carry a mocktail list in addition to their alcoholic cousins. If your watering hole doesn’t do dedicated mocktails, you can often ask for a “virgin” equivalent of your favourite cocktails and your mixologist may be able to add in a suitable alternative.
Non Alcoholic Beers, Ciders and Wines
If you favour the flavour of the grape or grain over cocktails and mocktails, the good news for you is you can still have it in non booze form too.
These drinks are made the same way as normal with an extra step added in to boil, steam or filter out the alcohol. Done correctly this means the flavour won’t change too much, with companies such as Kopparberg and Becks already sporting their ranges in many places.
The Other Kind of Brew
If you’re from or studying in the North of England, this will make complete sense. For the rest, a simple cup of tea or coffee in the evening is another great way to unwind, provided you’ve had a break from it at some point in the day. You’ll notice too that if enjoyed at a Sunday afternoon pace you’ll feel a little fuller and the urge for it’s name sharing friend will become less so. So grab a knife and fork, the nearest paper or whatever you choose to stream your boxsets on and forget about the ironic depressant that often livens you up and instead chill out with a stimulant that’ll help you unwind.
If it’s a daytime session replacement you’re after, why not switch it up and take advantage of that new year’s resolution of trying to be healthier. Juice bars are becoming more popular alongside fruit smoothies and shots of Wheatgrass (only for the reckless and the brave) and offer a healthier alternative to your choice of poison.
If the expense of the outing seems too much, why not try making some at home? Again a quick search online usually leads to this or in the case of chipping in to buy a blender, your manufacturer may even be generous enough to share a few recipes in the instruction book. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone and giving yourself the chance of a better life ahead (at least until next month).
However you choose to stay dry, I hope it all works out for those taking part, and to those who feel a little left out this week, I’ll be counterbalancing with some fun when this is all over.
Good luck and keep going!