words Alexa Wang
There are all kinds of reasons to give up alcohol – or, at the very least, reduce your consumption. Many serious diseases are associated with the stuff, as if a hangover wasn’t punishment enough.
Of course, most of us aren’t prepared to pack drinking in entirely. That’s why practices like Dry January can be so rewarding. By taking a month off, you can reflect on exactly how your life would be different without alcohol, and then reassess your relationship with it in the long-term.
But unless you want to become an evangelist for abstinence, or to turn into a recluse for a month, then you’ll have to interact with people who are drinking when you’re not. So, what do you order in this situation? There are a few options.
This is like a cocktail that doesn’t include any alcohol. You’ll get the same flavour experience, or something close to it, without the effects of a double rum, vodka and triple-sec. The quality of your mocktail might vary, and certain establishments might not serve them. In most cases, you’ll have plenty to choose from, however – especially during dry January.
A cup of tea might seem like a strange substitute for a pint of cider – but bear in mind that there are many variants besides the traditional builder’s favourite. Look for green teas, herbal teas, and more exotic variants like Lapsang Souchong. Again, you might find a more extensive list of hot drinks in some places than in others.
It might seem to be an extreme choice, but water is actually a safe option, since you know that it’s widely available. There are many varieties of flavoured water on the market, or you might get something from the tap. If you don’t want to appear (or be) stingy, then you might order something alongside the water – or make clear that you’re paying your way by driving everyone else to the establishment in question.
There’s now a huge range of alternatives available when it comes to alcohol-free drinks. Beers, wines and ciders are all available without alcohol – and some produce the taste so convincingly that you might actually start to feel the warming glow that we associate with feeling drunk – even if you’re not. As such, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Bear in mind that many of these drinks actually do contain a little bit of alcohol. There are many different terms used to describe the various levels of alcohol, and these vary in the US and Europe, so it’s worth checking the label for specifics.
If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you might find that alcohol-free products trigger your symptoms, so it might be best to avoid them in favour of some of the other options we’ve mentioned.