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Not just Dry Jan...

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Back by popular demand with new options and discoveries. Welcome to my second non-alcoholic alternatives round-up!

Not drinking, or drinking less alcohol is something I get asked about a lot both on social media and in real life. Why did you stop? Do you feel better? Did people judge you? How did you do it? What did you drink instead?

Below, I answer my most FAQ'S for you so that you can make your own decision on whether not drinking alcohol is for you and how you might go about it. Before I dive in, I just want to make clear that I was not an alcoholic and that this was a lifestyle choice. I used to drink 5-8 times a month (on average). Thought I'd set the scene so that you know where my journey began.

Let's go through them one by one...

Why did you stop?

1. I have never been able to drink and not get hungover. As my life has become more balanced over the years and I've found fun in day socialising rather than just evening going out, I enjoy working out in the morning, feeling good consistently and being myself... having a hangover on a Saturday or Sunday was absolutely not worth it for me anymore.

2. Having never drunk during the week unless I was out with friends, the start of lockdown was full of unknowns and new habits. Although a little daunting because no-one knew how long it was going to last we were 5 living in a house and would make a big meal each evening and open a bottle of wine to go with it. It was how we bonded and made the days better. However, having never drunk wine so frequently I started to get brain fog and this scared me. I don't know if it was the monotony of lockdown and doing the same thing every day or the wine but at the time it was a reason why I was interested in giving up. The brain fog cleared... but I also left London and life became more exciting so I'm still unsure which to put it down to.

3. I know what it can do to your health both short and long term. It didn't feel right supporting people to get healthier while pouring (ok, not pouring but you know what I mean) poison down my throat to have fun.

4. I realised how much/often some of the adults I know drink alcohol, and decided that it's not a lifestyle I want for me.

5. It's incredibly ageing. I guess I'm vain.

Do you feel better?

Yes. I quickly realised that without alcohol I had more days where I felt my best consistently, I had more energy, my skin was less prone to breakouts and the hangover food / cravings were no longer. (The hungover deliveries seem harmless in the moment, but when you do this a few times a month and don't go for a walk/work out because you're watching movies on the sofa it adds up to be 3/4 weeks per year...) I would say that the word that best sums up the benefits of not drinking for me is consistency. I felt it across the board, in all areas of my life and realised that it is a key behaviour change for reaching my goals.

Did people judge you?

Probably. Personally, I would say that a lot of judgement around giving up alcohol comes from a place of others being jealous/envious that they can't do it themselves. So many people talk about giving up but then they don't so when you actually do - they put you down to make themselves feel better. This was clear to me with the odd encounter of this experience here and there. However, I would say that more often than not people just have questions and want to know HOW so that they can give it a try themselves.

I think that there is a terrible narrative that applauds people who can drink excessively and are more 'fun' when they do (often just loud and obnoxious). It puts people who don't drink into this boring, loser box. It's ironic because really all thats happening is that society is encouraging people to continue putting poison in their body in order to give them a false sense of confidence and make them feel star of the show. Maybe I'm being harsh but this is a thought I have.

How did you do it?

My original goal was to do it for 2 weeks and then I just never started again, so I wouldn't say I had a process that I followed as such. I would say though, that having alternatives and a reason (the 5 above) that keeps you focused if you are tempted, really help. Planning to meet with friends in the day not only the evening, doing activities that involve things that aren't associated with drinking etc. all help too, as does support.

What did you drink instead?

This is the fun bit! Find my 6 favourites below (in no particular order). I have included non-alcoholic versions of the real thing, botanical spirits and ready-made mixes.I'm yet to find a wine that doesn't taste like Ribena so generally just avoid it. There are some 0% beers I quite like too, but they are quite inflammatory for me. For other drinks that just taste good, are different and don't have alcohol (think more mixer or soft drink style) you'll have to wait for my next blog post with a list of these. It comes out next week!

- I know it's an obvious one but I really do love all Three Seedlip flavours. This brand has become so easily available that there are few places that don't serve it and I like that. Whether a mixologist is shaking up a cool cocktail in a sexy bar or your'e having it with tonic in a plastic cup - it hits the spot.

- It's ironic because I used to hate Gin when I did drink (more of a tequila girl) but the Tanqueray 0% is great! According to a real gin lover friend, it's a pretty close match, too.

- I find the Three Spirit flavours quite mysterious. They are easy to mix, fairly easy to find and not full of sugar... "Designed to enhance your night from start to finish".

- Caleño have come up with a deeeelish rum alternative which is spicy and exiting and reminds me of holiday. I love the branding and recommend trying it with some ginger beer for a 'dark n stormy' vibe. They have a more citrusy one too called light and zesty, I am yet to try it.

- Highball have the best pre-mixed cocktails in my opinion. With 6 flavours that mirror the original go-to's (mojito, cosmopolitan, g&t, and an Italian spritz vibe) they are colourful with their branding, fun and not too bubbly which I like because, well bloating.

- Sprigster is a shrub infusion that seems to work in a 'mulled wine' style drink as well as a peach fizz or Pisco sour style drink. Versatile I'd say. Made from ingredients grown in the walled garden at Kitchen Garden Co. it is local, delicious and easy to spruce up. Yum.

If drinking less is something you are interested in trying, I have listed a few podcast episodes and books that I know helped not just me but many others on their journey.


Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington -

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