Disclaimer: If you're really struggling with your decisions around drinking, this might be a helpful time to get some help from a doctor or therapist.
After watching a programme called ‘The Big Questions’ on the BBC, I was introduced to an event called ‘Dry January’ which I found particularly interesting.
January is the perfect time to take a break from alcohol. Why not join in on the dry January challenge? The idea is that you give up alcohol for the month of January. It's a great chance to see how alcohol impacts your life and maybe even eat better foods, exercise more, or sleep better. This way you can find out what you're missing without it.
Now I’m not going to be giving out tips on how to stop drinking, that would be hypocritical of me as I’ve never had a sip of alcohol in my life. Instead, I’m going to give you alternatives. So sit down, get comfy and indulge in these pleasant and tasty drinks.
The actual alternatives
Non-Alcoholic beer and wine exist! Yes you heard it. These drinks try to reproduce the taste of beer or wine without having the potential intoxicating effects. Major breweries have been producing non alcoholic beverages since the prohibition period in the USA. Budweiser’s Prohibition brew was one such drink inspired by this historical period.
Right now Spain is the largest producer of non alcoholic beverages, and also the largest consumer in the EU. It’s also important to note that in different countries the regulations may be different, for example in Finland non-alcoholic beverages are classed as 2.8% or lower by volume of ethyl alcohol, whereas places like the UK it’s 0.5%.
The Middle East counts for ⅓ of the non-alcoholic and alcohol free beer and if you think about it it’s not hard to see why. Many countries prohibit the sale of Alcohol, while Islam prohibits alcohol altogether.
We’ve also all heard of Root beer or Ginger ale which make great alternatives too.
Mocktails get their name from ‘mock cocktails’. These are perfect when you’re in a party, or gathering as they resemble a lot like cocktails. In the past few years these drinks have become so popular that they made their way into cocktail menus and bars themselves. They contain a blend of different fruits, herbs, syrups and spices. They are specifically designed for those who do not wish to drink alcohol or want to refrain from drinking. Mocktails are a great way to have a blast of something refreshing, cleansing your palate after eating and are especially perfect for summer weather.
Coffee / Tea
For cold weather such as January however, you may want to go for Coffee or tea instead. It’s said that tea is the second largest drink drunk around the world after water. When it comes to tea, nothing else compares. You don’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed when you refuse to have a drink, people will respect you fine if you get a cuppa or two, especially here in Britain as were all tea lovers here. Similarly, coffee has also made its way into a trendy drink.
Many people drink because of the social factor but with cafe’s opening up left, right and center, you’ll find an abundance of places to meet up and chat. They are two perfect drinks to have in misty weather, outside a coffee shop with a biscuit or cake in hand.
Check out my tea blog to find out the types of teas that are drunk across the world.
For those who like to experiment with different cuisines, cultures and food, I want to recommend you a Turkish drink called Ayran although Persians have a similar drink called Doogh. It’s so old that ancient Turkish tribes long before the Ottomans would drink this. The drink spread across the Muslim world and now is drunk in west, south, central Asia, the middle east and Eastern Eruope in countries like Bosnia and Albania. The drink itself is a fermented yoghurt drink with water and salt. Therefore the taste is quite salty. It’s said to be drunk after a meaty meal to balance your stomach.