If you’re doing Dry January this year, you’ll have noticed that there are lots of aspects to get used to. For some, it’s missing the taste of alcohol, for others it’s the buzz, and many people have to adjust their routines to counteract the daily glass of wine.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be all lime and sodas from now until the end of the month. There’s loads of products on the market that can help you enjoy Dry January without feeling like you’re missing out.
The great thing about mocktails is that there are generally loads of other ingredients in that glass, which means you’re not likely to miss the alcohol too much. To have a go at making mocktails at home, try A Sweetpea Chef’s non-alcoholic raspberry mojito recipe or a virgin pina colada from The Little Loaf. If you’re confident enough to make it up as you go along, throw a selection of fruity things into the blender and see what you come up with. Just remember not to reach for the drinks cabinet.
It used to be that there was only really one alcohol-free beer readily available in most bars, but that’s no longer true. You can often get a zero per cent wheat beer if you’re not in the mood for lager and many craft breweries are now producing non-alcoholic versions of their beers, so there’s enough variety to keep an evening in the pub interesting. Try BrewDog’s Nanny State if you don’t know where to start.
Distilled non-alcoholic spirits
The bottles may look like those you’d associate with gin or rum and the flavours are complex and tasty, but a new breed of spirits have appeared on the market recently that are alcohol-free. These are particularly good if you miss the ritual of mixing yourself a drink and settling down for some quality time, as they feel like a treat and will therefore help you to destress. Seedlip’s Grove 42 is full of citrus and spice notes.
Add some zing with ginger
If you crave that warming feeling that often comes with alcohol, then try a ginger-based drink instead. It’s a great way to beat the winter chill and offers up a number of possibilities. Both ginger beer and ginger ale are alcohol-free, despite their names and widely available in bars and shops.
Garnishes are your friend
A large part of the flavour you get from your gin and tonic or other drinks comes from the garnish. Be sure to have lime wedges, pomegranate seeds and orange wheels to hand to help stop yourself from feeling like you’re missing out. Continue to mix your drinks in fancy glasses too, as it all adds to the experience, but without the hangover the next day.
Certain recipes – we’re looking at a Black Forest gateau – require alcoholic ingredients to help enhance their flavour. Use cherry juice or the syrup found in a can or jar of the fruit instead. Almond and vanilla extracts are good substitutes for the likes of amaretto, bourbon and rum, while espresso can be used instead of coffee liqueurs.