As the cold light of January hits the festive hangover, many of groan, pull a pillow over our aching heads and resolve never to drink again. And for a lot of us, this is unrealistic. Dry January is a great way to cut down the booze following a month (alright, six weeks) of overindulgence. But you might want to consider changing your drinking habits for good – benefits include more energy, brighter skin, better concentration, a slimmer waistline and fatter wallet. Hilary Marsh, wine merchant, mixologist and founder of non-alcoholic soft drink Botonique, reveals the steps you can take towards healthier alcohol consumption in 2018:
We’re not saying hole up for 12 months, but recognise that it’s easy to go a little over the top when out drinking with friends. Fear not: there are simple ways you can control this. First, make sure your friends know you don’t want to drink excessively, and so should not buy you drinks or insist on ‘just one more’ at the end of the night – we all know how generous the inebriated can be! Budgeting is also helpful: take a certain amount of cash out with you and leave your cards at home so you don’t have the means to drink more.
Pace and alternate
Enjoy social occasions to the fullest and limit your alcohol intake by pacing your drinks. Alternating between booze and soft drinks is an easy way to do this and will keep you hydrated (helping ward off hangovers), and save you money – win-win. A fizzy drink or fruit juice will do, as will the increasing range of non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits available. Water is, of course, the best option for minimising the negative effects of alcohol, and gives you the best chance of avoiding a hangover.
Everything in moderation
Lots of lifestyle changes, from weight loss to reduced alcohol consumption, can be achieved through moderation. You needn’t cut out your favourite drinks entirely (not only a miserable prognosis but also unrealistic) but just go easier on them. Wine lovers can opt for a smaller glass of their favourite vintage, or one with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume), while beer drinkers can reduce their intake by going for bottles instead of pints. If cocktails are more your thing, try these healthier cocktail recipes.
People who enjoy the social aspects of drinking – and the flavours of their favourite tipples – or who want to cut out alcohol entirely, have more options than ever with the expanding non-alcoholic drink market. Such brands are committed to crafting authentic flavours to deliver a great drinking experience, with none of the alcoholic volume. Botonique, which we call ‘the champagne of health drinks,’ is one of these – it’s a non-alcoholic wine devised by mixology and wine experts for the fullest flavour and bouquet, with zero volume. Seedlip offer two delicious alcohol-free spirits, and many mainstream beer brands offer alcohol-free variants.