Ladies, are you doing #dryjanuary — or otherwise trying to back away slowly from alcohol? Do you have favorite mocktails to drink instead during Dry January? I did Dry January last year and found it really refreshing because I broke a lot of bad habits, and got a lot of clarity over when I actually want to drink instead of just drinking out of habit or because of social obligation. For example, most Fridays we have a regular dinner with extended family, and I found that that the first martini that my husband and I share is a really big thing for me. It’s an “us” thing (everyone else drinks wine), as well as a celebration of the week being done and the weekend arriving. On the flip side, it’s far too easy to get in the habit of pouring yourself a glass of wine while making dinner… or watching TV… or as just your default order if you’re meeting a friend out and about… and I find that glass of wine is hugely related to habit more than anything. It isn’t a celebration or a treat — it’s a reflex. Last year, Dry January actually extended into February for me because I got strep throat around my birthday at the end of January… and I lost eight pounds really easily, so there’s that. (Full disclosure: I gained all that back — plus most of my old habits or just as negative new ones — by mid-April — but I’m still grateful I did Dry January! I did really try to resist the pull of mid-week drinking without cause all year, though.)
So… what else to drink instead? I thought I’d round up some of my favorites… readers, are you trying to curtail your drinking as a New Year resolution or as part of Dry January? What are your motivating factors? What else do you drink?
Water or Infused Water
Something I’ve only recently realized is that everyone has the perfect temperature at which they like to drink water, and that it varies pretty widely from person to person. I haaaate lukewarm or room temperature water, but will happily gulp down ice cold water. (But no ice cubes.) In the summer I often freeze a half-filled Nalgene bottle, then add cold water to it to take with me if I’m running errands. I enjoy lemon water water but not so much that it’s worth the extra trouble to me. I once tried to make jalapeno/grapefruit-infused water based on a recipe I saw online, and…. that is too spicy for me.
What to Drink During TV Time Instead of Wine: Tea
I feel like it was just yesterday that I hated tea… but I’ve been into it for a while now. (We had a nice discussion on the best teas a while ago!) Rooibos tea was my gateway, and I started drinking it because it had been recommended as a wine replacement. It is not that — but it has a nice, non-bitey taste to it, and it’s caffeine free so it’s a good option for late afternoons or evenings. If I want a sweet hit at night while watching TV or reading I’ll make myself some fruity herbal tea or chocolate mint tea. This mojito marmalade tea looks all kinds of awesome. Funnily enough, I’ve since acquired a taste for black tea and earl gray tea… but I still find green tea hard to enjoy.
What to Drink During Meal Prep & Dinner: Seltzer
There are a TON of seltzers out there right now, and I’ve totally become the person who brings a case of Spendrift with me to parties in addition to wine and other nibbles. My favorite is Spindrift, but I’m also a fan of plain seltzer (or seltzer with a splash of juice) from the SodaStream (affiliate link) or LaCroix Cúrate in Cerise Limón.
Celebratory Non-Alcoholic Drinks: Unicorn Juice
Readers turned me on to this, and it’s kind of fun to offer someone unicorn juice — it’s unflavored seltzer with a teaspoon or so of powdered pink lemonade. Yum!
What to Drink Instead When You Want Something a Little Zippy: Kombucha
Kombucha feels too expensive (and my fridge is too small) to drink it really regularly, but I like to have half a bottle or so during dinner every so often. (Note that kombucha has some alcohol content, but I believe it’s very small.)
What to Drink Instead During Dry January: Fancy DIY Mocktails
If you want to get fancier, you can start making fancier mocktails with bitters. I’ve even heard of people who use gin-making kits to flavor a club soda, or to soak the flavorings in hot water to make a large batch of gin-flavored tea to keep in the fridge, either to mix with tonic water or to use with the Sodastream. The Kitchn has a lot of fancy articles on mocktails, including one on shrubs (which, whoa, look really interesting and now I need to order some).
What to Drink Instead: Non-Alcoholic Versions of Alcoholic Drinks
I’ve heard amazing things about Seedlip Spirits, but have never tried them myself. Non-alcoholic wine is… kind of vinegary, IMHO, but it does exist. When I was pregnant I liked O’Douls non-alcoholic beer because everything else tasted too sweet to me (I am really not a beer drinker otherwise). Here’s a recent roundup from Esquire on non-alcoholic beers, and from The Spirits Business on non-alcoholic spirits.
Readers, are you doing Dry January? What are your favorite things to drink instead during Dry January? If you’ve done Dry January before (or regularly take time away from alcohol), what have you learned during your dry periods?
Here’s the thing, ideally, a gentleman never gets drunk because a gentleman should never lose control of his faculties. Now, that is definitely easier said than done!
Drinking, and by that, I mean alcoholic beverages, can be a pleasure, a social expectation, or tricky at times because it may damage your reputation. For example, the office holiday party almost always produces some gossip because some people like to drink too much. The same goes for weddings or business dinners, you do not want to be the guy that ruins the evening for everyone or be responsible for not closing the deal.
I certainly have been drunk before. In particular, there was one instance where I was about 18 or 19 years old, it was at a party and I drank a lot, I passed out and I could not remember a thing anymore. But when I talked to my friend the next morning, he told me that I had puked on his leg. I have never been as embarrassed before and I never had as much to drink thereafter.
So even if you are not wasted, being intoxicated always has an impact on how you behave and how you are perceived. The truth is, we are never at our best behavior when intoxicated and the potential of long-term regret outweighs the pleasure of one night.
To top it all off, everyone has a smartphone these days and they take photos and videos and they may end up getting to your employer, your mom, or to that uncle who had you in his will. So the main goal of drinking like a gentleman is to enjoy yourselves while still being civil and in full control of yourself.
8 Practical Drinking Tips
Know your limit
1. Know Your Limit
Everyone has different reactions to the amount of alcohol they drink and it is up to you to know what is acceptable and what is too much. For you, that may mean one drink an hour, maybe you can do more, maybe you can do less. Maybe you will always have to eat something before you drink or maybe you abstain completely.
Set of alcohol cocktails
2. Stick With The Classics
Most bartenders will be able to mix up a gin and tonic or an old-fashioned. Moreover, keep in mind, a gentleman drinks his beverage from a cup or a glass, not from the can or the bottle. Personally, my drink of choice is a Manhattan which usually consists of a rye whisky with some vermouth, some bitters, maybe a maraschino cherry and a little bit of an orange peel or grapefruit peel. I love this go-to drink because I had it many times before, I know how strong it is, I know how to pace myself.
Generally, most whiskeys have about the same strength unless they are cask strength and because of that, it is best to always order your specific whiskey. I like to have a Manhattan on the rocks with crown royal rye whisky. Now, if the bartender does not have that whisky, ask them what they have and you may come up with something, that is okay.
3. Pace Yourself
You are under no obligation to keep up with how much other people are drinking. Ideally, you can establish your own pace and one of the best ways to fend off questions for another drink is to simply have your glass half full. If you don’t want to drink at all, that is totally fine. You may be on a prescription medication, you don’t drink for religious reasons, or you just don’t feel like it today. If you still do not want to explain yourself all the time while you are not drinking, ideally, just order a lime and soda with some ice ideally in a high ball, that way, it looks like a gin and tonic and nobody will bug you.
Do not give in to peer pressure
4. Be Immune To Peer Pressure
Honestly, that is one of the hardest things for most men. Most people love to drink and enjoy doing so in a company and that may mean that they will bug you consistently and you just have to be firm and say NO multiple times if necessary. There is no need to explain yourself, you can just say “No, thanks, I’ve had enough for tonight.”. Simply repeat if required.
Having A Drink
5. Do Not Push Drinks On Others
You may be really into paying this round of tequila shots but not everyone might be into that. It’s fine to offer someone else a drink but if they say no, accept it for what it is, do not tease them, do not ask them again, or make fun of them.
This is just plain impolite
6. Treat Bar Staff With Respect
I know that can be hard if you have been waiting in line for twenty minutes and you feel someone else has cut in and gotten served ahead of you. Keep your composure, wait for the bartender, try to seek eye contact but do not wave with your money, don’t snap with your fingers because that is just rude and impolite. Of course, you should also tip well in line with the social norms in the place you are at. In the US, for example, it is typical to tip 15-20%. In Germany, for example, it is not expected.
7. Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Drinking will usually relax even the most guarded person’s view on interpersonal space but getting too close to someone or even touching them is a clear indicator that you have had way too much to drink.
A rectangular stainless steel hip flask
8. Do Not Sneak In Your Flask
If you go to a bar to have a drink, don’t sneak in your flask and drink from it. Also, if you are at a whisky, wine, or beer tasting, things are a little different.
In conclusion, drinking like a gentleman means you should not behave in a way that makes you a pain in the *** to others around you. Very simple, isn’t it? What are your drinking pet peeves?
The people of El Paso, Texas are resilient. Living in the middle of the harsh Chihuahuan Desert, the city has no other choice. On average, 15 days every year spike over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The city gets little relief with an annual rainfall of just about 9 inches. It’s one of the hottest cities in the country.
ULTIMATE 2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FROM BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES: Food and Drink
Know someone who is always here for chocolate-covered strawberries? Chocberry Kreations allows them to become their own chocolatiers with this DIY chocolate dipping kit.
Capital City Mambo Sauce
Capital City Co. is a family-owned company based in the Maryland suburbs, owned by Charles and Arsha Jones. Mambo sauce originated in the D.C. area, according to the company’s website. Pick up the sauce is D.C. or have it shipped via ordering online.
Not Just Tea
Not Just Tea offers “hand-blended teas and whimsical tea accessories.”
This family-owned winery is located in California’s Livermore Valley wine region. From their website, “We handle everything from bin to bottle,” says winemaker Phil Long. Current production is around 2000 cases, with plans to increase production to max out at around 2500 cases. “At 2500 cases it’s still more fun than work”. All of the wines are produced in small batches to keep a hands-on approach to quality control.”
Finally Ginger founder Carol Emeruwa started baking ginger cookies 30 years ago to please the finicky taste buds of her child when chocolate chip cookies weren’t cutting it. Now her artisanal cookies, baked with three kinds of ginger, are available in five flavors: original ginger, lemon ginger, orange ginger, chocolate chunk ginger, and oatmeal cranberry ginger. All of the flavors were hits at the Black Enterprise office; there was literally nothing but crumbs left in the reusable metal git tins. They’re sold in select stores in New York and Ohio and online as gift boxes (1 or 2 dozen cookies), snack packs (individually wrapped in sets of two), and subscriptions (for three or six months).
Just Add Honey Tea Co.
In business now for 12 years, the husband-and-wife founders of the Just Add Honey Tea Co. are serving up more than tea at their café in Atlanta, Georgia. They sell extensions of their brand online as well as tea gift sets and accessories.
Not only has Sweet Dames Artisan Confections landed in Bloomingdale’s stores, the mouthwatering gourmet macaroons were voted one of the Top Five Desserts in NYC PopMarkets by MetroNYC and are available online.
3 Some Chocolates
Everyone loves chocolate, but what makes 3 Some Chocolates so different? They blend three chocolates everyone loves—milk, white, and dark—combine it into one bar, and name it a “3 Some.”
Shots and shiraz may have fuelled her twenties, but now Nicola Moyne is on a quest to banish the booze. Here, she discovers if the power of hypnosis is more potent than the festive pull of pinot
As a child of the 80s, my teenage years were a blur of WKD Blues and garage music. A minimum of four nights a week were spent in small-town bars or kaleidoscopic-lit clubs, swigging alcopops and cheap, vinegary wine to the dance-floor beats of Artful Dodger and Bobby Brown. Regular blackouts prevented me (sometimes thankfully) from remembering the night before and no matter how many times I staggered or slurred, I always wanted ‘one more glass’.
Fast-forward to my mid-thirties and drinking had become, not unsurprisingly, a habitual nightly routine. One large glass of red with dinner had slowly morphed into two. Soon enough I was able to quaff an entire bottle, and decanting Tesco’s finest Malbec (my middle-class poison of choice) on a Monday evening had become as natural as brushing my teeth in the morning – as had sleepwalking my way through the following day in a foggy, hungover haze.
Then there were ‘the incidents’: the nights out where I drank myself into oblivion with other hard-drinking friends and had to be helped home by kind strangers on the train. Invariably, I remembered nothing from the evening past my third glass, but I always woke fully clothed, feeling ashamed, anxious and demonstrably sick. Some mornings I realised that I had fallen and cut my knee/chin/elbow; others that I no longer had my purse/phone/coat. I tried drinking gin instead, but it turns out that’s addictive too. Something had to give.
It proved a timely decision: last month, a report published by the World Health Organization found 13.5 per cent of all deaths among people in their twenties are linked to alcohol. Similarly, a recent study by the Global Burden of Diseases has concluded that ‘the safest level of drinking is none.’
But the thought of never drinking again, of forgoing a flute of champagne to celebrate a birthday or having a glass of full-bodied red with friends over Sunday lunch once every so often didn’t feel right either. I wanted the holy grail: I wanted to be able to control how much and where and when I drank; I wanted to achieve moderation.
‘Unlike a lot of other therapies that tend to rake up the past, hypnotherapy provide a tool for positive change’
I turned to Ailsa Frank. A leading UK-based hypnotherapist and motivational coach with a proven track record in addressing the nation’s drinking problem, Ailsa has helped thousands of people to quit or drastically reduce their alcohol intake through the tool of hypnosis. More than 70 per cent of her clients initially seek help for alcohol-related problems and over the past 13 years, she has rolled out an increasing number of hypnotherapy workshops, one-to-one phone sessions and audio downloads to meet the growing demand. There’s also her book, Cut The Crap And Feel Amazing, which, rather incredibly, Ailsa wrote in just 10 weeks.
‘I used the power of self-hypnosis to write that,’ she laughs. ‘I literally told myself that I could do it; that I was doing; that it was done,’ and, day-by-day, I ploughed through the pages. Your mind is incredibly powerful and, unlike a lot of other therapies that just tend to rake up the past, hypnotherapy provides a real tool for positive change.’
So how does it work? ‘Memories, habits and patterns are stored in the subconscious part of your brain, so when you learn a habit – like tying your shoelaces when you’re a child – it becomes automatic. Learning to drink alcohol in a certain way is exactly the same thing, and it will become a deeply ingrained, automatic habit that’s hard to shift.’
In my first phone session with Ailsa, we spend 30 minutes discussing my life generally. Am I stressed at work? (Not particularly.) What hobbies do I have? (Too many to list here.) How often do I drink? (Usually every day.) Why do I want to stop? (To escape increasingly horrific hangovers, focus on my health and generally grow up a bit). Then we get down to business.
I’m asked to lie on my bed or sofa and switch my phone to loudspeaker or plug in headphones. I opt for the latter options and listen intently to Ailsa’s soothing voice, which instructs me to rub my arms from shoulder to elbow and fix my eyes on a comfortable spot on the ceiling. I’m then instructed to close my eyes and start counting backwards silently to myself as Ailsa starts the hypnosis part of the session. I’m vaguely aware of experiencing rapid eye movement as she asks me to visualise myself walking down a set of stairs and out on to a beautiful garden, where there’s a shimmering pond and stepping-stones bathed in different colours that lead to a winding road, presumably symbolising my life.
From here though, the details become a little fuzzy. I’m asked to visualise my worries as pebbles that I let go of by dropping into the pond; to see myself as a child in the garden, confident, playful, cared for; and to imagine doors to new opportunities opening up along the winding road to sobriety.
I’m not asleep – in fact I’m very aware of Ailsa’s voice throughout and what she asking me to visualise – but I am incredibly relaxed. I’m asked to convey what I’m thinking or feeling and we communicate on and off throughout the hour-long session. Afterwards, however, the details of what she has said to me are vague. I remember stepping-stones and roads and seeing a happy five-year-old version of myself, but nothing much in between.
‘If your conscious and subconscious minds don’t match, you won’t truly break the habit’
‘We are in a state of hypnosis at some point most days,’ Ailsa explains. ‘For instance, when you drive somewhere but can’t remember the journey itself or how you got there, or when you have absolutely no idea what junction you’re at – that’s because your brain has entered a hypnotic state.
‘Hypnotherapy is just a relaxation tool that allows you to access a memory bank – the part of your brain that stores habits – so that you can break them and build new ones. It is a way to clear up the deeper parts of your mind so that you can perform at your very best,’ she says.
Over the course of six weeks, I have two more one-to-one phone sessions with Ailsa, lasting 45-60 minutes each and listen to a 10-minute relaxation recording before bedtime each night. I even cajole my partner, Richard, into having two sessions with Ailsa to get us both on the same sobering page and break habitual evening drinking together (basically, I figure there’s safety in numbers).
Initially, I’m skeptical about the feasibility of drinking in moderation. Going teetotal, I get: you’re eradicating temptation by taking yourself out of the game. But being able – let alone wanting – to drink just one glass of wine seems completely alien to me.
‘My clients tell me it’s the same feeling as having too many cups of tea – when you’re offered another one, you simply say you don’t fancy it because you genuinely don’t,’ Ailsa says, reassuringly.
Sure enough, after session one the mid-week drinking stops immediately. We’d both been trying to cut down on drinking alcohol after work prior to the sessions, but after having hypnotherapy, neither of us has to battle with ourselves as we pass the alcohol aisle in the supermarket.
‘Where hypnotherapy differs to will power is that it alters not only your conscious mind, but your subconscious too,’ Ailsa explains. ‘That’s why people who complete Dry January often struggle to keep up good habits once February rolls round – they may have altered their conscious mind, but they haven’t reframed their relationship with alcohol in the subconscious part of the brain – and if your conscious and subconscious minds don’t match, you won’t truly break the habit.’
I start to notice other small shifts. For instance, I start buying sparkling water and filling my usual wine glass with it of an evening to relax. It feels just the same as drinking wine, minus the fuzzy head and rambling conversations over dinner. I also start running more regularly and practicing yoga twice a week – a goal I’d worked towards for at least a year but never quite managed. I start eating healthier lunches and dinners, and getting up earlier, feeling refreshed and energised rather than shattered and slightly depressed. The change is noticeable and quite remarkable.
‘People forget just how good they feel when they don’t drink on a regular basis. If you have a daily drinking habit, you’re essentially always playing catch-up with yourself, which becomes exhausting and can have a huge detrimental effect on your career and relationships,’ Ailsa says.
However, the true test comes just after my third and final session: I’m going on a girl’s weekend. With my hard-drinking friends. To an undisclosed location. I start to panic that my new, wholesome habit of drinking very little and only in social situations when and if I fancy it, is going to come crashing down around my smug sober self faster than you can pour a glass of pinot.
Incredibly, though, it doesn’t happen. Not at the airport when everyone is joyously quaffing prosecco; not on the plane when everyone orders a cheeky bottle of Merlot; not even on the ‘big night out’ when the girls are merrily clinking their goblets of aperol spritz. And not because I’m forcing myself to stay off the booze or morosely sipping my one glass of shiraz while the rest of the revelers party up a storm, but because I’m genuinely having a great time without it. I feel happy, confident and completely content to just have the one, or even – shock, horror – none.
‘My once-toxic relationship with alcohol has gone through an unequivocal break-up’
I enjoy sipping a lovely glass of locally produced valpolicella with dinner each evening, and order a deliciously sharp gin cocktail at a swanky underground bar. But it’s clear that my once-toxic relationship with alcohol has gone through an unequivocal break-up.
Where once I would have ordered three large glasses of anything, now I savour a few sips of a good-quality red and want nothing more. I feel full and in control; like I’m sat at a table heaving with amazing food, but I’m completely content after a few delicious mouthfuls, favouring the sparkling water I now instinctively order instead. What’s more, I go for a morning run. Twice. On holiday.
Feeling refreshed and thrilled that I’ve finally mastered the art of drinking in moderation, I return to the UK half expecting my partner Richard to have cracked open a few beers while I’ve been away. ‘Beer?’ he says, slightly confused when I ask how he got on without me. ‘I was out sailing all weekend – I didn’t even have time to think about drinking,’ he admits.
Which pretty much sums up what Ailsa is trying to achieve with each and every one of her clients. ‘Life will always be a roller coaster – we all experience loss and stress, which is why so many people lose themselves in drinking at some point – but if we actively reframe our thoughts to look for the amazing, for the positives, we can create a happy, fulfilled, more balanced life; one where we always live in the best moment and enjoy passing through.’ That’s something I think we can all cheers to. Just make mine a sparkling water…
‘Take Control Of Alcohol’ and ‘Stop Binge Drinking For Women’ hypnosis downloads by Ailsa Frank are available at Ailsafrank.com at £14.99; Cut The Crap And Feel Amazing by Ailsa Frank (£10.99, Hay House) is a dip-in, no-nonsense guide to shedding habits that are holding you back. Utilising the power of positive thinking and self-hypnosis, the book delivers actionable tips on how to reframe your thoughts on everything from alcohol reduction and clearing debts to dealing with heartache and health. For one-to-one hypnotherapy phone sessions (£150 each; 2-4 required) contact Ailsa Frank via her website.
Alcohol advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook can increase young adults’ desire to drink if the ads contain pro-drinking comments from users, according to new research. Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily