Let’s start with a moment of honesty - we’re not big fans of Dry January.
That’s hardly surprising, a specialist retailer that loves the spirits it sells is never going to be. Our own agenda aside though, when you hear so many of the objectives people have for doing it, it’s hard not to conclude that a month of no booze seem such an excessive behaviour shift to go about it. Especially when you look at what’s happened over two years and how exciting no and low alcohol options are.
To us, again with vested interests acknowledged and cast aside, abstaining from drinking all-together misses the bigger picture and the healthier opportunity…
Millions “do” Dry January it each year, especially since the pandemic. Over six million took part in 2021, and more last year - almost 10% of the population of the U.K. The benefits are easy to understand too. According to surveys and experts, you can save money and notice a general improvement to your overall health.
That’s amazing, but is completely giving up drinking for a month really the best way to revisit your relationship with alcohol long term?
Is it really the best way to lose weight and get more sleep, or could we "do" dry January a little smarter by engaging in more incremental steps taken across the board and over more months? Wouldn't that be a better way to set yourself up for long term shift in habits?
Many have ditched the old "cold turkey" ways and Mindful Drinking has established itself into the mainstream.
Before you sigh, Mindful Drinking isn’t a woke term. At all. It’s something almost all of the drinks trade subscribe to and something we’ve embraced on Spirits Kiosk. We were one of the first specialist retailers to mark out a No & Low category in our menu bar and we actively look to increase it each month. We want non-alcoholic alternatives to be a part of permanent drinking culture.
It’s clearly happening too as it’s not a trend, it’s a something much bigger. Drinking non-alcoholic cocktails is part of a movement where health, wellness, connectedness and nature collide.
So, rather than saying you’re not drinking this January, we urge you to use the month to proactively explore the amazing alternatives there are out there. Trust us when we say that not only are there great options but that they are names you’ll see pop-up time and again in the months ahead. Not just at home either - even in your favourite bars.
According to CROSSIP and CGA UK’s recent survey of over 300 industry professionals, 80% plan to increase their No & Low offering in the next 12 months, 80% are in favour of them generally and see them as adding to the occasion, while 75% drink one or another brand themselves. So, if the best bartenders are all convinced, what more is it going to take to give it a try?!
With this in mind, use Dry Jan as the perfect excuse to dive headfirst into the category. It’s an invitation to forgo the tired old post-crimbo aspirations of drinking NOTHING, and give yourself the chance to explore drinking BETTER, more SUSTAINABLY and HEALTHIER long term.
Besides with some of these on the shelf, making sure that change continues long after Dry January is easy - they taste delicious!
Non-alcoholic alternatives for Gin fans
NLL ‘Midnight Sun’ takes inspiration from the wild Nordic regions where daylight ventures through the night. Closer to the other extreme of the equinox, it delivers some much-needed summery tones via the likes of hand-picked seaberries, elderberries, kelp and pine.
We love the delicate combination of floral elderflower and herbaceous pine on the nose while the finish works hard to deliver a satisfying sip, and lingers with the drying sensations of sage, pine and kelp.
Meanwhile, Everleaf Forest is a complex blend of botanicals including saffron, Madagascan vanilla and orange blossom. It’s intended for spritz drinkers more than Gin lovers, but we feel it’s their best and those who like earthy gin will find a home here; Layers of citrus, bark, spices and bittersweet roots combine to create a bold, exotic and vibrant drink.
Mindful alternatives for the Aperitif lovers
Hi-Point Ruby is a Spritz lover’s delight. It’s stunningly vibrant as an aperitif – those flavours are loud!
It’s infused with grapefruit, hibiscus, lavender, orange, wormwood, and pink peppercorns and that blend brings a burst of bright, bold and refreshing flavour. Expect wild herbal aromas, followed by a cool wave of zest and spice, before kicking back with lasting bittersweet citrus.
Similar in idea in that it plays on citrus, Lyres Italian Spritz was created to capture the essence and flavour profile of a bitter orange aperitif (such as Campari). For those not abstaining but looking to merely reduce, it’s a great anchor to make a lower ABV Negroni.
Non-alcoholic options in ready to go formats
The Copenhagen Sparkling Tea range is excellent. It’s been a mainstay for us in the lead up to Christmas and we’re as happy popping open a bottle of that as we are other fizz, making it our tip for a great year-round discovery to try out now and adopt long term.
Their Blue is defined by delicate jasmine complexity and displays the depth of flavour possible from a careful selection of white and green teas and complexity that build on the drink’s floral start. Absolutely delicious.
No alcohol but maximum flavour
Crossip Fresh Citrus is genuinely hard to describe as it stands up as a great product in its own right.
It’s not really an alternative to any major spirit even though you can use it as such in a Cosmo. We we look at it as a big, bold flavour tool to make great drinks – just top it with tonic and you’ll see why!
It’s like a fruit punch and zings with fresh fruity flavours that combine pink grapefruit and orange before the body develops with the citrus of lemon and eucalyptus.
If you are taking part in Dry January by exploring other options, we’d love to hear from you over on Instagram! Tag us in and let us know the new drinks brands you’re trying and the names that have delivered a great experience for you.