Posted on December 27, 2023 in 2024 January, Lifestyle and Wellness

Dry January

by admin

There are several reasons someone might participate in Dry January — to kickstart those “be healthier” resolutions, to reset after an overindulgence during the holiday season, to examine their relationship with alcohol, or simply for the sake of participating alongside others.

You can experience a variety of benefits from cutting out alcohol for an entire month, including improved sleep, weight loss, and saving money.

But taking part in Dry January doesn’t need to hinder social activities or restrict your beverage consumption to only water, juice, and carbonated sodas. In fact, mocktails (nonalcoholic cocktails) are becoming more common and getting added to a variety of establishments’ beverage menus.

The secret to a great mocktail is using your imagination (there aren’t any strict rules) and discovering what flavor combinations you prefer. Some staple ingredients to keep on hand when diving into nonalcoholic drink combos include tonic water, sparkling water, seltzer, your favorite garnishes (berries, citrus, jalapeno, etc.), juices (orange, lemon, and pineapple, to name a few), and limes.

Nonalcoholic ginger beer is also a great ingredient to keep on your shelf (or drink by itself), as are bitters. However, be sure to check the labels because bitters can technically be considered alcoholic — though their flavor is so strong that recipes often require a few drops, resulting in no overall alcohol consumption.

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of mixing up a mocktail based on a tried-and-true cocktail, you can start with something easier. In a wine glass filled with ice, pour in your favorite fruit-flavored seltzer water, add a few squeezes of lime juice, and a dash of bitters. It’s crisp, it keeps you hydrated, and it’s certainly not as boring as water straight from the tap!

If you’re looking to step up your alcohol-free drink game, consider one of the recipes below:

Margarita Mocktail

Looking for a mocktail to pair with your chips and guacamole? Try mixing up a batch of these nonalcoholic margaritas featured in Southern Living. In a pitcher, combine 5 cups of your favorite limeade, half a cup of orange juice (freshly squeezed is best), and 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice. Add a pinch (about 1/4 teaspoon) of coarse sea salt and stir until it’s dissolved. Add ice and top up the pitcher with 2 cups of sparkling water or club soda. Pour a serving (this batch makes five!) into a salt-rimmed glass and garnish with lime wedges. If you want to change it up a bit, you can add in your favorite pieces of fruit and fruit juices, or add in some muddled jalapeno to give it some heat.

Rosemary Ginger Mule

Put a wintery (and alcohol-free) twist on the Moscow Mule, also from Southern Living, by whipping up a rosemary ginger mule. You can prepare rosemary syrup by bringing 1 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup of rosemary springs (lightly packed) to a boil over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to steep for half an hour while covered. Once you strain the syrup, set aside two tablespoons for your drink, and store the remainder in an airtight container (up to three weeks). In a mug (like the classic copper mule cup) with ice, stir in a 7 oz. can of nonalcoholic ginger beer, two tablespoons of the rosemary syrup, and one tablespoon of fresh lime juice. You can then garnish with rosemary and a lime wheel.

Some More Classics

You can also find ways to enjoy nonalcoholic versions of the more “classic” cocktails. If you want a mock gin & tonic, you can certainly find a nonalcoholic gin to opt for. Another option is to infuse the drink with fragrant spices or botanicals. Chamomile, mint, closes, rosemary, and cardamom are great options. If you’re craving something more tropical, consider a virgin piña colada. Combine pineapple, sugar, and your favorite spices, and then blend with lime juice, pineapple juice, and creamy coconut milk.

If you’re considering joining others in Dry January, don’t look at it as missing out — instead, frame it as a chance to explore new beverage options and tap into some kitchen creativity.