Dry January: Tips On How To Actually Make It Through

In the past few years Dry January has become the bandwagon everyone is jumping on. It’s a great way to start the year and hit reset on some of your bad habits. The health benefits are hard to ignore: better sleep, weight loss, improved mood, skin looks brighter, etc. Further, you can save a tonne of money. But have you succeeded in the past? And did you enjoy it? Or are you know dreading how you will get through this month of Dry January? Don’t worry, we are here with some practical tips.

Now if you read any guides to Dry January, they all seem to suggest the same easy steps to help you make it through. First set goals, second ask for support by sharing your goals with friends. Then it’s as easy as avoiding many social situations where drinking was the norm (game days, brunch, after work hangs) and replace with alternatives like exercise. Oh yeah, and drink lots water; water is your friend. Now I don’t know about you but I tried all these last January and failed. Sure, these are helpful tips but simply replacing any alcohol beverage with water didn’t do it for me. I drank tap water with dinner, and again with friends while watching the game. And yes I felt supported by my friends. But in the end I just felt fully hydrated yet bored. It did not set me up for success. So this year, I am following these tips to help me make it through the month.

1. If you often make yourself a cocktail at home and enjoy the pleasure of not only having a drink but making it as well, then you should put just as much care into your non-alcoholic cocktails. Get out your favourite ‘fancy’ glassware, pop in some of those oversized ice cubes from the molds in your freezer, and take the time to build a drink that feels special. Just don’t forget to garnish with fresh fruit and herbs.

2. On that note, if you aren’t sure how to get more creative with non-alcoholic cocktails, here’s a secret I recently discovered. I had been noticing many high-end cocktail bars adding delicious non-boozy alternatives to their menus, so I asked what’s the trick to make one of these at home. Reluctantly they offered up the answer and it was quite simple –  a secret ingredient called Seedlip (the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit). The brand offers three options to cover the flavour spectrum you normally get from alcohol: herbal, aromatic spice and citrus. You just add tonic or soda and some fruit. And voila, it’s like you are drinking a gin and tonic without the gin.

3. Chose your foods more wisely. There are certain foods I will miss alcohol when eating. For instance, in my experience a medium rare steak must always be consumed with a full bodied red wine. So I simply avoid steak in January. But something like Pho or Ramen on the other hand, I will happily enjoy without an alcoholic drink since that was never part of that meal for me. It’s all about your rituals. They often tell smokers, who are trying to quit, to avoid coffee in the morning if their ritual was always a smoke and a coffee in the am. Same principle applies here. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have steak, just avoid.

4. Stock up on soda waters, seltzers, and other carbonated water based drinks in multiple flavors. Or grab yourself a Spärkel carbonated water maker and make your own. Toss some fresh lemon and ginger right into the bottle and you will have instantly flavoured sparkling water the natural way.

5. Kombucha isn’t just for your hippy yoga friends, it’s actually a delicious drink that you are missing out on. But what exactly is Kombucha? It is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly consumed for its shealth benefits that also offers a great flavour punch. Sure you can make your own at home but there are many delicious ready to serve options (like Rise or GT’s. Consider it your new sweet yet tart wine replacement.

6. Get to know some hot, decaffeinated beverage options that can work as an end-of-day alternative to a cocktail or night cap. Why not try everything from a great decaf turmeric chai latte to an vanilla-almond steamer. Need some to help you sleep? Opt for a sleep-inducing tea to help you get those zzz.

7. It’s okay to ‘cheat’ with some non-alcoholic beer. If you are craving a beer, reach for one of the great zero alcohol alternatives most major beer companies now offer. These non boozey beer options have come a long way in terms of flavour over the past few years. Opt for something like a Coors Edge or Heineken 0.0, you will get the same great taste without the hangover.

Christian Dare

Christian Dare

Christian Dare spent much of his formative years working in the fashion industry as a Visual Manager before pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Design. He is the Principal at Christian Dare Creative, the co-founder of Stylist Box and runs a successful men’s lifestyle blog, Christian Dare Edited,focusing on menswear, interior design and craft cocktails. You can find him online at www.christiandareedited.com or follow him on Twitter @christiandare but he is more fun on Instagram christian_dare. 

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