Just a few years ago, not drinking meant a month of lemon, lime bitters, not socialising at all, or facing an unhelpful chorus of "go on, just have one!"
Thankfully things have changed dramatically, particularly in the last few years. Not only are more people choosing to participate in abstinence challenges such as Dry January they are also bang on trend.
If you are taking part in Dry January this year, these tips might help make your dry month a happy one.
1. Embrace the health benefits
Even a short break from alcohol will garner noticeable health benefits. After a week you should have noticed an improvement in your sleep. While many people think a bedtime drink is helping them sleep, studies show that even small amounts of alcohol play havoc with your sleep cycle.
Improved sleep means more energy, a better mood and improved concentration. On top of this, cutting alcohol out of your life for a month will leave you more hydrated, which means healthy skin and again, more energy.
2. Embrace sober socialising
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that not drinking = not socialising, which can make abstinence months very boring.
But there are lots of ways to socialise - either by continuing as normal with a non-alcoholic drink in your hand or by changing up the way that you socialise. For example, since I stopped drinking, I have become very fond of breakfast catch-ups. There is zero pressure to drink because alcohol has never been part of breakfast.
There are multiple ways that you can spend time with your friends and family without alcohol - in fact, you might even discover a new hobby or healthy habit.
3. Embrace non-alcoholic drinks
The simple truth is that non-alcoholic drinks make giving up alcohol (whether it's for a month, a few nights a week or permanently) a much easier proposition. And the good news is that there are now more non-alcoholic drink options than ever before.
The New York Times recently reported that sales of non-alcoholic wine have grown a whopping 40 per cent in the last year - which tells you a lot in terms of their popularity.
If you are new to the non-alcoholic world, these trending drinks are a great place to start.
The product: Made in Australia using a combination of traditional winemaking and cutting edge technology.
The taste: This wine has everything you would expect from a classic Italian style Pinot Grigio; a dry flavour profile, a full mouthfeel and a satisfying finish. Featuring notes of Nashi Pear, apple and lemon.
Worth noting: Low in calories at 18 per 100mls.
What customers are saying: "Super dry with all the depth of flavour you would expect from a Pinot Grigio. Absolutely delicious!"
The product: I created the Ms sans range so that customers can enjoy perfectly made mocktails without the need for a fully stocked non-alcoholic bar. Made with premium non-alcoholic spirits, these drinks mean you can enjoy the fun and celebratory feel of a well made cocktail in the comfort of your own home.
The taste: The Ms Sans Margarita tastes just like a full flavoured Marg. Featuring a delicate balance of Tahitian lime and Mexican inspired alcohol-free Agave Spirit, this mocktail is best enjoyed in a salt-rimmed glass with a generous lime wedge.
Worth noting: Gluten-free, vegan friendly and low calorie at 18 calories per 100mls.
The product: This best-selling sparkling wine has a global reputation. The BBC Good Food writes that Noughty "sets the bar high for competitors and was in our opinion the closest match for a real wine."
The taste: Noughty is an elegant pale colour and features a crisp and ripe apple scent, and a dry, Champagne-style flavour profile.
Worth noting: Certified Organic, Certified Vegan, Certified Halal and low in calories with just 14 calories per 100mls.
What customers are saying: "I was hoping not to be disappointed and I certainly wasn’t! Looks like champagne, smells like champagne, beautiful fine bubbles like champagne . . . and a crisp dry taste, so unlike all the other overly sweet varieties I have tried."
The product: Edenvale was the first Australian wine maker to exclusively make non-alcoholic wine, so it's fair to say that they know what they're doing.
The taste: This best selling sparkling shiraz has been popular with Sans Drinks customers right from the beginning.
Worth noting: Featuring notes of blackberry, currant, exotic spices and hints of oak this wine has a robust palate and long, dry finish.
What customers are saying: "I can’t get enough of this! The bubbles make it refreshing, but you can still taste the Shiraz flavour, unlike in a lot of other non-alcoholic wines. I always have this in my wine rack. Delicious."
The product: Created by Australian chef William Wade and Aaron Trotman, the NON range is a great alternative to wine.
The taste: Featuring raspberries, chamomile and Murray River salt, rounded out by verjus and pristine filtered water, NON 1 is dry with lengthy fruit tannins and salty notes, perfectly balanced by a floral aroma.
Worth noting: Vegan friendly
What customers are saying: "The flavours were absolutely delightful and my husband enjoyed it too 🥂 Fave drop from Sans Drinks so far."
Want more recommendations?
If you are looking for more inspiration please check out the other posts in my blog section. These posts are a great place to start.