There's no rules when it comes to non alcoholic drinking. That’s the beauty of non-alcoholic drinks: they free you to be yourself, not restrict you or make you second guess yourself – today or tomorrow. But here are some do's and dont's that we’ve learned that make life easier…
Do stock up in advance – non alcoholic drinks can be found in a variety of stores now but the variety within most stores is still pretty slim. So if you’re committed to not drinking alcohol some or all of the time, you need to be prepared in advance. Shop online a few days ahead of when you want to bust out the drinks, so you can resist opting for booze.
Don’t be holier than thou – there’s no need to be smug just because you’re not on the grog. That’s just as annoying as the person who hassles you for not drinking. Alcohol free drinks are about opening up options for everyone so we can all be less judgemental and more inclusive of a variety of drinking preferences.
Do experiment with non alcoholic drinks – if you’re keen to feel better, yet still want the drinking experience. Non alcoholic drinks have a lot going for them: they taste good, you can drink a lot of them with no ill effect, you’ll still feel good the next day, they’re low in sugar and calories, they won’t give you a beer gut, and they can satisfy the urge for alcohol. But they’re not alcohol, so give them a break and don’t expect them to taste and behave exactly like alcohol. They’re very easy to use, so grab some product and recipes and start experimenting!
Don’t insist that a recovering alcoholic try non alcoholic drinks – addiction is a complex and personal thing. While it makes sense on one level that a former alcoholic might appreciate a non alcoholic drink, the association with drinking something like alcohol could still be an issue.
Do mix non alcoholic options with regular drinking – Non alcoholic drinks are pretty versatile and you can use them in whatever way that works for you and your lifestyle. For instance: go for alcohol alternatives during the week and return to alcohol at the weekend; prolong a night out by exchanging every second drink with a non alcoholic one; use them for a 30 day challenge like Dry July or Sober October; take them along to parties if you’re the designated driver; use them as part of a dietary plan; or just go cold turkey and replace alcohol with alcohol alternatives. It’s up to you.
Don’t feel the need to explain yourself – The question should be “What are you drinking?”, not “Why aren’t you drinking?”. Alcohol alternatives are so good now that alcohol starts to seem irrelevant. We’ve just been conditioned to think that alcohol is the norm when it comes to adult drinks and letting your hair down. Feel free to challenge that.
Do play with proportions – non alcoholic spirits make great mixed drinks. But because they don’t have alcohol to act as a solvent and distribute flavour through mixers, you need to mess around to get the right measures and balance in place to suit your taste buds. It’s worth having some supplies of soda water, tonic water, ginger ale and cola in the fridge depending on your preferences. And don’t forget the ice!
Don’t be afraid to ask for non alcoholic options – With access to great non alcoholic options, there’s really no excuse for bars and restaurants not to stock decent non alcoholic drinks these days. So start advocating for yourself and asking establishments what they offer. If they’ve not caught up, they’re missing out on a growing market of people to cater for. If you’re going to someone’s house, take some non alcoholic drinks with you – our Blends or Ready-to-Drink (RTD) bottles and cans are perfect for this.
Do expect to have fun – You’ll soon discover that it wasn’t the booze in your hand that made the good times roll, it was just having something in your hand. Having a drink can make you feel a part of things. Even more so if it looks and tastes like alcohol. So now you have something to hold and enjoy.
Image courtesy of Helena Yankovska