Photography by Getty Images
Whether you’re going for a “damp lifestyle” or attempting to go sober for a bit, it might be time to pick up a mocktail this festive season.
This article was first published in May 2023 and has been updated.
It’s no secret that alcohol consumption can have negative effects on our health, including an increased risk of cancer and heart disease, and we’ve all heard the saying “everything in moderation.” But have you ever wondered just how much is considered “moderation” when it comes to cocktails? Well, as even the most casual of drinkers surely knows, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) addressed this by updating their guidelines for alcohol consumption last spring and according to this update, no amount of alcohol is safe.
That said, if you *must* imbibe, the CCSA recommends no more than two drinks a week and cautions that consuming three to six drinks a week can increase the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer. In addition, having more than seven drinks per week increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, with the risk increasing with each additional drink. Dark.
Now that holiday party season has kicked off, what do these stringent guidelines mean for your hot girl winter? Or more specifically, if you like to enjoy a drink or two, how can you cut down on booze and still socialize at your leisure? One practical place to start is opening your mind (and palate) to non-alcoholic alternatives to your go-to Aperol Spritz, like elevated flavoured soda waters and mocktails.
FASHION spoke to Andrea Grand, co-founder of sparkling beverage brand Barbet, about how drinking habits and increased awareness around the health risks of alcohol may change in the wake of the rigid CCSA guidelines. “It creates more opportunities! We’re still a baby brand, but even in our short [time] of being around, we’ve seen a shift in the conversation around beverage menus at restaurants and the need for diverse and different products,” she says.
Here, Grand shares her top tips for navigating the social scene this holiday season, whether you’re trying a “damp lifestyle” or going entirely booze-free. Grab a mocktail and read on.
You don’t have to take an “all or nothing” approach
Thinking about attempting Dry January 2024 and want to go sober-curious for a period of time? “Do what feels right for you — dry, damp, or anything in between,” Grand says. “These are opportunities to break the rituals or habits you’re in, make small changes and reassess how things are going. It’s about making choices that are right for you,” she says of deciding how much to cut down on drinking, and for how long. “It’s like the book Choose Your Own Adventure.”
Get out of the house
“Don’t hermit — get out and about! There are so many fun things to do that aren’t centred around alcohol,” Grand tells FASHION, adding that a damp lifestyle (a.k.a. one where you drink sometimes and not others) is about balance. “Next time you need to grab a drink with friends, you can always opt for a mocktail or non-alcoholic sparkling water instead. It’s the same experience, but without the consequences.”
Photography by Maya Fuhr, courtesy of Barbet
It’s not your responsibility to explain why you’re not drinking
“The main thing is to own it!” says Grand. “It is no one’s business if you are or aren’t drinking.” Grand adds that it’s a priority of Barbet’s to “start getting people to focus on what’s in a person’s can or cup, not what isn’t.”
Entertaining? Level up your non-booze options
Grand says that a surefire way to make guests feel more comfortable when they aren’t drinking is to offer elevated cocktail alternatives. “We don’t mean offering up a pop/soda you would sip on when you were sitting at the kid’s table or a margarita but with no tequila. We mean options that are just as flavourful, bold, playful, appetizing and high-quality as their alcohol counterparts.”
Now, try a tasty mocktail recipe:
Barbet x Seedlip “Grove Waves”
1.5oz Seedlip Grove 42
0.5oz Mango Mint Cordial
0.75oz Fresh-pressed lemon
Dehydrated lemon garnish