4 Ways to Drink More Mindfully This Summer
Summer. It’s a time of year when the combination of sunshine and longer days has us filling our diaries and reaching for cocktails. Before we know it, we've overindulged in a few too many margaritas.
Good job Alcohol Awareness Week is here to remind us that with a few simple changes, it can be easier to take a mindful approach to drinking than you might think. Running from July 3rd - July 9th, Alcohol Awareness Week is organised by Alcohol Change UK and aims to get people “thinking about drinking” and taking a healthier approach to their drinking habits.
Scroll on for our top tips, picks and recipes to help you moderate your drinking this summer, without sacrificing on flavour.
1. Discover delicious low ABV options
If you aren’t looking to cut out alcohol completely, the topic of drinking in moderation shouldn’t necessarily come with an “all-or-nothing” approach (think Stoptober and Dry January). Building in low ABV drinking habits on an ongoing basis can be far more effective for sustainable change.
Here are a couple of our favourite low ABV options that will help you reduce your alcohol intake, whilst still enjoying cocktails that hit your favourite flavour notes:
For the gin fans
Adnams Smidgin Gin was selected for Drinks Distilled by Spirits Guide Laura Willoughby MBE, the founder of the world’s largest mindful drinking organisation, Club Soda, and the UK’s foremost expert in low and no alcoholic drinks. Laura explains:
"This gin is in fact full strength at 50% ABV but, by using just a smidge of gin with the help of the handy copper spoon that comes with it (equal to half a teaspoon), it can be used to create a reduced alcohol gin and tonic."
For the spritz lovers
Valentian Vermouth Rosso was handpicked by Spirits Guide Inka Larissa, a writer who has been making spirits more accessible through her blog On the Sauce Again for the past six years and recently via her new podcast, Whisky Sisters. Inka comments:
"Commonly mistaken for a spirit but an essential for cocktail lovers, this vermouth can be served on ice or with tonic water as a reduced-ABV option or mixed into a cocktail."
2. Stock up on non-alcoholic spirits and aim for a few alcohol-free days
During the summer months we look for long (and sometimes large!) refreshing serves, and it can be easy to get carried away with loading your drinks trolley with spirits to explore. This is why it’s a great idea to keep some top notch non-alcoholic spirits at hand, as you can have at least a few alcohol-free days a week.
Don’t forget, the NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week (equating to 14 single measures of spirits with an ABV 37.5%), spread across 3 days or more.
Luckily there’s a plethora of non-alcoholic spirit options out there to explore for beginners, so much so that it can be hard to know where to start! Fortunately, we’ve got a great selection that pack the same flavourful punch, without the effects of alcohol:
For those who enjoy bold flavours and dark spirits
CROSSIP Dandy Smoke was selected for Drinks Distilled by Spirits Guide La'Mel Clarke, Floor Manager at Seed Library, the newest bar created by Mr Lyan and team. La'Mel says:
"This smoky yet sweet spirit has an incredible amount of texture and flavour for an alcohol-free option. Whilst it hasn’t been designed to mimic alcoholic spirits, it’s a great alternative for fans of dark, smoky spirits when served with or without ice."
For fans of Italian bitters
Everleaf Forest non-alcoholic aperitif is a favourite of Spirits Guide Inka Larissa, who explains:
"Everleaf Forest is an ideal non-alcoholic product for those who enjoy a spritz, as it has a lovely bitterness to it with notes of citrus and a mix of spices. This also makes it a great alternative to Italian bitters."
3. Understand ABV and how to calculate units
If you've decided to reduce your alcohol intake versus cutting it out completely, getting the right ABV (alcohol by volume) measurement can be tricky! Never fear, we've put together a handy guide to help you calculate ABV and units.
However before you do, it’s important to acknowledge that these systems of measurement can be flawed. For example, in our exploration of units and ABV for a lower-ABV Cobbler cocktail created by Spirits Guide La’Mel Clarke, we discovered:
- Units: The cocktail contains 0.53 units, which means it has fewer units than a pint of low ABV beer (0.68 units).
- ABV: The cocktail is 6.8%, which means it can’t be called a low ABV cocktail. Low ABV cocktails must be no stronger than 1.2%. However, this 6.8% Cobbler cocktail has a considerably lower percentage compared to a full strength Cobbler (28%).
Units-wise, the cocktail can be seen as a solid alternative to a pint of low ABV beer. However, nobody would consider a 6.8% cocktail to be low ABV. So, what’s going on - is it a strong drink or not?
What’s important is how they are used to help you navigate your moderation. Whether you’re drinking less or drinking less strong drinks, units and ABV can signpost the ways in which you’re clearly reducing consumption.
4. Set a limit and use a smaller glass and jigger to help
It can help to make a plan of what you plan to drink and how you are going to pace yourself in advance. Selecting a smaller glass to hold low ABV serves will further help you to pace your drinking, whilst also helping you to fully appreciate the flavours. We often get carried away with measurements at home, so make sure you enlist the help of a jigger to help you measure accurately and reduce serving sizes.
For more tips on how to cut back, head to Alcohol Change UK.