Trying out Dry January for the first time? Or perhaps this is an annual break you take; if so, we salute you. The benefits of taking a little breather from alcohol, especially during months of this pandemic where studies show that our daily consumption has gone way up, are vast. Expect better quality sleep, a steadier mood, improved focus and more. Consider it a “my body is a temple” kind of thing. Here, some non-alcohol suggestions to replace your wine with dinner, at-home happy hour and warming nightcap. —Catherine Dunwoody
Fancy cocktails or even a simple G&T don’t have to be banished from your after-work relaxation ritual. Mix up either with Ceder’s distilled non-alcoholic alt-gin ($25 at The Gourmet Warehouse), made with Swedish spring water and exotic South African botanicals. Three flavours in the product range including the Classic (juniper with floral hints), Wild (juniper with ginger, clove, and rooibos) and Crisp (juniper combined with citrus, cucumber, and camomile).
A cold one after a lonnnng day truly hits the spot, and B.C.’s Red Racer Street Legal de-alcoholized craft beer is one of the tastier near-beer options out there. Choose either the IPA or Pilsner at Central City Brewing, for about $3 per can. Great for burger ‘n’ beer night in your kitchen, too.
Mix up a healthy elixir with East Vancouver’s own Odd Society Spirits seasonally flavoured artisanal syrups. For January, the distillery’s bar manager Olivia Povarchook has whipped up two that you can purchase right at their shop: Hibiscus Cinnamon Syrup and Salted Orange Blossom Honey Syrup ($11 each). Olivia has shared the recipe for a Tickled Pink cocktail:
2 oz Odd Society Hibiscus Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz lime juice
Tonic water, to top
Add all ingredients to a tall glass with ice.
For some that’s one glass with dinner, and for others the vino sipping carries on through the evening. Spain’s popular cheap bubble, Freixenet, also does a non-alcoholic version ($7 at BC Liquor Stores). Nice with OJ for brunch mimosas as well.
Replacing your nighttime ritual of enjoying a warming drink curled up by the fire with a novel, or snuggled in your sofa watching Bridgerton, can be a tricky one. For an at-home hot buttered toddy, swirl a dollop of butter into a steamy mug of ginger tea, add a squeeze of lemon and sweeten with spicy Hive on Fire honey ($14). With all this flavour, we promise you won’t even miss the rum.