Looking to kick off 2023 with a fresh slate? Try to go dry in January.
Dry January is a month-long challenge to abstain from drinking alcohol after a season of indulgence. It’s a way to kick the heavy drinking habit, save some money, lose some weight, and try something new. Participating in Dry January can also encourage long-term healthy habits in your lifestyle, according to The Washington Post, such as improving your sleep, mood and energy. Participating during the month also helps build new habits, including reducing the amount of alcohol consumption and having more control over your cravings.
Although many restaurants and bars in Charleston offer deliciously tempting cocktails, there are plenty of alternatives for staying sober (or sober) in January, and maybe beyond.
The King Street Sèchey boutique offers non-alcoholic alternatives for drinks at home, so you always feel like you’re sipping a delicious cocktail or wine without the effects of alcohol.
Sèchey was first launched last year as an alternative non-spirit retail store before finding a permanent home at 540 King Street in December.
Owner Emily Heintz launched her mindless business at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when she said she wanted to ‘stay there’.
“If you’re looking to drink less or deliberately take a break,” she said, “have a few things in your fridge to easily make a drink that tastes good or has a lot of flavor, but doesn’t doesn’t require much. energy or effort. So one thing I always keep is sparkling water and nice stemware.
She said mixing sparkling water with an alcohol-free mixer, like Wilfred’s Aperitif, and a squeeze of lime is an easy way to trick your brain into thinking you’re drinking a riff on an Aperol Spritz.
But if you really want to fool yourself into thinking you’re drinking a cocktail, stemware is key. “Sometimes just pouring a drink into a glass is a good thing. Even if it’s as simple as pouring sparkling water into a wine glass with a lime or lemon. We have the impression of drinking a glass of wine and it is not.
Joel Sadler, co-owner of Line Street Sightsee cafe, agrees: “If you think about your morning coffee or your evening drink, there is of course the chemical impact of caffeine or alcohol on the brain, but we often underestimate the enormous value we receive. of the simple ritual itself.
A little dry?
If you want to try Dry January but still feel like you’re drinking, Heintz said, there are functional spirits you can try. Alternative or adaptogenic spirits include Delta 8 or CBD-infused seltzers, ashwagandha, and certain strains of mushrooms.
“[Adaptogens or functional spirits] are best for people who are used to drinking alcohol because it will give you some of the functions you might be looking for in alcohol, like helping you sleep,” Heintz added.
Coffee alternatives like Huskwell cascara (coffee fruit shell) or Chitta Latte (mushroom-based coffee strengthener) contain many of the same ingredients used in functional, non-alcoholic beverages.
According to Heintz, several products offered at Sèchey contain adaptogens like Rasāsvāda, a non-alcoholic line of restorative alcohols using plant-based adaptogenic ingredients like black ginger and ginseng.
“I keep Rasāsvāda Black Ginger in my fridge with my stemware because I’m going to drink it at night,” Heintz said. “Black ginger contains reishi and meshima mushrooms, which have adaptogenic qualities that increase blood flow to your muscles and cleanse your liver.”
Sèchey isn’t the only place in town selling alcohol alternatives, either. Sightsee also offers a handful of alternatives for staying dry this month.
“We have canned drinks we’re obsessed with Recess and DRAM with adaptogens and hemp extract that really help you have a calmer mind and brighter mood,” Sadler says. “They’re perfect for an afternoon or evening when you want that satisfying experience of opening a cold beer without the usual depressing beer experience.”
Non-alcoholic cocktails galore
Huskwell’s website recommends a recipe similar to Heintz’s simple cocktail alternative – sparkling water and something savory. Using Huskwell cascara, you can make what it calls a Cascara Fizz with sparkling water, Huskwell simple syrup, and lemon juice.
Other local products, like The Other Mary Bloody Mary Mix, offer different ways to enjoy a cocktail without the spirits.
“Our main goal for [The Other Mary] is to be somehow non-alcoholic,” co-owner Gina Moore told the city paper in October. “Mocktails are big now, so you can have a Bloody Mary mocktail using the mix and be part of the social connection [of] have a drink and not feel like an outsider or peer pressure.
Many restaurants and bars, like downtown establishments Felix Cocktails and Cuisine and Little Palm, offer non-alcoholic or non-alcoholic alternatives to cocktails.
“When creating a cocktail, we try to choose ingredients from the current season and spirits that we think would complement those flavors,” said Rachel Arnett, General Manager of Little Palm. “It’s the same with mocktails. There are currently many options on the market for ABV-free drinks. We are big fans of Seedlip, which is a non-alcoholic distilled product that has a few different flavors.
And some places that don’t normally sell alcohol, like Sightsee, offer alcohol substitutes on the menu, like Dark & Stormy Espresso Tonic.
“This is the exact recipe for one of our favorite cocktails, except we use espresso instead of dark rum,” Sadler said. “Bonus points if you get it decaffeinated.”
If you realize you may have a problem and are looking to change your lifestyle for the better, and aren’t just trying to stay sober during the month of January, there are many support groups in town to help, including Ben’s Friends, launched by local restaurateurs Mickey Bakst and Steve Palmer. Ben’s Friends is a community of food and beverage workers who come together to help each other in the fight against addiction and alcoholism.
“There are those who are social drinkers who just think they need to cut back to be healthy and such, but there are also those who have issues,” Bakst said. “The alcoholic is someone who says, ‘I have a problem with alcohol, and I can’t drink or it will totally destroy me, eventually or right away.’ ”
Bakst offered three ways to help stay sober and change your lifestyle:
“My first suggestion would be to connect with other people. It’s so important to have a support system that helps you when you feel the urge to drink.
“Number two, make sure you always take your own transportation. There’s nothing worse than being stuck at a party where you think you can’t get out of there and all the people around you drink.
“And the next thing is why you don’t want to drink, because maybe if you drink you’ll cause trouble. You don’t want to drink because you want to feel better, you want to be healthier, you want to be more sane and responsible, or you’re tired of being the person you are and you want to change.
These choices are key to changing your daily habits and mindset in a positive way, he added, but finding a community and a support system is the best chance of staying sober.
Where to enjoy mocktails in Charleston
Charleston is full of delicious cocktails and booze, but non-alcoholic choices abound at many bars and restaurants.
Here are some places to get a tasty, non-alcoholic drink to stay dry in January:
82 Wentworth Street (downtown)
550 King Street (downtown)
182 E. Bay St. (Downtown)
526 King Street (downtown)
small palm tree
237 Meeting Street (downtown)
463 King Street (downtown)
Park and Grove
730 Rutledge Avenue (downtown)
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