How to Celebrate Dry January in 2021

After a year like no other, we could all benefit from going “dry” for a month.

Kick-off the New Year on a Health Kick

Cleanse and get back on track with “better living” and a bit more discipline.

Here are some ways to steer you in the right direction.

Substitute Non-alcoholic Beverages for Your Favorite Wines and Beer

I’m a huge proponent of drinking wine not only for enjoyment but also for its health benefits. Red wine, in particular, has antioxidants and is reputed to promote heart health, longevity and the French-endorsed benefit of keeping you slim and trim. Light beers have always been a diet-friendly substitute for heavier craft brews. But, come New Year’s I’m going Dry January with alternatives that provide a refreshing change.

Rock Grace has a line of non-alcoholic elixirs and bubbly so delicious that you may not miss the alcoholic content of your usual glass of white or rosé. Made with botanicals and adaptogens rather than sweeteners or preservatives, the ruby red drinks give you a taste of summer and a welcome dose of calm and wellness.

Rock Grace has a line of non-alcoholic elixirs and bubbly so delicious that you may not miss the alcohol | WhereTraveler
Rock Grace wine (Courtesy Rock Grace)

If California wines are your favorites, you’ll enjoy FRE alcohol-removed wines, made in the heart of Napa Valley. Their sister winery, Sutter Home Family Vineyards, provides all the endorsement you’ll need: they pour FRE wines at their tasting room along with their own vintages.

If California wines are your favorites, you’ll enjoy FRE alcohol-removed wines | WhereTraveler
FRE non-alcohol wines (Courtesy FRE)

Clausthaler craft non-alcoholic beers taste just like the real brew. This German brewery has the pedigree, too, as they are an exclusively N/A brewery in existence for 40 years. For a kick, try their grapefruit beer or special holiday Santa Claus beer.

Clausthaler craft non-alcoholic beers taste just like the real brew | WhereTraveler
Clausthaler non-alcoholic beer (Courtesy Clausthaler)

Experiment with Great Mocktails

I’ve always found that a Virgin Mary or, as some call it, a Bloody Shame tastes pretty freakin’ good given all its pickled vegetable, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and peppery ingredients. Red or green Bloody Mary mixes from Stone Hollow Farmstead in Alabama have nailed the mocktails using their own farm veggies. And, I’m not kidding you, you won’t miss the vodka. Or the hangover. Another spicy and healthy Bloody variant is the plant-filled Hairless Dog, made with Ritual Zero spirits and V8 juice. Experiment, too, with creatively layered beverages with a base of Seedlip, distilled, non-alcoholic spirits made with botanicals and herbs. Refresh with a MartiNO is made with Seedlip Spice 94, cold-brewed coffee and simple syrup, or sip an herbal version neat, Seedlip Garden 108, or citrus-based Grove 42 on the rocks. Bourbon lovers can try Spiritless, made in Louisville, Kentucky with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.

Red or green Bloody Mary mixes from Stone Hollow Farmstead in Alabama have nailed the mocktails using their own farm veggies | WhereTraveler
Stone Hollow Farm Dirty Mary (©Meryl Pearlstein)

January’s a nice opportunity to dabble in drink and flavor combinations you may not know. Victor Bautista of Concord Hill offers up a deliciously fresh and spicy mocktail that might be my go-to for the next month. His appropriately named “Cruel Summer” blends mango and orange juices with simple syrup for a sweet contrast to the chili-based Chamoy hot sauce and Tajin rim. Le Crocodile mixes Ghia non-alcoholic aperitif with soda, Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, rosemary and grapefruit juice.

Le Crocodile mixes Ghia non-alcoholic aperitif with soda | WhereTraveler
Le Crocodile (©Meryl Pearlstein)

Experiment with Other Delicious Beverages

Now with nationwide shipping, Juice Press has a full range of bottled vegetable and fruit-based drinks that will add a boost of pizzazz with ingredients like turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper. If you’re a coffee drinker, jazz up your beverage with a seasonal shot of eggnog syrup, peppermint and chocolate, or toasted caramel white chocolate – these are all readily available at Starbucks along with tea-based drinks like hot or cold matcha latte. In grocery stores and available for online ordering, Recess offers a line of sparkling beverages with non-traditional flavor combinations. Try their peach ginger, pomegranate hibiscus or blackberry chair for something different.

Perrier has upped their game with new flavors like cucumber and lime, peach, and watermelon | WhereTraveler
Perrier flavors (Courtesy Perrier)

Perrier has upped their game, too, with new flavors like cucumber and lime, peach, and watermelon that make great mixers in mocktails. They’ve also partnered with @TheWeekendMixologst and @Apartment_Bartender to create several original recipes to help you stay creative with your zero-alcohol beverages. Try combining chilled green tea and Perrier with fresh lime and pineapple juices and a smidge of passionfruit syrup, for example.

Make It Count with a More Plant-Based Diet

Dry January is the perfect reason to add more plant-based dishes to your meals. Call them vegetarian, vegan or even pescatarian for those who can’t totally give up seafood, just up the quantities of veggies while reducing or completely eliminating red or white meat for the month. Options are easier to find than ever, both in restaurants and in grocery stores. Try restaurants like New York City’s Hummus Kitchen, Shark Tank winner Beyond Sushi, and West Coast chain Veggie Grill to whet your taste buds with Mediterranean specialties that are low in fat and high in taste. Dishes like shakshuka, pasta with sage and butternut squash, and garlic hummus on pita pair well with non-alcoholic fruit drinks, sparkling seltzers with a squeeze of fruit, and non-alcoholic white or sparkling wines.

Burn off Those Alcohol-Induced Pounds with More Exercise

When you feel the urge to have a drink, think of movement or exercise instead. It may be as nutty as dancing by yourself in your home or going for a quick run or brisk walk during your usual cocktail hour. If there are other triggers that make you want to order your usual, try to identify them and elicit the support of others during those times. A cocktail hour could become a stretch hour, a lovely prelude to dinner with your favorite mocktail or non-alcoholic beer. For a more disciplined approach, consider a trial subscription to Bonded by the Burn with its extensive program of resistance-bands classes. The first seven days are free, so give it a go.

When you feel the urge to have a drink, think of movement or exercise instead | WhereTraveler
Bonded by the Burn (Courtesy Bonded by the Burn)