Dry for July
It may come as a surprise to you that, for the month of July, one of us gave up alcohol. Before I elaborate, let’s just clarify that this post is not about the alleged health benefits of detoxing. Quite frankly we’re in no position to comment on the science (or otherwise) behind the arguments for and against abstinence.
“So why go dry for July?”, you may ask.
June was an unusually indulgent month with so many foodie events going on that, simply put, by the time 1st of July came around we both felt ready for a short period of gastronomic frugality! We always make sure to have “days off” from drinking anyway but I just decided to keep on going… Rather than being driven by any particular plan to detox, the decision to go teetotal became more of an exercise in tenacity and a test of willpower than anything else.
So no, this post isn’t about detoxing per se but more about how my plan to fall off the wagon responsibly.
At this point I should probably come clean that I was not entirely tee-total for the month. There was the odd sip…the odd taster. If you’re in the trade and you’re asked to test a wine or a cocktail and there’s no spittoon then, well, you just have to get on with it. We’re talking a few mls on each occasion so on the whole I think was dry… with just a few spots of condensation.
Giving up alcohol for the month didn’t provide me with an enormous sense of virtue, nor do I feel like a totally new person. I did learn a few things though:
- Going dry is easier than you might think
- Most people are supportive if not a little bemused
- Some people will do their best to try to get you to have a drink
- The longer I went without alcohol the more biscuits I wanted to eat
This was not a scientific experiment, as you can see. On the whole, it was quite straightforward to go without booze at social functions. There were just a few occasions when I really missed being able to settle down with a nice drink – usually when the sun was shining and I really fancied something cold and bubbly.
So what to drink once August had come round? Here’s how I celebrated a month of going dry…
1. Fruity, red wine
I was really looking forward to sharing a bottle of a good, punchy red wine over a leisurely lunch. My choice was a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with a burger at the Green Man pub. I love how these red wines develop as you drink them, getting smoother and fruitier with every sip. Having enjoyed this deep red at the pub, we then moved on to Toscanaccio, our local Italian wine merchant, where we indulged in a glass of Sardinian grenache, Primo Scuro Cannonau Di Sardegna 2012, which was spicy and fruity with a lasting finish. Just gorgeous.
2. A Good Rum
Ah, rum. The taste of sunshine. We found our way to the Mucky Duck‘s new rum bar, where we indulged in a glass of Angostura 1824 on the rocks. This is a molasses rum that’s deep and spicy but not overly sweet. In fact, I thought (rightly or wrongly) that there was a herbaceous note to it on the finish. Once the ice started to melt the flavours began to sing in the glass. Lovely to sip outside in the sunshine.
3. Something cold and bubbly
This is really the only thing that I missed during July. When the sun is shining what nicer way to cool down than with a glass of chilled fizz? We enjoyed this bottle of Champagne, a birthday present that I’ve been saving for just the right occasion.
4. Dry White Wine
Another craving for the sunshine. Having heard so many people rave about it, I’ve been wanting to try this Greywacke for some time so I picked up a bottle from local New Zealand wine experts, Wine Utopia. Really refreshing with delicious sharp, citrus and a subtle hint of stone and exotic fruits with a nice, dry finish. Worth waiting for.
Of course, there are many more drinks that I could easily have chosen, in particular some of our favourite cocktails but I’ll save that for another post another time.
Until then, let us know if you’ve ever given up drinking for a month by leaving a comment below. How did you get on and what did you miss when you went dry?go back