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Bar Talk: Kicking off Dry January

Zero-proof cocktails made it easier for consumers to drink less alcohol, while still enjoying a beautiful beverage.
Rose Laudicina / Photo

For the next month, unless there is a guest columnist, this Bar Talk column is going sober … or at least its writer is.

That’s right. I’m participating in Dry January.

The majority of people traditionally view January as the month for fresh starts. People start acting on their resolutions for the new year ahead and setting up new routines and habits they may or may not follow for the remainder of the year.



Additionally, a lot of people choose to participate in Dry January, which, I admit, is not nearly as catchy as “Sober October.” Dry January initially launched as a challenge in 2013 as part of a British campaign by the nonprofit Alcohol Change UK.

Since 2013, the challenge has spread world-wide, and, according to CGA — a data and research company for the food and drink industry — 35% of adults in the United States participated in Dry January in 2022.




Studies claim that being alcohol-free can help improve sleep, help you lose weight, help improve your mood and energy, and other positive health side effects.

While those might be some positive side effects, that’s not why I’m doing it. Honestly, I’m doing it because my partner is participating in sober January, so I thought, why the heck not join in?

I’m not looking to go totally alcohol free in 2023, but I am interested in pushing myself to be more creative when it comes to “cocktail” options, and I am looking forward to investigating which places in the valley provide zero-proof options on the drink menu that are more than NA beer or seltzer water and lime.

As serendipity would have it, on Jan. 3, one of my favorite “sober-curious” content creators, Olivia Noceda (@olivianoceda), announced her new podcast, which will launch Jan. 17, and the first season is focused on the sober-curious movement — both the social and scientific side of it.

The podcast, “On The Rocks with Olivia Noceda,” should pair well with my sober month and a delightful homemade mocktail (Noceda shares new recipes almost weekly if you’re looking to mix up some new drinks at home).

While going completely dry in January isn’t for everyone, even cutting back a little bit — maybe only drinking two out of the seven days of the week — can help you re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol, which might be a totally healthy relationship or you might discover something new.

Thanks to the rise of sober-curious culture in America, you shouldn’t worry about feeling left out of the fun if you want to join your friends or coworkers out at the bar or even host a dinner party at home. More and more companies are coming out with zero-proof alcohol options and alcohol alternatives, and the popularity of mocktails on menus is starting to rise.

If you need support to stay on track during Dry January for whatever your goals are and don’t feel like you have anyone to lean on, the original agency Alcohol Change UK has a Try Dry app that could help, or you can always reach out to me for suggestions.

So, if you’re not interested in zero-proof cocktail recipes for the month of January or learning where in town you can get a superior and creative mocktail, then maybe tune out of Bar Talk for the next month. But, if you’re even remotely interested in the sober-curious movement, then I look forward to having you stick around.

Recipe to kick off Dry January:

– Seedlip Spice 94

– blood orange juice

– lime juice

– simple syrup

– Tajin

– Topo Chico

– blood orange slice

Rim a glass with lime juice and tajin. In a shaker with ice, add 2 to 4 oz of Seedlip Spice 94 (The aroma of seedlip is strong, but the flavor gets a bit lost if you add too little), 1.5 to 2 oz of blood orange juice, .5 oz lime juice, and .5 oz simple syrup. Shake well, and pour into prepared glass. Top with Topo Chico or other plain seltzer water. Garnish with a blood orange slice, and serve.

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