Dry or Damp January?

Going alcohol-free—or just cutting back this month? Minneapolis ranked the most “sober-curious” city: Mocktail, anyone?
Punch Bowl Social’s Chef’s Cup mocktail is sweet and just a tad tart

Photo: Punch Bowl Social

The Dry January movement—not drinking alcoholic beverages—has seen an increase in followers this year. Skipping that glass of wine, cocktail or beer might help with weight control (a pint of beer is about equivalent to a slice of pizza), promote better sleep and other healthy habits.

As people set their New Year’s resolutions in place, January is typically the biggest month of the year for non-alcoholic beverages, when consumer demand is up 29 percent compared to the average for the rest of the year, according to a new data analysis from Pattern, a global e-commerce accelerator. Ahead of 2022, the data science team at Pattern analyzed consumer demand (or the number of people shopping for a given item during a given period) on Amazon during every day of 2021 for non-alcoholic beverages to see if Dry January is still a time-honored New Year’s resolution. The data suggest that it is, and non-alcoholic brands analyzed see a lift in demand in January. Check out Pattern’s stats here.

There are many new non-alcoholic beverages coming on the market from NA beers or mocktails to non-alcoholic wines, so if you’re looking for a tasty non-alcoholic option, it’s getting easier to find. And the non-alcoholic drinks category is expected to grow to $30 billion by 2025, according to Global Market Insights. Nielsen data gathered by the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association shows non-alcoholic spirits grew 113.4 percent, NA beer 31.7 percent, and NA wines 39.4 percent from 2020 to 2021.

Celebrities are getting in on the trend, too. Hand on Heart, for example, is a new collection of non-alcoholic wines developed in collaboration with Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Mix up a Mocktail

In addition to the ready-made NA options, it’s easy to mix up your own mocktails and make them festive in cocktail glasses. Add a splash of juice or grenadine to a flavored sparkling water for a low-calorie mixer. Try ginger ale or NA ginger beer with a little lime juice. Get creative with rimming your glass like you would a cocktail and add garnishes and even silly little paper umbrellas. When a person dresses up, you often feel better, so if you make a little extra effort and dress up your mocktails, it can elevate them to something special.

Is Minneapolis the most “sober-curious” City?

New research has revealed that Minneapolis residents are the most interested in a sober-curious way of living. The study, created by food and drink sensitivity specialist YorkTest, ranked the 50 most populated cities based on their thirst for low and alcohol-free drinks. YorkTest analyzed more than 200,000 monthly Google searches by Americans for terms such as “non-alcoholic beer,” “alcohol-free wine,” and “mocktail recipes” to determine which cities are most interested in a sober lifestyle, per capita. Those with the most appetite for a sober-curious lifestyle are Minneapolis residents, with the city ranking first on the list, followed by Atlanta, Denver, Miami, and Seattle.

YorkTest research also shows that the appetite for low and no alcohol drinks has dramatically increased in the last year, with a 1,375 percent boost in Google searches for “mocktails to order at a bar,” and searches for “non-alcoholic wine” growing from an average of 27,100 searches per month to 49,500. You can see the full study and methodology here.

Dry January or just “damp”?

You might wonder if totally “dry” is the best route for you? A modified approach may be more feasible for some people and have sustained lifestyle changes. If you give up something such as alcohol completely for a month, what happens after that time? Stephen Kopecky, M.D., Cardiovascular Disease, Mayo Clinic, posed this question. He suggests making small changes over time may be more realistic: Check out this video here.

Toronja y Chile

Photo: Punch Bowl Social

A Menu of Mocktails

If you would like to go out for a special drink while following your resolution—whether dry or “damp” this month,  Punch Bowl Social Minneapolis in The Shops at West End St. Louis Park is offering a menu of alcohol-free “mocktails” in the “spirit” of Dry January. They combine fresh citrus, house-made syrups and a variety of flavors in their mocktail lineup. Wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thanks to these cocktail alternatives:

  • Toronja y Chile: With citrus-forward ingredients and a sweetened spice, this sipper is equally delicious as it is zingy. Using grapefruit syrup, fresh lime juice, chile, honey and sparkling water, you won’t miss the alcohol at all.
  • Chef’s Cup: Sweet and just a tad tart, this mocktail combines muddled lemon and strawberry with honey ginger syrup, before being topped with sparkling water. It’s almost too beautiful to drink, almost.
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz: A tingly, bubbly mocktail with sweetness in each sip. This berry-forward creation features house-made strawberry syrup, Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters and sparkling water.
  • Watermelon Palmer: Bright and refreshing, this zero-proof drink is made with watermelon tea syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice and water.
  • Blueberry Lemonade Fizz: This hits all of the notes with sweet blueberry syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.