It’s now dry January for many people, so I figured there wasn’t a better time to talk about mindful drinking. “Mindful what?!” a lot of you will probably ask. Mindful drinking is a fairly new term, in fact, it’s still up for debate as to whether that’s the best phrase to describe it. It is used as an umbrella term for everything from giving up consuming alcohol completely, to cutting back and drinking non-alcoholic drinks on some occasions. It’s on the rise. A recent event I attended suggested that one in five people planned to drink less in the Christmas that has just passed.
A shift in drinking culture
There’s been a shift in drinking culture and a whole host of drinks have arisen to take advantage of this growing market. Too often, when you’re eating out or at an event, the only non-alcoholic drink options are sickly sweet juices, soft drinks, and mocktails. But this misses out a bunch of people who favour less sweet drinks or those who are also trying to avoid sugar. To plug this gap, many drinks manufacturers are beginning to develop more refined soft drinks – ones which don’t have childhood connotations and which don’t contain a bucketload of sugar.
At the event I attended, I was able to taste a few of these drinks, from the London Essence Company and Monte Rosso. The taste of these drinks are designed to emulate the subtle notes of a martini or a gin and tonic, so our tastebuds get the same complexity that we receive from alcoholic drinks.
In short, these drinks are designed to help people feel like they aren’t missing out by not drinking. Mindful drinkers at events these days are often made to feel like the vegetarians of olden days. They are given one non-alcoholic drink option, which often aren’t well matched to food options. Sugar overpowers pretty much everything, so there’s little point in eating a prime cut of beef if you’re stuck drinking orange juice.
Lighter options now available
This new breed of drinks offers a lighter option for mindful drinkers. They are also designed to be ready-to-pour and not to be fiddly like mocktails.
With more options quite literally on the table, it’s now easier than ever to take a night off from the alcohol. You’re not being forced to give up entirely, the point is that there is something there to fill the gap if you do decide to pass on the wine for an evening.
Mindful drinking isn’t there to completely demonise alcohol. But there are a great many people who, for one reason or another, choose not to consume alcohol – be it religious, health or simply taste reasons. Up until now, the options for people who aren’t drinking alcohol have been extremely limited. But as more people are cutting down or eliminating alcohol, more of a market is developing that drinks manufacturers need to take notice of. Because of this, the options for mindful drinkers are now increasing and that can only be a good thing.