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  • Posted December 28, 2023

Dreaming of a 'Dry January'? An Expert Offers Tips

As the New Year approaches, many will commit to a trend called "Dry January," where you stop drinking for a month to get more healthy.

For years, it's been a tall order to abstain from alcohol when going out, but with a plethora of nonalcoholic "adult" beverages now flooding the market, it's getting easier to wean yourself off alcohol, one expert says.

From imitation spirits to seltzers and near-beers, there are endless options to pique the interest of the most selective of drinkers.

So, what does it take to craft a good nonalcoholic beverage?

You have to start with high-quality ingredients, said Adam Roy, a food and beverage expert at Michigan State University's Broad College of Business.

Most high-quality nonalcoholic beverages are distilled and fermented much like alcoholic beverages are, before using osmosis to extract the alcohol. The key is to keep the flavors intact.

Having nonalcoholic beverages available can help during Dry January, but what other tactics can you try to stay off the booze for a month?

Dry January was created in 2013 by Alcohol Change (formerly known as Alcohol Concern), a charity in the United Kingdom, to promote weight loss and financial savings by avoiding too many nights out at the pub.

Now in its 11th year, Dry January continues to be a way for people to kick off the new year with a focus on health and well-being, Roy said.

For someone thinking about going sober for Dry January, Roy offered these tips:

  • If you choose to go out, research a bar or restaurant that has a creative drink menu with nonalcoholic options.

  • Pair good food with nonalcoholic beverages. Host your family and friends at your home and enjoy tasting different beverage combinations and seeing what food goes best with each drink.

  • Finally, for those who are a bit more adventurous, start fermenting your own nonalcoholic beverages like ginger beer, kombucha, tepache (made from the peel and rind of pineapples), kefir (a fermented milk similar to yogurt) or tibicos (water kefir). These are all great ways to drink flavorful beverages without feeling like you need alcohol, Roy said.

More information

Visit Alcohol Change UK for more on Dry January.

SOURCE: Michigan State University, news release, December 2023

What This Means for You

Going sober for Dry January can be challenging, but a wide variety of nonalcoholic "adult" beverages and some tips from a culinary expert can help.

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