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Sarah Scrimshire

4 Major Health Benefits of Dry January and Delicious Mocktails you can Enjoy Today!

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Have you heard of Dry January? Starting around 2008, the craze began and has slowly built up steam over the years with influencers on social media and other tycoons heavily promoting the trend.

dry january

What is Dry January?

With January being the first month of a new year, many individuals use the month as a reset timeframe to start the year off right with new goals and aspirations. Many put their wallets aside after spending on the holidays and another large piece of the population use January to focus on rebuilding their relationship with alcohol, otherwise known as Dry January.

“Dry January” is a popular health and wellness campaign that encourages people to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages for the entire month of January. Participants voluntarily choose to avoid alcohol for the duration of the month, and the initiative is seen as a way to reset habits, promote mindfulness about alcohol consumption, and potentially experience the health benefits of reduced alcohol intake. Many individuals use Dry January as a personal challenge or as part of a broader effort to adopt a healthier lifestyle.


There are plenty of benefits that come from Dry January! Not only does it save money from not spending at stores and bars, but there are many health benefits to limiting your alcohol consumption, which Dry January will help to promote that new relationship with alcohol! It’s important to note that the impact of alcohol on health can vary among individuals, and moderation is key. If you or someone have concerns about alcohol consumption or its effects on overall health, it is best to seek a consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice!

  1. Improve Health:
    • Liver Health: Alcohol is processed by the liver, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, inflammation, and conditions like fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Limiting alcohol helps in preserving liver health.
    • Heart Health: Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to certain cardiovascular benefits. However, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and an increased risk of heart disease. Cutting back on alcohol may improve heart health.
    • Mental Health: Alcohol can impact mental health and contribute to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Limiting alcohol intake may improve mood and overall mental well-being.
  2. Weight Loss:
    • Caloric Content: Alcoholic beverages contain calories, and these calories can contribute to overall energy intake. Some alcoholic drinks, especially cocktails and beers, can be relatively high in calories. Consuming alcoholic beverages in excess can contribute to weight gain.
    • Metabolism: The body processes alcohol differently than other macronutrients. When you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing it over other nutrients. This can temporarily slow down the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, potentially affecting weight management.
    • Appetite and Eating Habits: Alcohol consumption can influence appetite and eating behaviors. Some people may experience increased hunger or make less healthy food choices when under the influence of alcohol, leading to overeating and potential weight gain. Ex. drinking always leads me to crave McDonald’s! Not the healthiest food option- haha!!
  3. Better Sleep:
    • Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep quality. Cutting back on alcohol may contribute to better sleep and overall sleep hygiene.
  4. Improved Cognitive Function:
    • Alcohol can have both short-term and long-term effects on cognitive function. The impact of alcohol on cognitive abilities varies depending on factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, the frequency of consumption, and individual differences. Here are some ways in which limited alcohol can positively affect cognitive function:
      • Better judgement and decision-making
      • Better reaction time
      • Improved attention and concentration

Deprivation & Moderation

With all things in life- moderation is always key!! The CDC recommends that “adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed. Drinking less is better for health than drinking more.” Of course, this doesn’t mean go ahead and drink every single day- limiting your drinking to certain days of the week is the best way to moderate! Dry January can help kick-start this habit!

An important factor to note is to not deprive yourself of alcohol if you believe you may have an addiction. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when a person abruptly stops drinking after heavy alcohol use and may trigger life-threatening health complications. If you or someone you know needs assistance with alcohol consumption, call the following number for confidential free help, from public health agencies, to find substance use treatment and information. 1-800-662-4357. Here is also an article that you can browse about sobriety and a healthier relationship with alcohol: The Sober School.

Lifestyle Change and Relationship with Alcohol

Building a healthy relationship with alcohol involves practicing moderation, being mindful of your consumption, and making informed choices. Participating in Dry January (or even damp January? haha) can help with the following!! Write down the list in a journal and work towards the best way to implement the plan into the new year! Here are some tips to help foster a balanced and responsible relationship with alcohol:

  1. Set Limits: Establish clear limits on how much you’ll drink on a given occasion. See guidelines from the CDC above!
  2. Know Your Limits: Be aware of your own tolerance and how alcohol affects you. Everyone is different, and it’s important to understand how alcohol may impact your body and mind. Maybe don’t order the second espresso martini if it is going to make you text your ex!!
  3. Stay Hydrated: Alternate alcoholic beverages with water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can intensify the effects of alcohol, so it’s crucial to drink water throughout the evening. You might pee even more- but your body will thank you in the morning!! So Dry January doesn’t mean don’t have any water, either!
  4. Eat Before Drinking: Consuming food before drinking can slow down the absorption of alcohol and help prevent intoxication. Opt for a balanced meal to support your overall well-being. Carbo-load as Michael Scott would say!!
Michael Scott from The Office enjoying some carbs!

5. Avoid Binge Drinking: Binge drinking, defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period, can have serious health consequences. Stick to moderate and responsible drinking.

6. Plan Alternative Activities: Plan activities that don’t involve alcohol. This can help reduce the focus on drinking and provide alternative ways to socialize. Activities that don’t involve drinking: 99 Sober Activities.

7. Know When to Say No: If you have a medical condition, are taking medication, or are pregnant, it’s important to abstain from alcohol. Know when it’s best to say no for your health. Or say you are participating in Dry January (or insert whatever month we’re currently in!)

8. Monitor Frequency: Pay attention to how often you drink. Regularly consuming alcohol may lead to dependency and negatively impact your overall health. You can track in a journal, phone, or find an app that supports alcohol tracking!

9. Seek Support if Needed: If you find it challenging to control your alcohol consumption or are concerned about your drinking habits, consider seeking support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional.

What is a Mocktail?

A mocktail is a non-alcoholic beverage that is designed to resemble and mimic the flavors and presentation of cocktails. It is the perfect way to craft a yummy drink sans alcohol for Dry January! The term “mocktail” is a combination of the words “mock” (meaning imitation or counterfeit) and “cocktail.” They are typically made using a variety of fruit juices, syrups, and other non-alcoholic ingredients to create a flavorful and visually appealing drink.

Mocktails are often served at social gatherings, parties, or events where some people may prefer not to consume alcohol. They offer a refreshing and enjoyable alternative to alcoholic cocktails while still providing a similar experience in terms of taste and presentation. These can be garnished with fruit slices, herbs, or other decorative elements to enhance their appearance.


How to Craft the Perfect Mocktail

To make a mocktail for Dry January different from a regular cocktail, you will need a few key elements and considerations:

  1. Non-alcoholic bases: Choose non-alcoholic bases as substitutes for the alcoholic spirits typically used in cocktails. This can include soda water, sparkling water, tonic water, fruit juices (such as orange, cranberry, pineapple, or grapefruit), herbal infusions, or specialty non-alcoholic spirits.
  2. Flavorful mixers: Focus on using flavorful mixers to create complexity and depth in the mocktail. This can include fruit purees, syrups (such as simple syrup, flavored syrups, or grenadine), bitters (non-alcoholic versions are available), or infused waters.
  3. Aromatic elements: Incorporate herbs, spices, or other aromatic ingredients to enhance the flavor profile of the mocktail. This can include muddled herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary, or spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. These elements can add depth and complexity to the mocktail’s taste.
  4. Fresh ingredients: Opt for fresh ingredients whenever possible, such as freshly squeezed fruit juices or freshly muddled herbs. Fresh ingredients can contribute vibrant flavors and enhance the overall quality of the mocktail.
  5. Garnishes: Pay attention to garnishes as they add visual appeal and a finishing touch to the mocktail. Consider using fruit slices, herbs, edible flowers, citrus twists, or decorative straws to elevate the presentation and make the mocktail visually appealing.
  6. Balance of flavors: Strive for a well-balanced mocktail by adjusting the levels of sweetness, acidity, and other flavors. Taste as you go and make adjustments with additional mixers, sweeteners, or acids (such as citrus juices) to achieve the desired flavor profile. OOOOOR adding smoke!
  7. Glassware and presentation: Consider using appropriate glassware to serve the mocktail. Tall glasses, martini glasses, or specialty glassware can add to the visual appeal and enhance the drinking experience. Take care with presentation, using techniques like layering or rimming glasses with sugar or salt to add extra flair.

Mocktails To Try!

  1. Virgin Mojito: A refreshing mix of 2oz lime juice, 10 mint leaves, sugar, soda water, and crushed ice. Muddle lime juice, mint, and sugar together, smoke, and add sparkling water!
  2. Pina Colada Mocktail: A tropical blend of pineapple juice, coconut cream or milk, and crushed ice. (1 cup pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup coconut cream- blend with ice and smoke!)
  3. Watermelon Mocktail: A refreshing choice mocktail made with 4 oz watermelon juice, 1.5 oz lime juice, 1 oz sugar syrup, and a hint of mint (5 mint leaves muddled) Make regular simple syrup, muddle mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker, add all ingredients to the shaker with ice. Shake, strain, and smoke!
  4. Blueberry Lemonade: A sweet and tangy option featuring 1/5oz blueberry syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup blueberries, stir in pot over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Let cool and transfer), 1.5 oz lemon juice, and sparkling water. Add all to a cocktail shaker except for soda water and shake with ice. Strain, smoke, add soda water!
  5. Virgin Mary: A non-alcoholic version of the Bloody Mary, made with 6 tomato juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of Tabasco sauce, 1 oz lemon juice, and spices. Amounts are up to your taste buds!

Discover more Dry January cocktails here!

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“Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”

-B.R. Ambedkar