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Jacq’s Journal: My four-day alcohol-free binge left me hankering for the real thing

Ok, hands up who did Dry January? In the past I have flirted with ‘cut back January’ and ‘try and be more restrained January’ but anything beyond that has never really worked with my lifestyle (ah, those were the days).

There is only so much water a girl can drink on heady nights out. Added to that, I really enjoy wine, with or without accompanying dishes, a stubborn nature (guilt tripping never worked) and time working in Hospitality, has all led to anything but a dry January. Yes, yes I know the health benefits and I certainly don’t decry those who have the stamina to just say no.

Last January I had a great excuse. In France for a week lecturing, I couldn’t possibly insult my hosts by refusing to drink the excellent wines they had ordered or stand the ridicule of what they see as such an insane notion, to give up wine for a month. Pourqoi? Folie!

My good friend Kate, who has religiously undertaken Dry January for the past 15 years – a gap between the excess of Christmas and soon to be excess of late January birthday celebrations being the spur. But even she has been defeated this year.

I, on the other hand, and I appreciate I’m very late to the party given it’s the end of the month, have decided to try ‘kidding my tastebuds January’ for the last few days in the hope it may become a better habit for February – do we have a marketing phrase for that month yet?

I have tried non-alcoholic wine before and, to be honest, I would rather go without than drink that stuff. Beers fair a little better, and the only time I tried a very expensive upmarket non-alcoholic gin (and according to the Gin Guild, there is no such thing), it tasted as if I was drinking damp earth. I have fooled my taste buds before with a good tonic water and a few Juniper berries so when I saw that Belvoir had brought out some alcohol-free cocktails, I thought ‘why not – it’s still dry January after all!’

So I tried a Passionfruit Martini with real fruit. I used a Martini glass to help with the illusion and made sure it was shaken not stirred. Whilst this did not transport me to Harry’s Bar, it was good enough to fool me into believing I was sipping on a cocktail. Next up, Tonic and Juniper – any better than just bunging a few juniper berries in some tonic? Well not really, it did taste of premium tonic and whilst it was a decent drink, it didn’t pass the ‘kidding your tastebuds’ test for me.

So there we have it – my four-day Dry January sorted. Roll on February!

Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy
Employing her business skills, experience and love of writing all in one place.

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