The new year often finds us with our cup runneth over...literally. With all the champagne-soaked holiday parties and late nights (with maybe a few too many nightcaps), a booze-free January starts to look pretty appealing. But what if Dry January sounds, well, a bit too dry? Enter:"Damp January," a lower-ABV dive into the sober-curious life.

What is Damp January?It's basically what it sounds like. It's Dry January (where one foregoes alcohol for the entire month), but with a splash, so to speak. Damp January is a more a moderate approach to the challenge, allowing for the occasional, mindfully-chosen drink.

Many use Damp January as a way to "reset" any drinking habits that often develop during November and December, when being full of holiday spirit turns, well, pretty literal. And it's not only for just the month of January. According to Bacardi Drinks Trends 2023 report, "Millenials and Gen Z especially are joining in on the the non-alcoholic and low-ABV (NoLo) experimentation movement, with up to 23% becoming ‘blenders’ or those who switch between NoLo and full-strength cocktails on the same occasion in 2023."

Should you do a Damp January?

Maybe you've noticed that your usual glass of wine with dinner sometimes turns into three. Damp January is less stringent way to do a self-assessment when it comes to those occasional drinks (and resulting headaches). After all, the average person spends 252 hours hungoverevery year. No matter if 2022 found you on the lower end of that number, any amount of alcohol reduction is incredibly beneficial to one's health.

"The concept of Dry January and all the various food challenges people do in January can create a sort of all-or-nothing approach," says registered dietician Samantha Cassetty. "And that can actually be stressful for people if they don't complete the full 30 days... I think if you aren't using alcohol to cope, you can use that time instead to assess what role alcohol plays for you [with a Damp January approach]."

With the goal for the month being awareness (and less focus on "willpower"), there's a larger margin of success in pursuing a Damp January. And the health benefits of going damp are not for nothing either. Cassetty says that while eliminating drinking altogether will help improve cortisol levels, sleep quality, and even digestion, even those occasional glasses of wine are seen as a healthy part of the popular Mediterranean diet (that being said, if you're not already an alcohol drinker there's no benefit in starting).

Generally speaking, Damp January definitely benefits those of us who identify as low-to-moderate drinkers ("moderate drinking"is defined as less than seven drinks per week for women, and less than 14 drinks per week for men). If you've found your drinking has gotten in the way of your life, or is of consistent concern, a truly dry approach might be the best route to take.

The Best Low-to-No-ABV Drinks

Whether you're mixing up a cheeky nightcap at home or joining friends for an after-work drink, there are tons of mocktail mixology inspo out there to make sure you're never left empty-handed. And we're not talking about just plain soda water, either. Thankfully, there are plenty of options, whether you're in the mood for canned mocktails, low-ABV spritzes, or non-alcoholic beers.

The non-alcoholic spirits market is hardly homogenous either. With complex flavor notes all their own, these zero-proof spirits can capture the fun hedonism of just a simply well-tasting beverage, zero hangover guaranteed.

No exaggeration, these non-alcoholic "spirits" will make you do a double-take, especially if you love the signature burn of alcohol-forward cocktails like I do. Brands like Ritual Zero Proof, Monday Spirits, and Lyre's all offer flavorful additions to any bar cart, damp or dry.

Personally, I 'm a huge fan of the cozy campfire smokiness of Monday Spirit’s mezcal alternative with spicy ginger beer, and the peppery kick of Ritual’s whiskey alternative served with crushed ice, Coke, and a squeeze of lime, and Lyre's Italian Orange on the rocks for aperitivo hour.

Mixing up any of these "spirits" in a fun glass (like a coupe, snifter, or highball glass) is also an easy way to rid yourself of any drink-related FOMO and make the drink itself feel like a real event. Similarly, low-ABV spritz-style cocktails are also a great way to have a cheeky cocktail experience with way less alcohol. Many members of Team Delish are big fans of cutting Aperol with lemonade and sparkling water, Amaro with tonic water and lemon, and bitters with soda water.

Maybe wine is more your drink of choice? Now's the time to get acquainted with de-alcoholized wines (and yes, you read that correctly!). My favorite non-alcoholic winemaker, Surely, has something for everyone, like their crisp sauvignon blanc, a bubbly canned red blend, and a sparkling rosé that's truly all-day-proof.

No matter what you choose to do after your month, doing a Damp January will prove that there are tons of fun, deliciously complex mocktails for mixing up any night of the year. We'll see you on February 1st, bitters and soda in hand.

2023-01-06T22:30:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd