by Aurelia d'Andrea
Every year, beginning January 1, I launch my annual wellness tradition: No alcohol for the month. No wine or Champagne, no beer, no sake, no cocktails. The idea is that I'll give my liver a break after a "festive" holiday season (and, let's be real, a whole year's worth of consistent red-wine rituals) and recalibrate my habits to be less, well, habitual.
Even though I welcome this period of abstinence, these 31 days are not without their challenges. Inevitably, there is a social occasion--a birthday soiree, art opening, dinner party, friend's gig at the local pub--that calls for some liquid in hand to swill, or to toast, or use as a prop when you need it. For those occasions, I'll reach for these alcohol-free elixirs that have all the flavor--and, for better or worse, none of the buzz--of their boozy counterparts.
At The Bar
Virgin Bloody Mary
It looks like a regular bloody mary, and comes with all the best parts: the spicy ad-ins. Ask for yours without Worcestershire ("Wurster-sheer"!) sauce, but with extra horseradish. If you're lucky, your bartender will load yours up with olives, green beans, pickled onions, and other fun veggies.
At The Wedding
Sparkling Ginger Beer
Looks like Champagne, tastes like, well, ginger! Added bonus: ginger is a stomach soother and digestion aid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If you've overindulged on cake, this is your tasty antidote.
At The Birthday Party
Cranberry Juice + Soda
When served in a martini glass, this can pass for a cosmopolitan or a Campari spritzer. Cranberries are loaded with Vitamin C (one glass equals roughly 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance), and the tart taste might trick your tastebuds into thinking you're sipping something saucier.
At The Mimosa-Fueled Brunch
The bromelain in pineapple acts as an anti-inflammatory, and this tart and tangy juice has as much Vitamin C as cranberries. It may not have the effervescent qualities of a mimosa, but it certainly has flavor, and no designated driver is required for the ride home.
The All-Occasion Tipple
Sparkling water's appeal is subtle, but there's a lot to be said about this simple, satisfying swill. It's hydrating, for one; it's fizzy, too, which tricks your mind into thinking you're sipping Champagne or some other festive drink. And, number three, it's practically guaranteed to be on the bar menu at whatever event you happen to be attending.
Now, it's your turn: what's your favorite no-booze tipple? What do you order when you're out on the town and want to keep a clear head (and liver!)?
Alcohol-Free Survival Guide
Swell! Winter Edition