TOP TIPS FOR ‘MINDFUL DRINKING
With the nation in lockdown, we’re now celebrating our special occasions virtually, from birthdays and anniversaries to happy hours and after-work drinks.
But a recent study carried out by YouGov claimed Brits have also been hitting the bottle out of boredom, loneliness and anxiety.
Meanwhile, problem drinking is exacerbating tension caused by the lockdown for more than 3.5million adults, research by Alcohol Change UK found.
As a result, the practice of ‘mindful drinking’ has never been more relevant.
According to Jacob Briars, global head of advocacy and education and all round alcohol guru at Bacardi, the concept involves becoming ‘more conscious about how you are consuming alcohol, and taking time to slow down and really savour your drink’.
‘It’s important to drink mindfully particularly during this time as we adapt to a new normal and try and establish a new balance in our lives.’
Here Jacob shares his top tips for adopting a mindful approach to drinking in lockdown.
But a recent study carried out by YouGov claimed Brits have also been hitting the bottle out of boredom, loneliness and anxiety. As a result, the practice of ‘mindful drinking’ has never been more relevant. Pictured: stock image
Just like we track our steps, keep count of your weekly cocktail consumption and set limits.
Jacob says: ‘My advice is don’t drink at times that you wouldn’t usually, but still treat yourself to a great cocktail when you’d normally have one – whether that’s to celebrate the end of the working week, or a virtual Saturday night get-together with friends.’
CHANGE UP YOUR SPIRITS
Jacob recommends lightening up some of your favourite cocktails by flipping the formula.
‘For example, if you fancy a gin martini but would like it to pack a little less punch, reverse the measure to two parts vermouth and one-part gin,’ he says.
Jacob Briars is global head of advocacy and education at Bacardi
‘The same goes for a classic Manhattan, where you can swap the portions of the vermouth and the whiskey or rum.’
KEEP AN EYE ON MEASURES
When drinking at home, many people don’t have alcohol measuring tools such as a jigger to hand to keep track of how much they’re pouring.
With a glass full of ice in front of you, it’s often hard to gauge what a double or single measure looks like.
If you don’t have a jigger, Jacob suggests grabbing a measuring jug. A double measure is 50ml, and a single is 25ml, so when pouring yourself a gin and tonic or vodka soda, don’t free pour.
‘It will also taste better with the right quantities!’ he adds.
EMBRACE THE APERITIVO
‘The Aperitivo – Italy’s favourite drinking ritual – is fast becoming a global phenomenon,’ says Jacob.
‘A respite at the end of the day, a traditional Aperitivo cocktail tends to be a longer and more refreshing serve – for example, a Martini Fiero and tonic, served 50:50 over plenty of ice, ideally with something tasty to snack on too.’
Unlike a glass of wine, these long drinks are lower in alcohol content, while the cooling effect of the large quantity of ice makes it more difficult to guzzle.
INVEST IN A WINE PRESERVATION SYSTEM
A Coravin wine preservation system
Often when we open a good bottle of wine, the temptation is to finish it to avoid it going to waste – which can lead to a nasty hangover.
If that sounds familiar, it might be worth investing in a Coravin wine preservation system, which limits you to one glass at a time.
The product was designed by inventor Greg Lambrecht, an ex-surgeon, and includes patented SmartClamps technology to protect your plonk from oxidation, allowing you to pour any wine, in any amount, without pulling the cork.
Coravin works by inserting a specifically designed needle through the cork and pressurising the bottle with argon gas. The cork then naturally reseals the bottle allowing the wine to be enjoyed for days, months or years to come.
OPT FOR QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
It’s the taste and ritual of the drink that matters, not the amount of alcohol.
Jacob suggests: ‘Treat yourself to something really delicious, then sip slowly and savour the moment.
‘And that doesn’t just apply to the drink itself – with us all being stuck at home, now’s the time to bring out those ‘special occasion’ glasses and treat yourself!’
MAKE YOUR DRINK THE FOCUS
It’s all to easy to mindlessly top up your glass of wine while watching TV on an evening.
To ensure you’re remaining mindful of what you’re drinking, Jacob suggests making your drink part of, or the focus of, the activity that you’re doing.
‘In France, they have a wonderful way of drinking – sip slow and savour,’ he says.
‘It is all about taking the time to enjoy a well-balanced drink, focusing on the taste and the ritual.’
Why not host a virtual cocktail party? According to research from the Bacardi group, more than half (53 per cent) of UK adults believe the ‘cocktail hour’ has made a virtual 2020 comeback, with 43 per cent of respondents attempting to perfect cocktails at home since lockdown began.
There are so many great no or low alcohol alternatives available on the market now for those who fancy enjoying a cocktail, glass of wine or beer without actually consuming alcohol.
‘For those who want to drink alcohol, but want to drink less, spritzes are a great option,’ Jacob says.
‘They’re low-alcohol and will last you longer, and are especially great during the summer months when people tend to drink over longer periods in the sunshine.
SHRINK YOUR DRINK
Some of the world’s top bars have debuted demi-serves of classic and bespoke cocktails that deliver big taste without the calories and alcohol content of full-serves.
Think of this as the cocktail equivalent of choosing a starter versus a main course for dinner. Just cut the measures in half to turn a Dry Martini cocktail into a ‘Dry Marteeny’.
‘Vermouth and Soda is a great simple serve – vermouth, such as the popular Martini brand, is a fortified wine that is very low alcohol, and it’s great mixed with sparkling water or topped with tonic.
‘My favourite serve was created by Naren Young at the award-winning Dante café in New York City – 1 part Noilly Prat and 2 parts soda, with frozen grapes.’
For the quarantine kitchen, vermouth is a great staple to have around as you can use a splash when cooking risotto or fish.
‘The St Germain Spritz is also really delicious and refreshing (1.5 oz St Germain, 2 oz dry sparkling wine, 2 oz sparkling water),’ Jacob adds.
WORRIED YOU’RE BOOZING TOO MUCH DURING LOCKDOWN? TOP TIPS FOR ‘MINDFUL DRINKING