By Alan Markoff

While people often react to the holiday excesses with puritanical regimes in January, total abstinence is not the only — or necessarily even the best — answer. This also need not just be a once-a-year health binge either; you really can have your Cakebread wine and drink it (in moderation)!

The trend toward "low and no" in the world of alcoholic drinks is proving less of a fad, and more of a groundswell movement, paralleling the rise in wellness and mindfulness globally. Many more younger people identify as non-drinkers compared to a decade ago and with this has come increased information and myriad options for those taking time off or reducing their booze intake.

Here are some suggestions and options for those looking to start 2020 with a "low and no" alcohol approach.

Water — In addition to numerous other health benefits, drinking lots of water will also improve your body’s ability to process alcohol.

Mocktail — Non-alcoholic mixed drinks have been perceived for years as sugar-laden poor cousins of cocktails, the remit of the under-age, pregnant or designated driver. However, good mocktails can capture both the flavours and complexity of alcoholic mixed drinks with fresh produce and interesting homemade ingredients.

For example, the new non-alcoholic offerings at Ave restaurant use kombucha in place of bubbles, fresh juices in place of purees and homemade low-sugar cordials in place of syrups.

Alcohol-free spirits — Is this a contradiction in terms? Not according to the global marketplace, where the biggest of the spirits companies such as Diageo and Bacardi are investing heavily in this new and (honestly!) exciting category.

Seedlip is the best-known non-alcoholic spirit, and one of the few currently available in Cayman. Use it like a gin as a base ingredient in a delicious non-alcoholic G&T, French 75 or even a "Marti-no" — a booze-free martini.

Reduce — Whether you fall off of the wagon for a dear friend’s birthday or simply can’t resist that perfectly paired Pinot with your celebratory meal, it’s not all about giving up all alcohol entirely. Instead, you can look to reduce your alcohol intake through various means. For example, try a vermouth and tonic as a pre-dinner aperitif alternative to a much stronger gin and tonic. You can also increase a cocktail's base while reducing the spirit. Instead of a Perfect Manhattan with 2 ounces of whisky and 1 ounce of vermouth, swap the ratio around to cut the liquor.

And, if you're a wine drinker, buy by the glass instead of a bottle. While it might seem to make financial sense to buy your wine by the bottle rather than the glass, that is not true if you were going to have only one glass!

Jim Wrigley is the beverage manager at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Going 'Low and No.'”

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians.