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Dry January Is a State of Mind

Dry January Is a State of Mind

It’s February. Which, if you’ve been keeping track, means that Dry January – the month of mocktails – is long gone. But unlike the lofty resolutions that we’re happy to leave behind, low- to no-proof cocktails are here to stay.

Dry January has existed in some form or another for nearly a century, when the Finnish government launched a “Sober January” campaign in the ‘40s as part of the war effort. After that, the years came and went. Drinks were drunk. And then, some time in the late aughts, the movement reemerged, this time as a way to make up for the excessive imbibing of the holiday season and start the new year off right after the last drop of the New Year’s champagne was drunk.

In 2014, the British nonprofit Alcohol Concern officially trademarked the term “Dry January.” The name and concept stuck, and today millions of people around the world pledge to stay sober for the first month of the year.

This past January felt different, though. Of course it did.

In a Nielson poll from this year, 13% of American respondents said they were skipping the spirits this January. Unsurprisingly, the number is up from last year, following the trend of the growing sober and sober curious movement. But it’s more than that. While in years past Dry January has served as a time to undo all the eggnog from the month prior, this year it’s an answer to nearly 10 months of over-imbibing and overindulging at home.

We’ve been drinking a lot. Our nightly cocktail has served not only as an escape, but as a ritual, a celebration, a way to demarcate day and night. We order to-go cocktails when we’re craving community, we drink glasses of Pinot when it’s isolation and introspection that we seek. The close of our laptops at 5pm is accompanied by the now very familiar crack of a can.

For many of us, Dry January this year gently pushed us to call into question and reevaluate our relationship with drinking. It spurred us to check in on ourselves – really – by asking questions like, How does my body feel? My mind? Am I taking care of myself? How do I find moments of peace, calm, and even pleasure?

That’s all to say, we’re not not drinking necessarily, but maybe just drinking a little less alcohol, a little less often, and a little more thoughtfully. That means cleaner cocktails, zero-proof spirits, and low-abv alternatives to our typical boozy fare.

We’re making Dry January not just a month, but a state of mind.

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