Alcohol is known as a social lubricant, because of its rich history of being the liquid centerpiece in many a party and gathering. Funerals, weddings, birthdays and sporting events – with the sole exception of baby showers, it’s fair to say that most of the time, when adults meet, it’s normal for a little alcohol to take part in the affair.
That’s not necessarily a terrible thing. Alcohol, as a drug, is poisonous to the human body in massive quantities. But when consumed moderately and responsibly by adults with non-addictive personalities, it usually isn’t a problem. Perhaps the greatest argument for drinking alcohol from time to time is history – alcohol and humanity are par for the course, and have been since the dawn of agriculture and civilization.
But not all of us enjoy a good pint now and again. Some people can’t hold their alcohol – others can’t control their consumption. We’re all different, and for some of us, society’s relationship with alcohol is more of a curse than anything else. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have a bit of fun, or fit in with the crowd. Thankfully, the idea of an alcohol alternative exists – both for those who need an alcohol alternative to curb their consumption of the real thing, and for those who just can’t stand alcohol but don’t want to be the odd one out any longer.
When to Cut Down on Alcohol
Alcoholism is the biggest issue with the drug – at the end of the day, alcohol is addictive, and some people are far more prone to its addictive effects than others. If you can’t stop despite wanting to, and can’t stay away from the booze without feeling sick, then you know you have a problem and it might be time to consider an alcohol alternative.
Outside of the realms of addiction, alcohol is also dangerous to a person’s health. An excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to liver damage, brain damage, and the general breakdown of the body (including cancer).
Finally, cut down on alcohol if you don’t like it or don’t want to drink it. Falling for peer pressure and having a glass or two because everyone else is doing it is no way to live your life. Of course, regardless of why you choose to stop drinking, the follow up is: what do you drink then? For some, the answer is nothing, or an alcohol alternative or water. For others, there are quite a few alcohol alternative options in the non-alcohol world while recovering on their own or in a Los Angeles sober living.
Non-Alcoholic Beers and Wines
Of course, choosing non-alcoholic beers or wines might not be a great idea if you’re trying to avoid the idea of alcohol altogether. However, there are a lot of options out there for beer and wine enthusiasts looking for the flavor and richness of a dark brew or a dry wine, without the alcohol.
Some people find that a non-alcoholic beverage that is traditionally alcoholic helps with the transition to a completely alcohol-free life. Others want to be more radical, cutting it out of their life completely and finding a full on alcohol alternative.
Pick Your Alcohol Alternative
We’ve all heard of club soda, tonic water and seltzers – but what’s the difference between the three, and are they completely alcohol-free? The answer to the latter question is yes. None of those drinks have alcohol him them. And the differences are subtle.
Seltzer water is carbonated spring water from a specific area in Germany. Named after said area, the water has a certain combination of minerals, giving it a unique taste. Club soda is basically any carbonated water with similar minerals added on – while it can’t call itself Seltzer water, it’s often almost the same.
Tonic water is a bit different. Named after the fact that its main ingredient used to be a “tonic” against malaria, tonic water is basically a club soda infused with quinine. This gives it a bitter taste.
Quinine was first discovered as an isolated compound in waters contaminated by the cinchona tree, which gave those waters the special property of healing malaria. British officers at one point combined their tonic with sugar and gin to make it more palatable, creating the gin and tonic. Today’s tonic water is not nearly as concentrated as the medicinal drink, and is instead flavored for a mild bitter taste. While quinine is dangerous in high amounts, it’s almost impossible to overdose on tonic water. Chugging tonic water will not cure malaria, either.
Beyond these drinks, there are other alcohol alternative options to consider. Ginger ale, root beer and bitter lemon are all classic non-alcoholic carbonated drinks that are widely available, and can easily be made at home.
Some people opt to replace their habit of sipping on wine or beer at home, with teas, coffee and hot chocolate. Tea is common alcohol alternative due to the massive variety of different teas and different options. A homemade seeped infusion of ginger and lemon can emulate the bite of alcohol, without the alcohol.
From there, choosing the right drink is a matter of context. Do you want something to drink at the dinner table? At home? At the club? Wherever you go, non-alcoholic options are all around you. Some bars even offer mocktails – non-alcoholic cocktails. But always be sure to double-check with the bartender that you’re getting offered a drink with less than 0.5% alcohol.