Has everyone quit drinking? | British vogue

Has everyone quit drinking? He certainly feels that way. Over the past year, dozens of my old weapon cocktails have jumped on the bandwagon for unbearably reasonable goals like preserving their marriages or their health – or at least for an extended annual reset in dry January or October. sober. Chefs like David McMillan and Sean Brock, formerly of Joe Beef and Husk, respectively, and once known for their debauchery, have repudiated alcohol. Models and actors like Bella Hadid and Kate Moss and Katy Perry and Naomi Campbell and Brad Pitt have all thrown in the towel. And non-drinkers aren’t sitting at home moping. There are suddenly swanky little booze-free bars to go to, like Getaway in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Gem Bar in Pitman, New Jersey; Sans Bar in Austin, Texas; the Virgin Mary, in Dublin (of all places). And there are apparently enough wines, beers and non-alcoholic spirits that quitting smoking seems like a reasonable proposition. Data firm Nielsen says the low- and non-alcohol beverage sector has grown 506% since 2015.

I decided to take my place on the sober train, for a few weeks anyway. It’s not (just) peer pressure: I’m driven by hard facts. Alcohol consumption has been linked to liver disease, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, anxiety, depression, and premature aging. Some 61 million Americans report heavy drinking at least once a month. Alcohol abuse is Seven times more common than painkiller abuse. I ask addiction expert Adam Leventhal, director of the Institute for Addiction Science at USC, where he puts alcohol on a list of substances of concern, and he suppresses a laugh. “Number one!” My God.

The first step is to determine what non-drinkers are while drinking. I learn inveterate the books, then I open that of Alinea Zero: A new approach to soft drinks. His photographs are so captivating that I am almost convinced that I have the patience to embark on the recipe in two days of a French 75 without alcohol. Remembering that I barely have the patience to fold laundry, I resist. But luckily, at least six other useful books for curious sober cocktail lovers have been published in the past two years. I leaf through Julia Bainbridge Good drinks: non-alcoholic recipes for when you don’t drink, for whatever reason, where the Verjus Spritz is a simple three ingredients and one topping. The GT&C, by Elva Ramirez Zero Proof: 90 alcohol-free recipes for mindful drinking, calls for an alcohol-free gin from Ritual Zero Proof – which starts life not as gin, but water, with xanthan gum added for weight and citric acid for bite. I happen to open my mailbox to a book titled Drink lightly. The author, Natasha David, is a veteran bartender from Maison Premiere, Mayahuel, and her own spot, the recently closed Nitecap on the Lower East Side. She is avowedly indifferent to drunkenness (“I never wanted to get drunk,” she writes in the opening pages of her book) and now spends her days concocting alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks in its research and development laboratory in Red Hook. , New York. I send her a note, asking if she might have any practical advice on drinking when you’re not drinking. She responds enthusiastically, with a list of non-alcoholic spirits and, best of all, an offer to spend a morning tasting and mixing them by my side.

I cross-reference David’s list with Bainbridge’s recommendations and various “best of” lists, and let Instagram’s algorithmic nudges take care of the rest. Soon hundreds of dollars worth of wine, spirits, appetizers, amaros, canned spritzes and miscellaneous are on their way home from online stores like The Zero Proof and No & Low. Although quitting alcohol can save marriages and internal organs, it should be noted that it does not save money. Non-alcoholic wine costs between $15 and $30 (around £12 to £25), and the average canned NA aperitif works the same way as an IPA. (By the way – I exclude the wide world of non-alcoholic beer, hop water, and IPA-type teas entirely from this contemplation, because I’m not a regular beer drinker, and because are such a large and varied group, they deserve a story of their own.)

I use the days before my orders arrive to research the drinking history. “Who will ever tell the whole story of narcotics? It’s almost the history of culture. It’s Nietzsche from 1882. He sounds histrionic, but it’s true. The embrace of alcohol dates back to between 6,000 and 4,000 BC. Like so many cultural artifacts, it began in Mesopotamia and Turkey and eventually spread west. The ancient Egyptians drank more beer than wine due to their prolific cultivation of wheat; The Romans drank more wine than beer because their temperate climate was conducive to vines. In 1620, the Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod instead of Northern Virginia because they ran out of beer. Periods of temperance, promoted by Susan B Anthony, Walt Whitman et al, and prohibition alternated with the apotheosis of alcohol and drunkenness. (See William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Henry Ford II.) Fortunately for my abstinence plans, according to the curators of a contemporary exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, the concept of moderate drinking was pioneered by my people, the biblical Jews. . I’ve never practiced moderation, but it’s encouraging to know it’s in my genes.

About Michael Brafford

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