Mocktails in Charlottesville for Dry January

Mocktails in Charlottesville for Dry January

Charlottesville is a town where it’s easy to imbibe. There are a ton of breweries, wineries and distilleries to choose from and I won’t lie – sometimes I enjoy a fun afternoon of getting a little in the cups over a glass of wine with my favorite people (and puppy) at my winery of choice.

The holiday season is also something that makes it super easy to indulge in things like wine, beer and cocktails – it seems like I’m constantly heading out to a happy hour or a cocktail party. By the end of December, I always feel like my alcohol consumption has gone through the roof. As a way to reset after all of the festivities, my husband and I like to take part in Dry January, where we abstain from alcohol for 30 days (we start right after the New Year).

Why Try Dry January?

Are you ready to stop drinking for the month? According to the National Institute on Alcohol, Dry January and Sober October have been seeing an increase in popularity. It’s more than just wanting to hit reset after a busy drinking season; there are a lot of folks who want to see how going booze free can improve things like their quality of sleep or overall mood. My husband swears he always feels more energized after participating in Dry January.

For me, Dry January is a way to help reboot my immune system so I can start my new year off the right way – energized and ready to tackle my resolutions. The end of a successful Dry January this year will mean not needing to hit reset again because my overall approach to drinking alcohol will have improved long term. That means always listening to what’s best for myself and enjoying alcohol in a better way.

How To Do Dry January

With all that being said, that doesn’t mean it is the easiest thing to do, especially if you’ve gotten used to the ritual of having a drink when you go out! Here are my tips for how to do Dry January:

  • Make it Fun
    In order to keep Dry January from feeling like a chore, you have to find ways to make it fun – which is what mocktails are perfect for! Ask for a dealer’s choice mocktail when out to dinner or come up with your own fun recipes at home where you can experiment with different flavors. I personally like to keep it simple, with club soda, lime and jalapenos in a fun glass.

  • Think Reset, Not Deprivation
    Generally speaking, I don’t like the idea of depriving myself of things I enjoy because I think it can lead to overindulgence in the long run. That’s why I like to think of fun options like mocktails.

  • Consider the Health Benefits
    There are a number of health benefits to taking a break from drinking; according to an article by The Washington Post, the health benefits of Dry January go beyond just the month itself. For instance, I am super bad at drinking water (although I’m trying to get better!) and so I am often dehydrated, which alcohol only makes worse. I already knew this was a side effect, but I had no idea that actually impacts your blood pressure!

  • Replace the Ritual
    If you are someone who likes the ritual of alcohol (like happy hours with friends or a nightcap while watching a show), find something you’ll look forward to and replace it with that. Try a mocktail happy hour, subbing in a physical activity like yoga or barre, or tea.

  • Set Goals Outside of Alcohol
    Rather than focusing on the fact you are not drinking all month, focus on things you want to do for January. Have you been contemplating perfecting TikTok dances or learning how to cook? Do you want to start hiking more? Take advantage of this month!

Best Places for Mocktails in Charlottesville

I’m feeling excited about doing Dry January to start off 2023 because – in addition to taking a different approach- there are so many more options available now when you are cutting out alcohol! I love how many places have added mocktails to their repertoire so those not drinking have options beyond coffee, tea, water or soda. Here are some of my favorite places in Charlottesville to find mocktails:

Milkman’s Bar

The MIlkman’s Bar is an inventive cocktail spot located in the Dairy Market. I like them because they are always featuring drinks beyond the ordinary. It’s no surprise they add the same creative flair to their mocktails. Plus, their location is great for people watching and there are a ton of options nearby should you get hungry (or you can eat there – they share a kitchen with South & Central and offer a limited version of the restaurant’s menu!).

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