Alcohol Awareness Week is running from the 16-22 November this year, and its timing couldn’t be more apt. Not only are we running into the holiday season, a time of the year when over-boozing is to be expected, but a second lockdown is causing a whole host of stresses that could push many into mindless drinking habits. In the last lockdown, 28 percent of us increased our alcohol intake according to a survey from Alcohol Change and the Alcohol Health Alliance.
Mental health is the theme of this particular Alcohol Awareness Week, with around 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, and drinking too much or too often increases those odds. Combine this with the mental health impact of the pandemic and the prospect of a cold, dark winter ahead, and doing everything we can to keep our mental health in tip-top shape becomes vital.
Camille Vidal is the founder of mindful drinking brand and creative consultancy La Maison Wellness and has spent her career as a consultant and global brand ambassador for several drinks brands including St-Germain and Bacardi. We spoke to Vidal ahead of Alcohol Awareness Week about what it means to drink mindfully, her top tips for making your own low-alcohol and non-alcoholic cocktail alternatives, and her three favourite recipes for you to try out this party season.
What makes a mocktail different from any other non-alcoholic drink?
First of all its important for me to address the language here. I stay away from the word mocktail with that idea of mocking, or virgin and other alternatives. I call my drinks ‘Mindful Cocktails’ as for me its about bringing mindfulness into the glass and finding balance.
These cocktails are mindful in their alcohol content with some of them being alcohol-free or low-alcohol but also in the other ingredients that go into the glass from higher quality ingredients to powerful herbs and spices, and healthier sugar alternatives.
What we drink like what we eat is the foundation of our wellbeing and if drinking alcohol is associated with fun and socialising it doesn’t always have to be the answer. We can rethink our drink without feeling like we are compromising.
Which mindful cocktail ingredients can closely mimic the taste of alcoholic drinks?
Kombucha, shrubs, and cordials are some great options. But as much as some of them can really be a beautiful alternative to alcohol like a cold glass of Kombucha serve in a champagne glass, it’s important to understand there is a difference between soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails.
If you think about it what you love about a cocktail is the flavours and the experience but tasty doesn’t have to be boozy and we are lucky to have so many amazing non-alcoholic spirits and aperitif alternatives to allow you to celebrate more mindfully. Maybe you want to cut down your alcohol intake or cut it out completely. Mindful drinking doesn’t have to be boring or feel like you’re missing out. Trust me I have hundreds of mindful cocktail recipes that are absolutely delicious.
What are your favourite non-alcoholic cocktail ingredients?
I’m a big fan of the aperitif occasion and spritz-like cocktails. There so many good products in these categories from non-alcoholic sparkling options with botanicals and adaptogens like Wild Life Botanicals, to bittersweet aperitifs made with plants like Everleaf that you can just mix with tonic water. There are many great non-alcoholic beers too. I really like the Big Drop Brewing Co. They have loads of different styles of beers, including stout.
Making cocktails is like cooking. Figure out what you like, have fun playing with flavours, and know that there is a different technique to bring mindfulness into the glass. You can reduce the alcohol content, remove it, or replace it with something lighter. Whatever works for you to enjoy and appreciate the moment.
3 Of Cami’s Favourite Non-Alcoholic Cocktails
Fall Of The Apple
- Tsp apple cider vinegar
- 10ml ginger juice
- 15ml lemon juice
- 15ml maple syrup
- Top up with Thatchers Zero Apple Cider
- Build the ingredients up in a rocks glass adding all the ingredients except Thatchers Zero Cider.
- Stir with a spoon. Add ice to the glass. Top up with Thatchers Zero Cider.
- Give another gentle stir so its all mixed together. Garnish with a slice of apple.
- Et voilà, your delicious alcohol-free cider cocktail awaits.
- 50ml Martini Vibrante non alcoholic aperitif
- 20ml lemon juice
- 50ml Solo cold brew coffee
- Splash of London Essence tonic water
- Put all of the ingredients in your shaker, except the tonic water, with ice and shake quickly.
- Pour into a rocks glass and add a splash of tonic water.
- If you would like to garnish it, add some grated dark chocolate.
- 50ml Everleaf Non-Alcoholic Aperitif
- 50ml FIX8 Saffron & Citrus Kombucha
- 50ml tonic water
- Lemon wheel and thyme (for garnish)
- Start by pouring your delicious Everleaf non-alcoholic aperitif tipple into a wine glass over the ice.
- Then top up with FIX8 Saffron & Citrus Kombucha.
- Finish with your favourite tonic water, a lemon wheel and some thyme sprigs to garnish.
All images by Camille Vidal and La Maison Wellness. For more alcohol-free and low-alcohol cocktail recipe inspiration please do check out lamaisonwellness.com.