top of page
  • theswirlingglass

Staying Dry This January? Or Just Sticking Your Feet In? Try Low ABV Cocktails to Enjoy Year Round!

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Now that 2020 is behind us, we have made it through the holiday drinking season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. It is no surprise that we are once again hearing from some of our friends and relatives that are participating in Dry January, giving up alcohol for an entire month. The idea has been gaining steam in recent years, and it’s easy to see why.

Giving up alcohol entirely for a month can have some positive health benefits, according to the experts. Improved mood over time is often reported, along with improved sleep. These benefits usually lead to a stronger immune system and you might lose a small amount of weight by skipping the alcohol. You will also logically save some money. and even decide that you don’t need to drink as much as you think you do. There’s everything to gain by focusing on your health and mental well-being in 2021, and if Dry January is what is going to help you achieve your long-term health goals this year, then by all means go for it. It’s also not too late to start just because we’re already well into January, you can start today or any time this year and keep it up for 30 days.

Alternately, some of us may be less willing to commit to a Dry January, yet still acknowledge the desire to cut back on alcohol consumption. That’s perfectly understandable. Perhaps not entirely give up drinking, but simply limit it or just “stick your feet in.” Moderate your consumption to whatever amount is achievable, and then apply the same discipline you would as if you were going completely dry. Another useful way to cut back is by reducing the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) in the drinks you do consume.

There are multiple low-ABV beers, ciders and sparkling beverages available. Although sake can often have an ABV higher than beer or wine, low-ABV variants of sake have grown in popularity and availability. A small chilled glass of low-ABV sake can do the trick for an evening, especially if you also want to fulfill that sweet tooth of yours. There are also a range of low-ABV cocktails that can be mixed to delight your taste buds without the overindulgence.

One example is the classic Americano. This popular low-proof treat is a simple throwback to 1860s Milan, Italy, featuring only three ingredients: equal parts Campari and your favorite sweet vermouth topped with club soda (garnish with an orange twist). It’s regarded as refreshing yet easily drinkable and can be enjoyed any time of day, without you ending up wobbling around.

Another easy-to-make classic low-ABV cocktail is possibly one of the most popular these days: the Mimosa. Although there are so many variants now, the default recipe consists of 2 oz. of fresh orange juice poured into a champagne flute which is then filled with chilled sparkling wine. The great thing about the Mimosa is you can always customize the ratio between the juice and bubbly to your comfort level. Substitute any juice you like, but at least with the orange juice you can remind yourself you’re getting a dose of Vitamin C! It’s another low proof, low ABV drink that can be enjoyed any time of day.

The Bamboo pictured below is a great low-ABV alternative dating back to the 1800s! It is a beverage that offers less sweetness than the drinks previously mentioned for those of us who prefer a more complex palate. Mix equal parts dry sherry and dry vermouth with a dash of Angostura bitters and a dash of orange bitters into an iced mixing glass and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass (garnish with a lemon twist.)

The important thing to remember, whether you’re committed to a Dry January or perhaps a Dry-ish January, is to push yourself to make the most of this opportunity. If you’re spending less time (and maybe even less money) drinking, or not drinking at all, what else can you be doing with your time and energy instead to improve your physical and mental health? What plans are you making for yourself to achieve in the coming months? Are you considering making travel plans when the world opens back up? Where do you want to go and what would you want to see? There are many other things to focus on during this first month of 2021, even if you do decide to imbibe the occasional moderate low-ABV cocktail. Cheers!

Leave your comments below for your favorite low-ABV drinks and any future travel plans!


Shauna Lederman
Shauna Lederman
Jan 25, 2021

Love this. Dry-ISH is definitely trending for me in 2021.


Jan 19, 2021

Great blog, thanks for the ideas!

bottom of page