Here at SoberCocktails we want to be a force of good and provide great alternatives to alcohol. We would never – however – try to preach what anyone should be doing. Some people can handle a little alcohol and some simply can’t. We’ve come to our own conclusion that there are a lot of benefits to cut down or not drink alcohol at all , and if we can provide the tools for that, we’ve served our mission. If you’ve got a serious drinking problem, please seek professional help from someone who’s got expertise in this area.
First of, I am not an straight-edge soberist.. Therefore I do occasionally drink alcohol. That being said, I do enjoy going out sober – I enjoy having beautiful mocktails instead of the boozier version. I love having a glass of water to my dinner and from time to time I like to pair my oysters with a nice glass of apple cider.
Sober and vibrant – Energy to run for miles!
So this summer I went to visit my relatives in Portugal for 2 weeks. A wine-producing country with beautiful wines, ranging from nice crisp vinho verde to sweet port wines and everything in between. It’s also a country where the beer scene is growing rapidly and therefore you can find lots of nice craft beer places. Portugal is probably most known for their port wine, a sweet, full bodied wine with great complexity and a wine that pairs amazingly well with deserts loaded with chocolate. It also happens to be one of my favourite styles of wine…
I had already shifted my view on alcohol long before I went on vacay, I hadn’t had alcohol for a few months. I slept like a baby, I woke up energetic and happy. I enjoyed the food i was eating and I started to take much more pride in the food i was making. I didn’t see much reason to tear that down with some “not-so-good-beer” for the sake of having a beer. So I enjoyed my vacation sober. I went to restaurants and enjoyed beautifully cooked poulpe, I woke up every morning early and rested. I started every day with a run in the sun. I visited some of the port wine cellars, I even went on wine tastings and enjoy the lovely flavours of Portuguese wines, without all the bad effects of drinking alcohol…
At first I did get some questions about just ordering water or non alcoholic drinks, politely I answered that i didn’t feel in the mood for a glass of wine but that I happily tried a sip for the sake of flavour. After a while it wasn’t a big deal anymore.
The restaurant experience that got me thinking..
Then one day… We went to a one star Michelin restaurant and enjoyed an amazing 11 course dinner paired with some of the greatest wines from the region. The apple-sorbet paired with a Colheita Tardia was a mind-blowing experience and an absolute winner! After a few glasses of wine and a lovely dinner I went to bed, full, happy and a light dizziness.
That night I didn’t sleep very much. Not because I’ve been partying real hard or was shit-faced drunk. Just those small glasses of wine made a real impact on my sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks, it took a long time to get to sleep, and when i finally slept, my sleep quality was anything but good.
I woke up pretty late the day after – not like I slept all day – but i didn’t get my early morning run in. I went running but not as far as i used to and it wasn’t as pleasing as it use to be. Not because of a hangover but probably from the fact that my sleep was poor and i felt tired. As the day went on I slowly became more and more alert and rested. Probably because of the nap I took in the sun.
So to sum it up, after days and days of being completely sober and still enjoying my vacation I had a few glasses of wine and it made the day after way harder to get through. Was it worth it?
Thats a question I ask myself a lot nowadays, and I often land in something like:
Yes it sure was. But! I wouldn’t do it for something less than an exceptional experience!
That said, next time I visit an restaurant or stumble over a wine that i haven’t experienced I will try it! But there is a great difference between that and doing the party binge drinking. I will always look for alternatives to alcohol to enable the experience of great pairings and flavourings. And most important of all, I will carefully choose the times I drink alcohol.
So one of my biggest lessons learned is about control. The ability to choose when and how to enjoy alcohol. With that said, cheers!