With Macmillian Cancer’s Sober October challenge just a few days away, you don’t have to despair and mourn the loss of your favourite bevy.
It turns out that London well and truly got this year’s memo and is well-equipped for those wanting to jump on-board the wagon and stay off the floor.
But what is Sober October?
According to Macmillian, Sober October is about two things – saying ‘no’ to the booze and saying ‘yes’ to raising money for those living with cancer. By signing up for the challenge here you can help raise a ton of money to help those in need.
Why should I do it?
Apart from the obvious – going sober can not only help other people but can also help yourself and with Christmas right around the corner, this is the perfect time to bin the binge (just until the Christmas festivities start, of course)!
But if that’s not enough excuse – here are some of our top reasons why you should go Sober for October:
– Improved Sleep, according to award-winning holistic health specialist and life coach Geeta Sidhu-Robb, alcohol impacts your sleep and “drinking before bed can increase your alpha wave patterns making you get less shut-eye and starting your day on the back foot – not drinking alcohol will [also] give your body that time to rest up and will leave you feeling more refreshed”.
– Better Skin, Geeta also comments that that extra glass of vino could be the cause for your latest break-out. “Alcohol dehydrates you and therefore by consuming more [alcoholic] drinks, you are lowering your body’s antioxidant defences in your skin – leaving them more prone to spots … over the long-term this will cause consistent inflammation, redness and broken capillaries.” No, thanks.
– Happy Heart, now it might not quite be a glass of non-alcoholic wine a day, keeps the doctor away, but drinking less alcohol can have noticeable changes to our heart (and overall body) health. “Alcohol raises your blood pressure” Geeta comments, causing irregular heartbeats, nerve damaging and putting a strain on your heart, liver, kidneys and more. By removing harmful chemicals and fats your heart will thank you for it later.
How can I do it?
It’s hard breaking a habit, but it’s not impossible. You just have to change your mind-set about alcohol says Simon Chapple, the author of The Sober Survival Guide who lives by the mantra of changing your thinking to “I can’t have” to “I don’t want to have” who has some simple tips on how to stay sober, through October or as a complete life-change.
“Be passionate, think positively and don’t worry if you slip up – it can happen, don’t beat yourself up, learn from it and move on” comments Simon, who also tells us to “stay engaged, join social groups and challenges and revel in the positive changes to your body, your mind and your life”.
Simon also mentions to “arm yourself with alcohol-free drinks” and to research the places where there are alternatives on the menu, so that you aren’t tempted.
And… lucky for you we have done that all for you.
Here are our top FIVE places in London to help you stay hangover free:
Little Mercies – this gorgeous little neighbour bar in Crouch End is North London’s best kept secret. Not only do they serve a cracking brunch, but they also create inventive and totally unique non-alc cocktails including their Not-Aperol Spritz which is made with raspberry seed Stryyk Not Gin, black pepper and strawberry cordial (RRP: £4)
Tayer + Elementary – a brand new offering for 2019, T+E, in Old Street has created an exciting new concept. Split into two, Elementary at the front offers a light casual bar focussing on seasonality with Tayer, at the back, a more progressive and experimental bar. And if you don’t want to drink this month, why not try their “I’m Not Drinking This Week concoction made from non-alc aperitif Everleaf, fig leaf and Minus 8 Verjus – a Canadian based vineyard that creates this unique juice from unripe grapes (RRP: £4)
FAM – Soho based FAM is not only a neighbourhood fave but has a strong focus on community, sustainability and expertise making this the perfect place to kick back, relax and be yourself. FAM’s friendly approach to the cocktail scene is second to none and their I’m Still Standing (RRP £7) blends AEcorn Aperitifs with fresh raspberry and house citrus for a tangy yet refreshing drink that you won’t regret in the morning.
Lyaness – a little more on the pricey side but oh so worth it, Lyaness, the new bar on the block created by Ryan Chetiyawardana, this opulent 1970’s resto-customed built waterfront bar is the perfect spot for any time of the day. Staying true to his reputation, Ryan has created a place that is not only hot on hospitality but ensures his menu is always packed full of boozeless options. Their Double Pain-Killer created with the renowned non-alc king Seedlip is paired with banana, coconut, lemon and orange. (RRP 11.50)
Slug and Lettuce – with multiple locations across London, Slug and Lettuce is your go-to for a quick after-work drink with the gang and this one is a two-fold. Partnering with Coppafeel! for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, their delicious sober October offering the Berry Boobtini mocktail will help two amazing charities in one – the next round is on you! Their mixture of strawberry, coconut, cranberry and apple juice is topped with cream and each order will donate 25p to Coppafeel! on your behalf, so you can just sit back and be the superhero you know you are. (RRP 4.95)
What can I do at home?
Not London based, want to save the pennies even more or just don’t fancy putting on your glad rags, you can still continue the sober-party on the comfort of your own sofa with the help of our tried and tested collection of low and no, with something for everyone. So, grab a glass of your favourite alcohol-free tipple and cheers to Sober October!
Keep it soft:
Nix + Kix, Watermelon and Hibiscus – staying true to their brand, this brand-new flavour keeps that hint of cayenne and mixes it with watermelon and hibiscus for a truly wonderful take on a pre-made canned cocktail. £1.25 from Ocado
Equinox, Espresso Coffee – the organic kombucha brand has not only created the first Espresso booch in the UK but have perfectly created an alternative to that famous espresso martini. All the health, none of the headache. £1.60 at certain Waitrose, Whole Foods and Planet Organic.
Devon’s Sea Arch – this newly launched, twice-distilled gin-alternative is created with hand-harvested sea-kelp and additional coastal botanicals from the Devon shoreline – best enjoyed on the rocks. £24.99, 70cl notginltd.com
Belvoir, Botanical Juniper and Tonic – the first of its kind for Belvoir, this tee-total bottle has all the best-loved botanicals of a G+T such as juniper and orange peel but paired with elderflower based quinine. £2.39, 75cl from all major supermarkets.
Eisberg – made in exactly the same way as regular wine, Eisberg gently removes the alcohol to offer a tasty alternative in a range of options including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cab Sauv. £3.50 from supermarkets nationwide.
Freixenet – available in white and rosé the 0% wine range from Freixent is an easy option to enjoy. With fruity notes across both bottles and available from Morrison’s at just £5 per bottle.
What’s up brew?
Brutal Brewing – vacuum-distilled and twice dry-hopped this no ABV beer has bags of flavour and none of the booze. £1.30 per bottle in selected Tesco.
Lucky Saint – this brand-new four-ingredient premium 0.5% beer keeps its full-body regardless of its alcoholic content. £1.80 per bottle in Sainsburys.
Bubbles for days:
Scavi and Ray – all the fizz, none of the hangover. This 0.0% prosecco brings all the fun. £8.99, Amazon.
Noughty – the first 100% organic, vegan and alcohol-free sparkling wine by Thomson and Scott is definitely a school-night choice. £11.99, Holland and Barrett.