This September I decided to try Sober September… this post is all about how it went!
Why did I decide to do Sober September? If you’ve been following me on Instagram this summer you may have seen me posting from Dusseldorf a lot. I was there on work with the day job and this meant a lot of hotel food and drink, basically an unhealthy lifestyle.
So in the Autumn I thought it would be good to kickstart a healthier lifestyle by getting back to the gym and trying to sort out my eating and drinking. Hence Sober September (but I only started after I got back from holiday where I was tasting English wine!)
The gym bit hasn’t exactly gone to plan though…. 😱
What did I find hardest?
Giving up wine!!! Whilst I found some drinks that I could have in place of the wine/cocktails my friends were drinking, these were generally high sugar content. Even low calorie, low sugar versions didn’t hit the spot.. you can’t fake a rich, deep fruity flavoured Rioja!
Drinking sparkling grape and elderflower presse was like reverting back to being a child at a party when you pretended to be like the adults drinking their wine, but worse as I actually like the taste of wine now!
The biggest stretch of my will power was dinner with my family in a Sardinian restaurant that we’ve been frequenting for years. They all had the steak with a gorgeous bottle of juicy, deep, fruity Sardinian red wine. I could smell it across the table and it was good. I might have gotten slightly high on wine fumes lol! But I exercised my will power and instead stuck to fish and had a dessert to distract myself.
What did I find easiest?
Surprisingly for a gin lush like myself, I didn’t miss gin all that much….
I even went to a gin tasting – albeit of gins that I’ve tried previously – and stuck to tonic all night. This is where the new and different varieties of tonic and other mixers come in really handy to give variety to my drinks. Else I would have drunk nothing but tap water all month! Get some ideas on different mixers – including the Fever-Tree range on my post about the new mixer revolution here.
One of the things I mentioned about non alcoholic alternative drinks is the sugar content. A lot of the cocktails are fruit juice based – I don’t drink a lot of juice normally, so I find this too sweet – or they have lemonade or other sodas mixed in. There is no replacement for the tartness that comes from alcohol and that balances the sweetness of other ingredients in a cocktail.
Or at least that’s what I thought until I tried Seedlip. Seedlip is a distilled non alcoholic spirit and for a negroni lover like me it has the bitterness that you otherwise miss. It won’t necessarily suit all palates, but by the time I tried it I was ready for something different to liven up my tonics!
Seedlip now have two versions to try – their original ‘spirit’ and the Garden 108, which they kindly sent me some tasters to try out. The original version is tagged as Wood – Spice – Citrus and as I mentioned already has a definite bitter note.
On the nose it smells of ‘Green’ – aka fresh, clean reminding me a little of other bitter apperitvos such as Suze. There is also a hint of menthol. When I tasted it (neat of course!) it was definitely greener and softer – I think there is a hint of cucumber in there, it definitely reminds me of that flavour!
The serving suggestion was with the Elderflower tonic and cucumber, I would add that it works well with mint. Perhaps it would work as a replacement for rum in a mojito type cocktail?
This smelt spicier than the Garden variety with a hint of cloves. The taste is definitely clove heavy, but overall light. Obviously they don’t have the alcohol mouth feel or warmth in the throat. This one felt more of a man’s taste – think something to have with a cigar in a wood paneled smoking room of a club!
The serving suggestion was with the regular tonic and red grapefruit, I substituted fresh lime and that worked well too – the fresh citrus definitely balancing out the spices.
I also tried the spirits with some other tonics that I had knocking around (naturally!) The Garden variety worked really well with the Double Dutch Cucumber and Watermelon tonic – a very fresh and summery drink.
I think the stronger taste of the original spirit would work with a more flavoursome tonic, for example maybe the ginger and lemongrass from Bottle Green. It’s fun to experiment!
I was so happy to discover Seedlip – if you are looking for some drink alternatives or are doing Stop-tober / Go Sober for October then check them out, you can also find a list of bars that serve Seedlip cocktail when you are out and about – make sure you exercise that will power! Seedlip