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What is Damp January? 3 Easy Tips to Reduce Alcohol Intake

If the thought of 31 days without alcohol fills you with dread, there is another way to reduce your alcohol consumption. Introducing Damp January…

What is Damp January?

Damp January is a challenge like Dry January, but the difference is you reduce your alcohol intake, rather than stopping drinking altogether.

Often seen as the “back up plan” for well intentioned drinkers who tried Dry January without success, the challenge is now becoming more popular.

It’s not exactly clear when the term damp January was invented, though it’s been in use for several years.


What are the benefits of Damp January?

Friends laughing at a bar holding cocktails

As a company making cocktail kits you might be surprised that we’re really into both Dry January and Damp January.

The Cocktail Society was formed to help people create better cocktails at home.

Part of this means sourcing the best ingredients, but it also means ensuring our relationship with alcohol is a positive one.

We love Damp January as it gives some of the benefits of Dry January but is a little more flexible.

There have been many studies suggesting that reducing alcohol has a positive benefit on your body.

As well as reducing calories, studies have shown that saying goodbye to alcohol can reduce proteins associated with blood cancer and other illnesses.

Charity Alcohol Change reports that 70% of people sleep better during Dry January, with 65% seeing an overall improvement to their health.

Not only this, but 86% reported saving money during the month.

One of the main effects of alcohol is dehydration. During a month of alcohol abstinence your skin and eyes will likely begin to appear refreshed.

Not bad for simply changing what you drink, right?


Is Damp January better than Dry January?

So, improved health, glowing skin, and money to spend – where’s the catch?

Well, some say that cutting off the booze completely in Dry January could lead to a “rebound February”.

Research shows that cutting out certain foods can cause us to want them even more.

There aren’t current studies to see if this is the case with drinks, but it would make sense that this trend would also apply.

However according to a UCL study, it takes on average 66 days to embed a new habit. If the trends in the research are true, then 31 days won’t be enough to cut it.

Studies do show that stopping alcohol intake has an overall positive effect on the body, so reducing it can also be a good move.

So, for many simply reducing the amount they drink over a longer period is a good way of improving your health and wellbeing whilst also enjoying the odd treat.


How do I do Damp January?

One of the best things about Damp January is that there are no set rules, apart from reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.

Set Your Goals

A calendar for January

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose how you’re going to approach Damp January. Setting clear and achievable goals is the first step to success.

Some do this by deciding to reduce the number of days they drink. For example, choosing to go alcohol free at the weekends when you’d usually enjoy a few cocktails.

It’s important to not then overload on the other days of the week!

Or you could choose to reduce even further, by going down to just one or two drinks in total across the week.

This gives you the flexibility to choose which day you enjoy a drink on rather than being limited to set days.

Whichever option you choose, be honest with yourself about is realistic and doable.

Have alcohol free options

The Cocktail Society's alcohol free cocktail kit - the Apple and Cinnamon Martini made with Warner's Double Juniper 0.0%
The Cocktail Society’s alcohol free cocktail kit – the Apple and Cinnamon Martini made with Warner’s Double Juniper 0.0%

But I thought drinking is allowed in Dry January, we hear you say.

Correct – but if you’re looking to reduce you booze intake, it helps to have delicious alcohol-free alternatives ready for once you’ve hit your limit.

Luckily there are now lots of great alcohol-free alternatives to enjoy including beer, wine, and even zero alcohol cocktails.

Switch to Low Alcohol Drinks

Brancott Estate Flight Low Alcohol Wine 9% ABV
Source: Brancott Estate

Another tactic could be to switch to lower ABV drinks.

For example, if you usually like a glass of wine (around 11-12% on average) you could switch to a beer (generally 4-5%).

There are also specialised low alcohol wines which generally contain the same amount of alcohol as beer.

Spirits producers are catching on, with light spirits becoming the new trend for vodka and gin lovers.

This new breed of alcohol is made in a similar way but contain around half the usual alcohol. Your Friday G&T just got a whole lot more wholesome.


Damp January: more beneficial than Dry January?

If the all or nothing approach isn’t for you, then trying Damp January can be a great way to improve your health. And it means you get to enjoy a delicious cocktail or two!

As we mentioned in our Dry January guide, it’s important to be kind to yourself if you slip up and exceed your target.

No-one is perfect after all.

Think about the good work you’ve done so far, and then continue working towards your goal.

If you’re looking for more information on better drinking choices then check out the range of resources at DrinkAware.

Follow @thecocktailsocietyuk for the latest recipes, trends and more.

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