This is the season of drinking too much and waking up in the morning to find that it’s cold and dark and you have a sore head. The festive spirit prompts people to generosity when it comes to buying you a drink and urging you to stay for just one more, and then buying you another drink that may or may not contain cinnamon. The news that you’re not drinking can be met with a shocked hush, as if you just announced some sort of terminal illness. ‘Why not?’ is a question you might not actually want to spend all night answering. So this is our guide to stealth sobriety if you want to fly under the radar; whether or not you actually really do need to be up in the morning.
Club Soda’s top tips
The T&T. A gin and tonic looks exactly the same as a tonic and tonic. If you usually have a mixed drink, well who’s to say there’s no vodka in your coke? If you have a diet coke it even tastes pretty much like a vodka and coke. And the recent gin craze has resulted in an explosion of interesting tonics to go with it (or not). You can have your tonic with the addition of cardamon, elderflower, or lemon and rosemary. Or our personal favourite Bitters and Tonic, a very grown up soft drink.
The never ending shandy. This comes straight from our member Rob, who gets the lowest strength pint he can find, and then tops it up with lemonade for the rest of the evening. Ok, his first few sips are boozy – but you can do it your way. Or get a low alcohol wine and make a never ending spritzer.
Alternating. If someone offers to buy you a drink, ask for a soft drink or a glass of water and let them know you’re alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Actually alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is a great way to moderate your alcohol consumption and minimise your dehydration the next day.
Bartenders. Bar staff are your friends. If you don’t want people to know you’re not drinking, enlist an ally by setting up a prearranged (non-alcoholic) “usual” with the bartender. Maybe it seems weird to you, but they have probably been asked to do this before because someone was pregnant, or someone had just given up drinking, or someone didn’t want to be treated like a mutant for not drinking.
Drunken forgetfulness. If someone buys you a drink, carry it around for a bit and then leave it somewhere. Or palm it off on a trusted friend who knows you aren’t drinking. If they are drinking they are unlikely to be keeping track of what happens to your pint.
This has gotten out of control and it’s time to go. Is someone buying shots? Have you stayed way too long? Your shot excuse could be ‘if I drink anymore I am going to throw up’ or ‘(insert spirit of choice) makes me throw up’. In fact the earlier in the evening you can line up your exit strategy the better. ‘I’m driving’ is always solid, and lets you avoid all the alcohol you like. But there’s also ‘I’m tired’, ‘I have a cold’, ‘I’m on antibiotics’, ‘My shopping is being delivered’, ‘I have to be up early’, ‘I have work tomorrow’, ‘I drank too much last night’ or really any other reason you wouldn’t be drinking. Which, it turns out, could be really almost anything. One of them might even be true. Have a safe and sober party season everybody!