Can’t Commit To Dry January? Try Damp January

Associated Press photo
Associated Press photo

It’s basically Dry January with a splash. 


The new year often finds us with our cup runneth over…literally. With all the champagne-soaked holiday parties and late nights (with maybe a few too many nightcaps), a booze-free January starts to look pretty appealing. But what if Dry January sounds, well, a bit too dry? Enter: “Damp January,” a lower-ABV dive into the sober-curious life. 
What is Damp January? 
It’s basically what it sounds like. It’s Dry January (where one foregoes alcohol for the entire month), but with a splash, so to speak. Damp January is a more a moderate approach to the challenge, allowing for the occasional, mindfully-chosen drink. 

Many use Damp January as a way to “reset” any drinking habits that often develop during November and December, when being full of holiday spirit turns, well, pretty literal. And it’s not only for just the month of January. According to Bacardi Drinks Trends 2023 report, “Millenials and Gen Z especially are joining in on the the non-alcoholic and low-ABV (NoLo) experimentation movement, with up to 23% becoming ‘blenders’ or those who switch between NoLo and full-strength cocktails on the same occasion in 2023.” 
Should you do a Damp January? 
Maybe you’ve noticed that your usual glass of wine with dinner sometimes turns into three. Damp January is less stringent way to do a self-assessment when it comes to those occasional drinks (and resulting headaches). After all, the average person spends 252 hours hungoverevery year. No matter if 2022 found you on the lower end of that number, any amount of alcohol reduction is incredibly beneficial to one’s health. 
“The concept of Dry January and all the various food challenges people do in January can create a sort of all-or-nothing approach,” says registered dietician Samantha Cassetty. “And that can actually be stressful for people if they don’t complete the full 30 days… I think if you aren’t using alcohol to cope, you can use that time instead to assess what role alcohol plays for you [with a Damp January approach].” 
With the goal for the month being awareness (and less focus on “willpower”), there’s a larger margin of success in pursuing a Damp January. And the health benefits of going damp are not for nothing either. Cassetty says that while eliminating drinking altogether will help improve cortisol levels, sleep quality, and even digestion, even those occasional glasses of wine are seen as a healthy part of the popular Mediterranean diet (that being said, if you’re not already an alcohol drinker there’s no benefit in starting). 
Generally speaking, Damp January definitely benefits those of us who identify as low-to-moderate drinkers (“moderate drinking” is defined as less than seven drinks per week for women, and less than 14 drinks per week for men). If you’ve found your drinking has gotten in the way of your life, or is of consistent concern, a truly dry approach might be the best route to take. 

An Americano is relatively low-alcohol cocktail to dry for Damp January. 
The Best Low-to-No-ABV Drinks 
Whether you’re mixing up a cheeky nightcap at home or joining friends for an after-work drink, there are tons of mocktail mixology inspo out there to make sure you’re never left empty-handed. And we’re not talking about just plain soda water, either. Thankfully, there are plenty of options, whether you’re in the mood for canned mocktails, low-ABV spritzes, or non-alcoholic beers

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