Damp Patch

I’m talking about January, obviously. And instead of going dry (oh come on, we’ve talked about this) I’m doing a dry-ish January. Damp, in other words. Obviously I’m cutting down on booze because, well, December. But I’m not cutting it out. Rather, I’m staying dry for most of the week and enjoying a glass of something lovely on other days. (By the way, this vacuum-sealed decanter* is a game-changer, keeping an opened bottle daisy-fresh for as long as you like). I’m also drinking a fabulous gin with just a smudge of alcohol with my tonic (it’s in this week’s recommendations) and if you want some homemade alcohol-free divine drink inspiration, I heartily recommend my friend and fellow wino Fiona Beckett’s new book, How to Drink Without Drinking. Dry definitely doesn’t have to be dull.

*Eto kindly offered me one of their decanters to test out. I opened two bottles (same wine) and kept one for a week in the bottle, the other in the Eto. Not only does it keep the wine perfectly fresh, it’s a gorgeous looking piece of kit. Normally the words ‘wine accessories’ cause an involuntary eye-roll but this is really good. (Full disclosure: they let me keep it – and that was before I wrote this).

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Current gin in the cupboard: Hayman’s Small Gin

Price: £21.00 - Buy From Waitrose

This is such a clever idea: a great gin made with super concentrated botanicals so that you only need a small measure to get the taste with your tonic. The bottle comes with a small silver thimble round its neck for you to use as a measure and then you just make your G&T as you normally would. Lots of proper gin flavours but just 0.2 units of alcohol (a normal – ok, fairly stiff – G&T would be nearer 2 units). All very Alice in Wonderland and I love it. Normally £25/bottle but it’s currently on offer. Quick.

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Current white in the fridge: Leitz Eins Zwei Alcohol Free White

Price: £6.99 - Buy From Ocado

Most non-alcoholic wines taste more like fruit juice than wine – and that’s the good ones. But there are a few wine-like ones around and this is one of them. Made from the Riesling grape, it actually smells grape-y, which definitely helps. And although not bone dry, it’s not too sweet either (most of them use sugar to make up for the lack of alcohol). Definitely best served well chilled; top up with soda if you want a longer drink.

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