Seriously Quirky Goes Mocktail Curious

Seriously Quirky Is Going Mocktail Curious

What on earth did I Google? Was it “Dry January?” Maybe it was more of a query: “Can you lose weight and continue drinking?” Perhaps it was more of a statement: “Friday nights have made me fat.” I may have done it in the middle of the night – a Saturday night around 3 a.m. when I woke up to indigestion and a slight headache. Yeah, sounds about right. 

Whatever the search terms were, the next day Mocktails started following me around on the web. My online experience had that eerie quality that we’ve all grown too accustomed to…somebody knows, someone is watching. My Facebook feed was suddenly flooded with advertisements for Sober Sister, a community for sober and sober-curious women. 

And the truth is maybe I need someone to follow me around – or something. You see, I’ve gotten fat. 

OK, I apologize for lying outright. I’ve promised authenticity on this site and you, dear reader, shall have it. Let me try this again. 

I’ve gotten fatTER.

This has been going on for years, specifically for the years following me saying, “I DO.” 

Maybe it’s not good to get caught up in blaming, but this could be Hollywood’s fault. 

During my early teen years, a program called “Dialing for Dollars” came on television every Saturday morning. My sisters and I loved it. The program format was simple: A feature movie with a hostess who would open the phonebook, pick a number, make a call, and maybe give away money. She did this, by the way, without ever looking down. She starred straight into the camera and talked about selecting the next random winner’s number. Every time she came on, pointed, and picked a number, we’d look at each other and say, “She never looks down!” This went on for years. That woman never once looked down. 

We saw Doris Day in Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink. Grace Kelly was gorgeous drinking cocktails in Rear Window and High Society. Audrey Hepburn was a lovely little lush in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – so thin, such a waifAnd it was all so glamorous, so romantic. 

Here are the messages I received from my Saturday mornings with Doris, Audrey, and Grace: 

  • You will always be dressed well. Dressed up actually. You’ll wear silken flowy dresses, pajamas, and pants. Small sizes only.
  • You’ll be gorgeous – which literally just means you’ll be thin. 
  • You will serve and drink cocktails. 
  • Your home interiors will be exquisite, and this will include your bar, cocktail serving tray, glassware, and accessories. Then comes a lovely meal. 
  • You’ll be a gourmet cook. You’ll cook while wearing your silk, but you will never sweat. 
  • You will eat with your husband, family and guests and never gain an ounce. 

Hmm? How’s this gonna work? 

Well, I gave it a go. Flash forward to 2021 and I’m fat.

It took almost no time to gain 30 pounds. And I don’t think I need to say this put a serious chink in my glamour. For a while I continued to try to wear my sultry outfits, but they just lose their luster beyond a size six. Plus, I sweat a lot more now. I mean, I’m fat and it’s super hot in the kitchen.  

Years ago, I read a disappointing, but candid article in a magazine– I can’t remember which one it was, but I’ve never forgotten it. The title was something like, “French Women’s Secrets: Joie De Vivre without the Fat!”  The author, after conducting interviews with French socialites who were successful, thin, and glamorous, came to a clear conclusion. 

Wine? They never touched the stuff. 

Oh. My. God. What?

Yep, the glamorous, thin, social butterflies; the perfect hostesses she interviewed all agreed – wine has calories and we do not consume unnecessary calories. 

Images flashed through my mind. The beautiful French woman in the pillbox hat seated at a bistro table somewhere in Paris, cocktail in hand. 

Bewildered. Betrayed. Hollywood, how could you? 

Look, this is an old story. 

And not a good one. 

Women are expected to do the impossible. We’re given 2 + 2 = 4 and somehow, we make it 3 or 5, depending on what’s asked of us. We’re given a 5-pound sack and 10 pounds of potatoes and yeah, somehow, we get it in there.

What we’re asked to do with food and drink is nothing short of pull off a miracle. We must cook and serve delicious fare and not take part or take part and never gain an ounce. 

I can’t give it up – my vision of myself as a size two, beautifully and effortlessly dressed, and practically a professional chef and mixologist. 

Which led me to a tight curvy size 16. Which led me to Google, “Can you drink and be thin?” 

The truth is that 2 + 2 really does equal 4. 

And a further truth is that large meals and cocktails a couple nights a week will make most women fat, unless you can truly serve and abstain from…hmm? – all of it. 

But, for me, and I suspect many of you, one of life’s great joys is that small space at the end of the day, when the day is complete. Whether it’s a solo night or a night with others, refreshing beverage in hand, shrimp on the barbie, or a perfect recipe in the oven, time to relax. Without our “props” we feel incomplete. 

So, I started thinking: How can I have it all? How can I pull off Friday night and not face a future full of fat? 

A quick review of my food diary was all I needed to come to some clear conclusions. And it’s super simple stuff: 

I don’t eat too much when I don’t drink. It’s not the calories in the cocktails, it’s the loss of inhibition about my eating that’s causing the weight gain. And it’s happening on Friday and Saturday nights(and sometimes Wednesday and Sunday too – oops). 

I tried serving and not drinking. Yurg. I tried asking my husband not to drink. Yawn. I tried working out, long walks, Scrabble, and mediation on Friday nights. Just no. 

What now? 

Online advertising works. 

Eventually I clicked on an advertisement for a non-alcoholic beverage. 

Several hours had passed when I looked up from my screen. As it turns out, this topic is huge, and getting bigger all the time. This is a world – the world of the Mocktail, the non-alcoholic beverage. 

I read and I read, and I Googled, and I Googled. I asked what people were drinking. I looked for reviews. I searched for statistics. I asked the whys. I asked who. I asked what was driving trends. I looked for personal stories. I looked mostly for choices. I thought they would never end. 

Initially I found that: 

  • The Mocktail is an imitation cocktail. You can purchase imitation beer, wine, or spirits. 
  • There is a whole industry of substitute beverages that are not imitations; they are substitute drinks. They come in the form of soft drinks, waters, juices, and combination recipes and are not intended to taste like beer, wine, or liquor.
  • There is definitely a growing trend toward non-drinking, sober and sober-curious people who for many reasons have decided to either cutback or cut out alcohol. 
  • Love it or hate it, capitalism gives rise to all kinds of entrepreneurs and the Mocktail/Substitute beverage industry is no exception. 

No-alcohol and low-alcohol beer has been around for a while; low-alcohol and no-alcohol wine is newer, but a growing industry. The wine spritzer has been around for a long time and stretches the alcohol by adding fluid that’s either caloric or calorie-free. 

What caught my attention was the newer choices. I was curious about the newer imitation spirits and the pure substitutes that made no claims to imitate alcohol of any kind. Entrepreneurs are popping up regularly in this growing business – and it seems they’re turning quite a profit. 

The first one to catch my attention was Seedlip, advertised as “the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits.” What got me was the artwork on the bottle. It’s just fabulous! Maybe this whole article came about from that first sight of the Seedlip bottle artwork. Now that is powerful advertising. 

I decided to find out for myself and set about making a thorough round of the available data on these beverages. I made a list and I decided what to sample. My list includes a coffee substitute, an alternate beverage, an alternate signature cocktail, three imitation liquors, and four “curious elixirs.” Hmm? 

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to sample and review my selections, talk a little bit about the sober-curious trend, cover a more extensive list of the current offerings in the marketplace and take a quick look at some other options that aren’t advertised as non-alcoholic products, but that sober-curious types seem to be consuming. Finally, I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded after weeks of Mocktail sippin’ and reading. Then perhaps I’ll weigh-in – pardon the pun – on my progress living the lush life without being a lush. 

In the meantime, I’d like to skip ahead and share some of my more general conclusions to date – For what it’s worth, I think I’ve already learned a bit and it won’t waste your time to read on. 

First, many of these products are expensive; in this writer’s opinion, some of them ridiculously so. Nevertheless, who is to say what value to put on a product? Who is to say what price to put on the tools that help us succeed? For those among us struggling with addiction and abstinence, whatever helps you regain your health is well worth it. And while I’m at it, positive energy coming your way – kudos to you for taking care of YOU!

Much of what we purchase and consume in this life is “nothing,” if you will. Diamonds are on the list. Coffee, fine fabrics, glassware, fine china, hair products and makeup. When I back away and examine the products that Hollywood, advertising agencies and the media have sold me, it’s staggering. Then again…who’s to say? 

If a fancy bottle, a fancy name, the act of ordering online, the act of selecting and placing your garnish, your stir stick, your cocktail napkin gets you through, over or around, then it’s worth it. 

If the ritual of pampering yourself gets you through, pull out the glassware. Get the fancy napkins.

But for those of you like me: forced to budget, I’ll be making lots of suggestions. There is a ton you can do inexpensively. You might start with infused water. You can go on Amazon right now and for less than $30 have a water dispenser with infuser, delivered probably by tomorrow! You buy it once and it’s yours forever – unlimited flavor possibilities, unlimited servings. 

Part of the solution may be re-envisioning our lives, our roles, our Friday and Saturday nights and the role of food and drink in our relaxing and celebrating – good luck with all this by bathing suit weather! Another part of the solution will take much longer. I, for one, do my part in small ways, to combat the stereotypes about women. And who, and what we should be.

I hope you’ll check back – In the meantime, if you have questions or need more information, I hope you’ll reach out to me. Let me know what you’re curious about, but don’t have time to research yourself – I’ll see what I can do. 

As always, thanks for reading. 


Seriously Quirky

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