How to be a Mindful Drinker in Singapore
The sober curious movement encourages the reassessment of one’s relationship with alcohol. Experts in the bar scene weigh in on how you can achieve this
You've probably heard of the sober curious lifestyle, a movement that's been gaining traction for the past few years and encourages drinkers to re-examine their relationship with alcohol. Ben Branson, the founder and CEO of non-alcoholic spirits Seedlip, thinks it's because more and more people are aiming to live healthier lifestyles. In fact, before he launched the world's first non-distilled spirits in 2015, he already noticed a paradigm shift in people's attitudes who are more aware of what they eat and drink. "Millenials are more health-conscious and are drinking less alcohol than past generations, but are willing to spend more to drink better," shares Branson.
And while they're looking for ways to reduce alcohol consumption, Mark Livings, co-founder of another non-alcoholic spirits brand Lyre's, believes they shouldn't have to compromise their choices. He adds: "I love a drink but I’ve learned it’s the flavours that I love the most... If I can enjoy that taste without alcohol, then I can have the best of both worlds."
It's possible. So, experts in the field (bartenders and sommeliers included) share five ways to be a mindful drinker without really "giving up" your favourite tipples.
Opt for no-alcohol cocktails
As more people become health‑conscious, Mo Bar assistant manager Adrian Besa and his team consider it important to offer non‑alcoholic versions of its signature tipples. Its Silk Market cocktail, for example, is typically made with mandarin orange cordial, corn silk tea and fermented honey using champagne yeast, but has its alcohol content extracted using a rotary evaporator device, which removes solvents from the samples. Now, you can still enjoy the thirst-quenching cocktail without getting a hangover.
Use a different base
To enjoy zero-proof cocktails without sacrificing on taste, use Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits as your base. Co‑founder Mark Livings explains, “We have made Lyre’s to capture the taste, aroma and mouthfeel of traditional spirits, so our range is designed primarily for people who enjoy the traditional alcoholic versions.” Its selection of spirits, ranging from absinthe to aperitif rosso, wasn’t created through the traditional distillation process but by blending different essences and extracts to capture the authentic taste and style of the drink.
Take a break
“Everything should be enjoyed in moderation... even alcohol,” stresses Atlas Bar head bartender Jesse Vida. He suggests taking time off from drinking, which is why he has expanded the bar’s no-alcohol cocktail selection and even added healthier alternatives like kombucha to the menu. The next time you hanker for the signature Atlas Martini, why not go for Summer in Paris instead? It’s an invigorating blend of chardonnay grape juice, lemon berry tea and East Imperial Old World Tonic.
Mix your own
The world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip made its debut in 2015. With that, teetotallers can now cap off the work from home week with cocktails—minus the alcohol. Founder and CEO Ben Branson recommends the Garden & Tonic, a simple concoction of Seedlip Garden 108 boasting light and herbal flavours and premium tonic garnished with sugar snap pea. Serve it with ice to end a long day on a refreshing note.
(Related: Happy Hour With... Ben Branson of Seedlip)
Choose wines wisely
While the wine industry lags behind the spirits world when it comes to the sober curious trend, it is slowly catching up as winemakers are offering reduced‑alcohol varieties (less than 12 per cent alcohol by volume). For mindful wine drinkers, Anthony Charmetant, co-owner of gastro wine bar Ma Cuisine, recommends the Niepoort 2015 VV Vinhas Velhas Bical-Maria Gomes White (Bairrada). The vintage is just as delicious and flavourful as bottles with full strength (alcohol content typically ranges between 14.5 and 16 per cent) but contains merely 11.5 per cent alcohol.