This article is sponsored by Better Than Booze. To enjoy 20% off their award-winning alcohol-alternative mocktails – with an exclusive code for StyleBlueprint readers, visit drinkbettertoday.com and use code SB20.
Summer is jam-packed with celebrations and outdoor gatherings, and while it’s certainly a season filled with fun, three months of non-stop socializing may leave you feeling ready for a reset. Whether you’re trying to switch gears as you soak up those last days at the pool or are simply interested in taking a breather before it’s time to warm up in the hot tub, rotating alcohol out of the mix can give you the extra boost you need heading into cooler weather.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to alcohol that make winding down from a scorching summer of fun feel like less of a chore. If you’ve been sober-curious and want to take a break before the holidays (without missing tailgate season), let’s look at how saying no to booze can positively impact your life long after Labor Day.
You’ll sleep better.
Have you noticed your sleep cycle getting disrupted after a couple of drinks? While the initial effects of alcohol may make you feel relaxed and even sleepy, the fact is that the more your drink, the worse your sleep is likely to be.
“I noticed I was really dragging while getting my son up and ready for daycare,” says Drea Groeschel, CEO and co-founder of Better Than Booze. “Eliminating or cutting back on alcohol makes those early morning wake-up calls a lot easier.”
So, why do a few glasses of wine after a long day lead to restless nights? Studies have shown that one of the primary causes of poor sleep after a night of drinking is the disruption of sleep homeostasis, which is how your body regulates its need for sleep. This can lead to both increased insomnia and daytime sleepiness, which is why many of us wake up feeling groggy and not well-rested after a night out. A good night’s sleep is essential for our health, as this is when our body heals and rejuvenates itself.
You’ll experience better organ health.
One of the first side effects that might come to mind when you think about drinking alcohol is its effect on organs, especially the liver. We’ve got good news and bad news on that front. The good news: The liver is the only organ with self-healing properties. The bad news: Alcohol diminishes the liver’s self-healing abilities.
This means that when you cut out alcohol, the liver can start healing itself and can show signs of massive recovery in mere weeks. Not only does this decrease fat around the liver — which minimizes your risk of fatty liver disease — but existing healthy cells are also enlarged, and new cells are formed to replace those damaged through alcohol consumption.
In addition to improved liver health, cutting out (or cutting back on) alcohol can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because alcohol is typically metabolized in the liver by an enzyme called dehydrogenase. Excessive drinking harms dehydrogenase, so alcohol must be metabolized by a different enzyme. When this happens, free radicals are produced, leading to oxidized “bad cholesterol” called LDL — the kind that can block your carotid arteries.
“Once I started down the path of developing Better Than Booze, and I learned about the true lifelong impact of alcohol on the body, reducing my intake and helping others do the same was a no-brainer,” says Drea.
You’ll even think better.
When you cut back on alcohol consumption, your brain enjoys a myriad of benefits. Not only will the brain itself become stronger and healthier, but your chemical levels are likely to balance out as well, which often leads to improved overall mental health.
When you reduce drinking, your frontal lobe experiences these benefits first-hand. This portion of the brain is responsible for important actions like reasoning, behavior control, memory, and motor function. When you stop drinking, new cells will form in the frontal lobe, leading to improved memory and decision-making.
Alcohol is also a known depressant, as it slows down the part of your brain that is responsible for cognitive functions. When you drink less, you’re likely to experience increased serotonin as well as balanced levels of dopamine. Both of these are compounds in our bodies that are responsible for feelings of happiness, joy, and satisfaction. Therefore, when you drink less, it’s reasonable to expect an improved sense of general emotional well-being.
How to drink better.
Once you’re sold on the physical and mental benefits of cutting back, you may still worry that you’ll miss out on those last days of sunny weather or sacred rites of autumn like campfire hangs, college game days, or a comforting glass of red wine on a crisp night. But worry not. These days, the market is flush with alcohol-free options that help satisfy those situational cravings. After trying countless options, we’ve identified a standout favorite.
Better Than Booze is a Nashville-based company making it seriously easy to cut back on alcohol. Their line of 20-time award-winning alcohol-alternative mocktails gives you something delicious to sip without any of the aforementioned effects of alcohol. If you’re still interested in a light buzz, they also offer a unique, hangover-free CBD and THC infusion, too.
Available in three distinct flavors — Rosemary-infused Grapefruit Paloma, Mint Mojito with Lime, and Elderberry-infused Gin and Tonic — Better Than Booze mocktails taste just like the traditional cocktails they’re modeled after.
The Rosemary-infused Grapefruit Paloma is a vibrant and tangy drink with a delicious and refreshing rosemary finish, while the Elderberry-infused Gin and Tonic features dark fruit notes alongside a subtle botanic profile. The Mint Mojito with Lime is another favorite, offering a delightful fusion of lime and mint that classic Mojitos are known for. Better Than Booze also has plans to release new flavors in the near future!
“We are all about flavor, which is a big differentiator in the non-alcoholic category,” adds Drea. “We wanted this to be straight-up delicious and yummy, so you feel like you’re experiencing something special … If you love Mojitos or Palomas, we want to give you that craft cocktail experience without the alcohol.”
Because Better Than Booze is all about creating more beverage options for people, they recently released a line of fully sober versions of their mocktails. These beverages include similar flavors as the original line, but they don’t incorporate the CBD element. Flavors include a Rosemary Grapefruit Paloma, Mint Mojito with Lime, and Elderberry Gin and Tonic.
Stay stocked and ready.
“It’s important to provide variety. With the ‘semi-sober’ trend right now, a lot of people are experimenting with how to approach this category of beverage,” adds Drea. “They’re experimenting on what their friends are going to like because a lot of us haven’t had the chance or opportunity to try a lot of non-alcoholic beverages.”
While the term “sober” may have negative connotations for some, more and more folks are identifying as “semi-sober” and “sober curious,” which simply indicates a more mindful approach to alcohol consumption — whether that means cutting back or completely cutting it out.
It’s important to note that just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean you have to miss out! It’s super easy to keep your parties inclusive and fun for everyone — including you — with just a few simple tweaks.
Stock your bar as you normally would with seasonal beer, wine, and cocktail ingredients, but be sure to also include plenty of sparkling water, soda, and a cooler or galvanized tub with plenty of pre-mixed canned mocktails on ice. Drea encourages people to get creative and have fun with mocktails by adding bitters, lime wedges, and a selection of unique glasses to elevate your experience. “For garnishes, I put out a small bowl of lime wedges,” she says. “Everybody loves to grab a lime wedge. Whether drinking a beer or a non-alcoholic drink, lime’s the go-to. Grab a lime, give it a spritz, and throw it in. It just makes everything brighter.”
But, Better Than Booze is just as delicious straight from the can, making it ideal for easy entertaining or for on-the-go, chillier-weather gatherings like hiking, hayrides, and — of course — supporting your favorite sports team. No matter how you choose to serve or drink it, you’re guaranteed an elevated experience.
This article is sponsored by Better Than Booze. To enjoy 20% off their award-winning alcohol-alternative mocktails, with an exclusive offer for StyleBlueprint readers, visit drinkbettertoday.com and use code SB20.