Everything in moderation – including London Cocktail Week!

London Cocktail Week, the world’s biggest cocktail festival, is coming up – but what if your friends are going and you’re a moderate drinker, or you tend to steer clear of short drinks with high alcohol content, or you’re a bit worried that you’ll get carried away and the whole event will just become an expensive blur? Well, with a little encouragement from us, this year DrinkUp.London has made one significant change to the schedule to ensure that everyone gets the maximum enjoyment from their digital passes and can savour every last drop of the cocktail-wizardry on offer…for the first time ever, they’ve introduced lower alcohol alternatives in over thirty of the venues taking part in the event.

These options will make it easier to indulge in numerous cocktails without the negative side effects that so many of us experience in a bar crawl-type scenario. After all, cocktails are about way more than just getting wasted. They are about the flavour, aesthetics, sparkle, class, art and even science. However, this is usually what makes their effect more unpredictable – all of that dazzle can distract from the fact that they often contain around 20% or 30% alcohol – meaning that you may well be fairly shit faced after two or three. Long cocktails around the 5% to 8% ABV mark are what we would call a ‘session-able’ drink, so they’re a fab choice for a longer session such as a bar crawl – whether you choose to drink them in between the shorter, stronger options or as an overall replacement for higher strength.

This is a fantastic step for the mindful drinking movement and it’s a bold move from DrinkUp.London – it continues to prove that there is a growing demand for low and no alcohol choices on a night out – people are far more aware of the health benefits of a moderate approach to drinking, which doesn’t lessen their desire to socialise and sip on a tasty tipple or two.

We’ll be checking out the low ABV options ourselves during London Cocktail Week – a truly selfless task we think you’ll agree – to feedback to you on how they taste, what our experience was like at each venue and how we felt by the end of the evening. You can check out the full list of venues and low alcohol options here – we’re especially looking forward to tasting Galvin Hops’ Lavender Bellini, Apple & Pears’ ‘Lemon Pie’, Hawksmoor Borough’s ‘Shandygaff’, Mahiki’s ‘Going loco down in Acapulco’ and Wolf Dalston’s ‘Chinotto Birra’.

Aside from switching to longer, lower-alcohol cocktails there are a few other actions you can take to help make the most of a night out – here are four simple tips from us to add a little moderation to your cocktail week:

1) Plan. Check out the venue listings and find the ones that offer lower-alcohol alternatives. Look up their locations, and plan your bar route accordingly.
2) Water! It’s the nectar of the gods when you wake up hungover at 5am, and it’s equally as magical on a night out. Use the walk between venues to hydrate yourself, or just have a glass before your cocktail at each bar. Staying hydrated will prevent you from downing your cocktails like a thirsty puppy, and it will also help your body dilute and process the alcohol more efficiently.
3) Food. Eating is not cheating! A full stomach doesn’t prevent the absorption of alcohol into your body but it does delay it, so if you’re drinking steadily, your blood alcohol level will remain lower. And if you’re drinking plenty of water as well, it will make sure you get steadily tipsy, instead of raging drunk within a couple of hours.
4) Ask. If you’re unsure of which cocktails are long, what makes them lower strength, or what they’ll taste like then just ask the bar person – they’re usually pretty helpful. Or try a friends’ drink before ordering your own. Don’t order something you don’t like the taste of – it’s just a waste of £6 and we tend to down drinks we don’t like much quicker.

If you’re completely alcohol-free and feeling a little left out – don’t be afraid to still go along with your friends, you just won’t need to purchase a pass. So, as above – do your research. Look at the list of venues, see if they’re on the Club Soda Guide and check out their menus to make sure they have non-alcoholic cocktail options available that you’ll enjoy.

Club Soda is the Mindful Drinking Movement, supporting you to achieve your goals, whether you want to cut down, stop for a bit, or go alcohol-free. We’ll be running our next Mindful Drinking Festival in Spitalfields on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November.