Whether people choose to explore a sober lifestyle, try Dry January, or prefer to switch up that cocktail with a mocktail, Hilary Sheinbaum has some thoughtful commentary on why choosing not to imbibe is her preferred lifestyle. In partnership with CELSIUS, flavorful beverages are always in reach.
Food and beverage trends can influence people to change the beverages in the glass and the food on the plate. While that initial curiosity can cause people to take the first sip, it is the flavor, creativity, and community that often gets people to order time and again.
Recently, CELSIUS partnered with Hilary Sheinbaum, mocktail expert and author of The Dry Challenge, to offer some insight on choosing to swap beverages, Dry January and how cutting back on alcohol can change people’s lifestyle. Recently, Sheinbaum spoke to FoodSided and shared the following comments.
Cristine Struble: Dry January has become a collective movement. Do you think that the rise of flavorful, creative mocktails has helped to make this concept more agreeable to a broader audience?
Hilary Sheinbaum: Absolutely! When I started participating in Dry January 8 years ago -- in January 2017-- there were very few nonalcoholic cocktail options. Of those few in production, the good-tasting ones were hard to find. None were in grocery stores or bottle shops. Now, with a greater consumer interest in nonalcoholic cocktails and the popularity of energy drinks -- especially among Gen Z -- and the availability of CELSIUS, people are finding ways to create nonalcoholic cocktails with great tasting flavors. Consumers aren't settling for mediocre sips!
CS: What is the benefit of cutting back on alcoholic beverages? Do you think that people need to see, feel, or experience the concept to buy into it?
HS: There are so many benefits to abstaining from alcohol and/or cutting back on alcohol consumption. Perks include better skin, better sleep, improved digestion, financial savings, potential weight loss and so much more. These days, with so many people focused on health, wellness, and immunity, it's hard to ignore the negative effects of alcohol. With that said, I personally was a "see it to believe it" participant. I didn't know what to expect when I did my first Dry January. I imagined there might be some positive changes but had no idea the improvements would be so drastic. As someone who is a strong proponent of nonalcoholic beverages-- including NA wines, beers, spirits and cocktails --and has introduced friends and social media followers to a range of options, I know that people often don't realize how tasty the NA versions can be. There's often an "a-ha" moment after they try their first sip. So, people often need to experience these concepts to buy into it!
CS: Do you think that people are more willing to skip or cut back on alcohol when their inner circle is supportive of the idea? Is it important to have a supportive group when making these lifestyle changes?
HS: 100%! I always say there is strength in numbers and one of my top tips is to recruit a friend. Having people who support your goals makes things easier. Also when you have someone doing it with you, you can plan activities with them that don't involve alcohol, therefore eliminating the fear of missing out when you're trying to avoid boozy weekends or evenings. I just went to CityPickle, in Long Island City, New York, with a group of friends on a Friday night to play pickleball -- no alcohol included. We had the absolute best time. Additionally, you have someone who understands what you're going through if you need to vent. And you can celebrate successes together, as well.
CS: If people are looking to avoid imbibing during a particular time period, what do you suggest if they decide to have a drink? Whether it is after a particular month or a slip, what is your advice if they choose to have an occasional alcoholic beverage?
HS: If people decide to have a one-drink month, or a damp month (Damp January is trending right now), that's okay. The point of Dry January and other alcohol-free months isn't perfection. In fact, it's really important to be kind to yourself during these periods, as alcohol is everywhere -- it's part of celebrations like birthdays and weddings, it's part of grieving and loss, and it's even part of sporting events, dates and boredom. It's hard to avoid! So, with that, if someone has an alcoholic beverage during a dry month, start again the next day where you left off and finish the month strong. If people are choosing to drink on occasion, the question to ask is "why?" All of these dry periods and challenges are about evaluating your relationship with alcohol, and figuring out what makes you more inclined to drink, and what you are trying to achieve when you choose to imbibe.
CS: One of the keys with a great mocktail is that the beverage does not feel that it is "missing" or is a substitute for a "leaded" variety. What do you think makes a great mocktail? Do you have any recipe suggestions?
HS: A great mocktail is well-balanced, tasty, and feels sophisticated. It's made with premium ingredients, served in proper vessels -- no water cups here!-- and topped with a garnish if applicable. Mocktails, as you may have guessed, are mixed drinks and have more than one ingredient. This isn't the time to add soda water to fruit juice and call it a day, either! CELSIUS is a great ingredient for mocktails because it is flavorful, provides an effervescence, and has an energizing aspect. I also suggest using fruit juices, teas, nonalcoholic bitters and having fun with garnishes! Two of my current favorites are the Tropical Vibe CELSI-Rita and Oasis Vibe Prickly Pear Punch from CELSIUS.
For anyone looking for a refreshing, tropical inspired mocktail, the CELSIUS Tropical Vibe CELSI-Rita is a must try. Here’s how to make it.
1 cup Sparkling CELSIUS® Tropical Vibe
2 tsp pineapple Juice
2 tsp Vita Coco Coconut Water
Fresh lime for garnish
Fill one glass with ice, about halfway
Add CELSIUS® Tropical vibe
Add pineapple juice
Add Vita Coco Coconut Water
Stir until well combine and flavors are balanced throughout
Cut a lime into quarters and add a slice to the top
Take a sip and experience the flavors of a tropical paradise!
CS: Are there particular flavors or ingredients that work well in a mocktail? Is there any trick to shaking up a great beverage?
HS: It really depends on your taste and what you're looking to sip, but in general: I recommend looking up recipes to start, if you're looking to recreate a traditional cocktail. When I started learning how to make mocktails, I was shocked to see how many recipes called for lime juice -- which seems like a silly realization. I guess it was surprising because limes weren't something I thought about or cooked with on a regular basis. Balanced flavors are also important, which is something I love about the Tropical Vibe CELSI-Rita recipe. This offers the hydrating benefits of coconut water combined with refreshing notes of pineapple and starfruit with the added benefit of essential energy from CELSIUS Tropical Vibe. I also learned that beverages with citrus are shaken, while most others (without citrus) are stirred. Beverages with bubbles -- like NA sparkling wines or the CELSIUS mocktails I’ve shared today-- should not be put in a cocktail shaker. Fun fact: James Bond is wrong! Martinis --with or without alcohol-- should not be shaken. They are meant to be stirred.
CS: What is your go to mocktail? Do you have a favorite food pairing to serve with it?
HS: I make a lot of CELSIUS Oasis Vibe Prickly Pear Punch Mocktails, given that CELSIUS is always in my fridge, and order Italian food --pizza, eggplant parm, pasta-- and call it a day. For my last birthday, I had a White Lotus (Italia) themed party, so clearly I am manifesting an Italy trip soon!
Here’s how to make the Oasis Vibe Prickly Pear Punch Recipe
1 cup CELSIUS® Sparkling Oasis Vibe
2 Tbsp Prickly Pear Syrup
Fresh lime for garnish
Fill one glass with ice, about halfway
Add CELSIUS® Sparkling Oasis Vibe to the glass
Add in a dash of the Prickly Pear Syrup, roughly 2 tsp
Stir until well combined
Slice one lime into quarters
Add lime slice to mocktail for garnish, either with toothpick, along the rim, or right in the drink
Take a sip and taste the Oasis!
From the person who prefers to skip the alcohol all together or the one who will switch between beverages, these mocktails prove that the refreshing flavor does not require imbibing. Ready to toast to that sentiment?