Vanessa Vakharia, founder and CEO of the Math Guru, shares her tips for enjoying Dry January and her alcohol-free home bar cart essentials.
What initially inspired you to reduce your alcohol consumption?
I realized that alcohol was doing more harm than good in my life. The cons definitely outweighed the pros and it was making my life worse, not better. It was simple math to me.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in yourself since cutting back on alcohol?
I don't ever have to plan around being hung-over or worried that my plans won't pan out because I won't feel well or I'll just be too drained or tired. Honestly, the number one thing is just being able to trust myself. I'm never worried that I'm going to say or do something out of character because I’m never under the influence of something that would make me do that.
What do you like about Sobrii?
We have such rituals around drinking and I really love those rituals. I love doing something special when I'm celebrating, or when I want to relax at night, or — I'm also in a band (Goodnight, Sunrise)— drinking before shows. I didn't want to necessarily get rid of the ritual surrounding making a really fancy beverage. I wanted to find a way to continue doing that.
A lot of times when you're looking for a non-alcoholic alternative, it’s just a bunch of juice mixed together. But I wanted something cool. I wanted to feel like a mixologist. I like that Sobrii is something special and different. I can pour it into a shot glass and then pour it into my drink as though I’m mixing in a shot of alcohol.
What’s your favourite cocktail to make with Sobrii?
I make dirty martinis with it, which is one of my favourite drinks. I also have a foamer that replicates the foam you would get from an egg white, so right now I’m obsessed with anything I can make in a coupe glass with foam. I’m really into using that to make sours with Sobrii.
What are some of your alcohol-free home bar cart essentials?
You can change the whole tone of a drink with bitters. I'm really into floral bitters, like lavender bitters or rose bitters. I also like spicy bitters like cardamom. I'm obsessed with garnishes, so I have dehydrated lemon and orange wedges and herbs like rosemary sprigs.
Recently, I’ve also gotten into drinking vinegars. In combination with Sobrii, you can just have soda water as your base and by using all of these other things, you can make something really cool.
What advice do you have for anyone who is participating in Dry January this year?
Something that really helps me is making a list of reasons why you feel like you need to drink because often it's a need, not a desire when it comes down to it. You'll say things like, ‘I need it in order to have fun when I go out’ or ‘I need it to hang out with certain people’ or ‘I needed to feel confident.’ I really implore people to look at that list and see how it makes them feel and see how many things on that list are unnecessary. For example, if you need alcohol to hang out with certain people, what if you just didn't hang out with those people?
I never set out to be sober. My philosophy when I give things up or experiment with giving things up is just to take things day by day and say, ‘I’m going to try not having a drink today.’ It takes the pressure off because saying, ‘I’m never drinking again’ can feel really daunting. And it can also feel like if you do have a drink that you’ve “ruined” something and there's no point anymore. Every day, just make the best decision for you on that day.