Photography by Maya Fuhr, courtesy of Barbet

Cottage Season Has Arrived — Here Are Tips for Cutting Down On Drinking

Whether you're going for a "damp lifestyle" or attempting to go sober for a bit, Canada's alcohol consumption guidelines mean it might be time to pick up a mocktail.

It’s no secret that alcohol consumption can have negative effects on our health, including an increased risk of cancer and heart disease, and we’ve all heard the saying “everything in moderation.” But have you ever wondered just how much is considered “moderation” when it comes to cocktails? Well, as even the most casual of drinkers surely knows, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) addressed this by updating their guidelines for alcohol consumption early this year and according to this update, no amount of alcohol is safe.

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That said, if you *must* imbibe, the CCSA recommends no more than two drinks a week and cautions that consuming three to six drinks a week can increase the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer. In addition, having more than seven drinks per week increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, with the risk increasing with each additional drink. Dark.

Now that patios are in full swing and cottage season is about to kick off, what do these stringent guidelines mean for your hot girl summer? Or more specifically, if you like to enjoy a drink or two, how can you cut down on booze and still socialize at your leisure? One practical place to start is opening your mind (and palate) to non-alcoholic alternatives to your go-to Aperol Spritz, like elevated flavoured soda waters and mocktails.


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FASHION spoke to Andrea Grand, co-founder of sparkling beverage brand Barbet, about how drinking habits may change in the wake of the rigid CCSA guidelines and increased awareness around the health risks of alcohol. “It creates more opportunities! We’re still a baby brand, but even in our short [time] of being around, we’ve seen a shift in the conversation around beverage menus at restaurants and the need for diverse and different products,” she says. Here, Grand shares her top tips for navigating the social scene this summer, whether you’re trying a “damp lifestyle” or going entirely booze-free. Grab a mocktail and read on.

You don’t have to take an “all or nothing” approach

Missed the opportunity the try Dry January earlier this year and want to attempt to go sober for a period of time? Do what feels right for you — dry, damp, or anything in between,” Grand says. “These are opportunities to break the rituals or habits you’re in, make small changes and reassess how things are going. It’s about making choices that are right for you,” she says of deciding how much to cut down on drinking, and for how long. “It’s like the book Choose Your Own Adventure.” 

Get out of the house

“Don’t hermit — get out and about! There are so many fun things to do that aren’t centred around alcohol,” Grand tells FASHION, adding that a damp lifestyle (a.k.a. one where you drink sometimes and not others) is about balance. “Next time you need to grab a drink with friends, you can always opt for a mocktail or non-alcoholic sparkling water instead. It’s the same experience, but without the consequences.”

Photography by Maya Fuhr, courtesy of Barbet

It’s not your responsibility to explain why you’re not drinking

“The main thing is to own it!” says Grand. “It is no one’s business if you are or aren’t drinking.” Grand adds that it’s a priority of Barbet’s to “start getting people to focus on what’s in a person’s can or cup, not what isn’t.”

Entertaining? Level up your non-booze options

Grand says that a surefire way to make guests feel more comfortable when they aren’t drinking is to offer elevated cocktail alternatives. “We don’t mean offering up a pop/soda you would sip on when you were sitting at the kid’s table or a margarita but with no tequila. We mean options that are just as flavourful, bold, playful, appetizing and high-quality as their alcohol counterparts.”

Now, try a tasty mocktail recipe:

Barbet x Seedlip “Grove Waves” 

3oz Barbet Light Wave

1.5oz Seedlip Grove 42

0.5oz Mango Mint Cordial

0.75oz Fresh-pressed lemon

Dehydrated lemon garnish