Ah, gin. I’ve never been much of a gin-lover. In fact, I always hated gin. The first time I tried it was in a club in Liverpool (Planet X, to be specific) and I thought it smelt like paraffin. I’m not sure if I thought it also tasted like paraffin as I don’t remember getting as far as tasting it. Anyway, apart from it smelling like paraffin and therefore probably tasting like it too, I always thought gin was solely for drinking in scalding-hot baths in an effort to bring on a miscarriage to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy and not actually for, you know, drinking.
I never knew fresh apricots were extinct. I wanted to make the apricot appetiser mocktail from The Virgin Cocktail Garden as it looked simple, with just a few ingredients easily found in the shops. Or so I thought. Could I find fresh apricots? Could I bollocks. I looked online at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons but I could only find dried and I’d been sure fresh apricots were as easy to find as apples. Google suggested I use peaches or nectarines in place of apricots and so, because I dislike the fuzziness of peaches, I bought nectarines instead. (I have since investigated and found out apricots are in season in the UK from May to September so I’m going to look for them then, even if I don’t want any. It’s become a matter of principle.)
Back in my alcohol-free beer review last April, I said I thought spinach would be better for a broken foot than alcohol (I know, I obviously have untapped potential as a doctor and should have gone to medical school) and so I was currently living an alcohol-free life. Well, guess what? I still am – almost six months later – and, according to my drinking app, that’s 120 bottles of wine I haven’t had, £755 saved and 73,100 calories not consumed in alcohol. Although a broken foot, coupled with being fed up with drinking anyway was the catalyst for my new-found sobriety, it’s also been massively helped by drinking alcohol-free or low-alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV) wine, beer and cider. As evidenced by mutterings on Facebook groups, a lot of people don’t agree with those who want to cut down on their alcohol intake by drinking alcohol-free beers, ciders and spirits instead but, frankly, they can piss off.
As I mentioned before, in an effort to try and minimise any weight gain and hopefully accelerate the healing process while I’m housebound with a gammy leg and can’t exercise, I’m off the alcohol (40 days so far, go me!) Although come the weekend the wine has been calling me from the little Tesco down the road, despite me being able to limp down there, I’ve ignored it and stuck to water. I got bored quickly with water though and started making my own drinks – I made lemon barley water, dandelion and burdock soda, lemon, ginger and mint lemonade, and ginger lemonade. I even bought swing-top glass bottles to store the drinks in. Despite these drinks being refreshing, tasty and healthy, they weren’t really doing it for me on a Saturday night so, when Wise Bartender offered to send me some alcohol-free drinks, I thought I’d give them a go.
Cider’s had a varied reputation over the years. For me, it was the first alcoholic drink I started drinking regularly (42p a half down The George in Wanstead in 1985 when I was 15 [ssh, don’t tell my mum]). After my early years of drinking sweet Woodpecker underage in the pub, I progressed onto what I thought were more sophisticated dry ciders such as Diamond White and Merrydown (okay, I only drank Merrydown to get hammered, like everyone else, but Diamond White and Merrydown came in glass bottles and not tins, so I thought they were posh). But apart from cider being the tipple of teenagers, other images conjured up by cider drinkers are: