What is mindful drinking, the mindful drinking movement and why is it ever increasing? While deep in discussion with friends, my peers and industry colleagues, as well as from my own previous research, and utilising the practice of the concept in menus and bars, the following answer formed.
In a world of millennials, a word that some people find to be a dirty one, but in this world indeed, self-awareness from a younger age has meant that people are making more conscious decisions about what they drink. Modern youth are so in tuned to their bodies that from very early on in their lives they are already thinking about health and careers, and how perception of what one does has ramifications!
With the younger generation turning its back on heavy drinking, mindful drinking, comes as a modern-day temperance movement, and it’s becoming increasingly fashionable among millennials who are looking to moderate their alcohol intake, by either drinking less, choosing tipples with lower ABV or even embracing periods of sobriety, Dry January being the most recognised period for this!
Mindful drinking as an idea has several paths of undertaking and can now be considered to be made up of many other parts and not just about drinking in moderation.
The oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as being “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something, a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”.
So along with the purest foundations of mindful drinking, the three other off shoots to be discussed from what researchers have shown and from what I’veencountered myself are…
Drinking less but better quality
People are spending more on better quality spirits, liqueurs and beers, but they are drinking less. This can be put down to simply a financial decision but trends are showing that the conscious decision is to enjoy fewer but better tasting, better quality and more interesting tasting drinks.
This could explain the increase in market share for gins and whiskies, which over the last three years have exploded in terms of popularity, over taking the old Goliath that was vodka! Proving the more considered consumer wants more flavour, more bang for their buck, if you will, and not just high ABV.
Low-ABV drinks have been steadily on the rise, the infamous Aperol Spritz was one of the first low ABV full flavoured drinks that opened people to different tastes.
Globally, the trend of lower ABV drinks has become massively popular, and the movement has spurred numerous low ABV cocktail books and many of the spirit and liqueur companies embracing the thought that all consumers deserve great drinks and cocktails and they don’t have to over-indulge to get them!
Tailoring drinks strategies to fall in line with low ABV simple serve and cocktail approach is just good business, and the considered approach doesn’t mean alienating any consumers. Vermouth, bitters and port producers are embracing this trend and marketing vermouth and tonic and white port and tonic, which are drinks with full flavour, but that have low ABV, and are still as interesting on the palate as modern G&T’s.
There are now more full flavour options rather than juice heavy concoctions, and they’re also being served in more interesting glasses with bespoke botanical garnishes, which is also another key factor in gins ever increasing popularity, and again, the Aperol Spritz being the modern low ABV poster child. Essentially, it’s about creating and enjoying full-bodied drinks without the hangover.
Along with lower ABV, a massive trend that is a big part of the mindful movement is that the inhabitants of our modern world are more health-conscious than ever before. Our self-aware selves are watching not only how much alcohol they (and others) consume, but a drink’s sugar content, how strong it is and what it’s made with, not only when talking about mixed drinks and cocktails but with the spirits and liqueurs, wines and beers that are on offer.
Organic food consumption is higher than ever, with health professionals recommending increases in fruit and vegetable intake and lower meat consumption. Gluten Free spirits and liqueurs are in greater demand, and beloved cocktails have had the same treatment with trends returning to ways of drinking and utilisation of ingredients that are more in tune with the natural rhythms of the planet.
A lot of bars in Ireland and globally have started to embrace this move to fresh squeezed juices and ingredients that have softer carbon footprints, upcycling and recycling. Also, there’s a growing use of alternative natural sweeteners, different flavour modifiers, vermouths, bitters, etc., which are also allowing wider ranges in the offerings with bitter and herbal variants even getting more of a look in than their sweeter counterparts!
To summarise, mindful drinking is based on heightened awareness and more sophisticated taste requirements, with more and more direction being taken from a health stand point. And in my opinion, it’s a super interesting time for the bars, their tenders and their customers as the mindful movement, even while not being embraced by everyone, is setting new challenges and a need for creative solutions to meet the changing tastes requirements of simple serves and cocktails.
The ever-increasing mindful masses and the knock-on effect is that the whole offering of venues will be improved and their games will be raised!
– 25 ml soda
– 50 ml Aperol
– 75 ml Prosecco
– Garnish with orange slices
Method: In a large wine glass over ice add the ingredients and garnish.
WHITE PORT & TONIC
60 ml Warres white port
100 ml Good Indian style tonic water
Garnish with Grapefruit and lemon slices
Method: In a large gin balloon or wine glass over ice add the Port, the tonic and garnish.
ROSE VERMOUTH & TONIC
– 60 ml Belsazar rose vermouth
– 100 ml Good Indian style tonic water
– Garnish with lemon, berries and fresh mint.
Method: In a large gin balloon or wine glass over ice add the vermouth and tonic and garnish.
– 50 ml Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila (or equally good quality silver tequila)
– 25 ml Fresh squeezed lime juice
– 20 ml fresh squeezed Orange juice
– 5 ml light Agave syrup
Method: Add all ingredients to shaker with ice and hard shake and strain, alternatively build ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with fresh lime or dehydrated lime, serve with or without salt rim depending on your constitution.
Darren Geraghty, is the Bar Manager and cocktail specialist for Candlelight Bar @ Siam Thai Dundrum and Malahide and well-respected consultant, started his career in 2000 and has represented Ireland on the world cocktail stage and won numerous Irish titles.
At Candlelight Bar, he has built the brand and bar team, focusing on of high quality but reasonably priced drinks, excellent customer service and a distinctive splash of speakeasy styled flair and theatre. The award winning Candlelight Bar has secured two for the Irish Craft Cocktail Bar Awards Best in Leinster 2016 and 2017, RAI Best Cocktail Experience and Sky Bar Awards Best Restaurant Bar 2017.