Let’s change the mocktail scene and not mete out the ostracised treatment it currently receives.
Recently a very ghastly incident brought me to look closely at myself: I happen to step in front of a mirror. And this wasn’t the kind of mirror at rich-folks’ gyms which makes you look slimmer unlike car wing mirrors that carry no such warning. What stared back at me was an old raging frame. I immediately felt the need to make amends. The tightening jeans and oddly fitting t-shirts which were making me look like the old uncles who hang out in Goa nightclubs had been more than the premonition that anybody deserves but the man in the mirror metaphor wasn’t at all lost on me.
First thing, get back to exercising. But weight loss doesn’t all happen in the gym, it starts in the kitchen. Okay, I can boast of achieving many an unachievable feat but going all vegetarian or carb-free is not a diet plan for me. The next thing on the list then contributing to all this jiggliness was one thing that also happens to be work for me—alcohol.
So it was decided, I will stop drinking socially till a certain sense of normalcy was restored. Tasting on the job, checking to see if a beer is fine or a pairing works is all okay but no two-sipping things. The pleasure would have to be separated from the professional.It has been 10 days that I have been, well, as sober as I will ever be. No, I don’t feel any different yet, my skin hasn’t started glowing, and if I had taken “before” picture when starting this regime, the “after” picture would only change on account of lighting, at best.
But I have come to notice a serious flaw in our F&B industry and it is this. Nobody puts effort into making non-alcoholic drinks. Just like the vegetarian and vegan section at a French bistro, 0% drinks are the passing glimpse of a momentous ponder that comes even way after the afterthought. Take a few fruits juices, stick them together in a glass, give it a name that’s most often a twist on the name of an existing cocktail, and voilà!
So much for cutting down calories, a pint of beer would ply me with lesser than some of the mocktails that have been offered to me at places. I totally get why they are called mocktails now. Not because they mock cocktails but like Mr T they mock the fool who thinks s/he can curb calories by switching from alcohol to alcohol-free. That said, the beer industry isn’t entirely incognisant of this reality. It’s a rising trend, first with millennials and now with the Gen-Z—they don’t drink! More and more youngsters are opting for the no-cal/no-sugar/no-high life (why?) and are very happy with it. From Budweiser to Heineken to even Coca-Cola (with Barbican) are venturing aggressively to capture this portion of the market. Internationally, brands like Seedlip and Stryyk are already popular with the partying set for churning out non-alcoholic distillates that aren’t syrupy sweet and show similar depth and complexity on a palate as an aged spirit. In fact, in my current avatar, I actively hunt out Seedlip as much as I can because it is a brilliant drink and doesn’t once feel like a square peg at a circle party.
With exercise and the right nutrition I will soon return to a state when the mirror needn’t be concave to reflect me thin. What this refrain is teaching me is to be mindful of my consumption pattern. I would never give up alcohol — it never gave up on me — but I will certainly take cognisance of how much I am partaking. And never ever fellas will I, as should you not too, get behind the wheel in a state when you aren’t fit to be there. So hotels, bars, and restaurants, the safety and shapeliness of many of us rests in your capable hands. Let’s change the mocktail scene and not mete out the ostracised treatment it currently receives.
The writer is a sommelier