True story: We’re super impressed by and supportive of folks who’ve decided to reassess their relationship with alcohol. Whether that means deciding to drink less, exploring the world of non-alcoholic spirits and non-alcoholic wines or quitting cold turkey, these folks have our admiration.
But of all the people in the world to attempt Dry January—the New Year’s challenge of not drinking for the entire month of January—the staffers here at Wine Enthusiast are probably not the most likely to succeed. Look, we’re very enthusiastic about wine. It’s in our name!
For some of us, Dry January attempts were thwarted by especially irresistible sips. Others aimed for a “damp” January, for which the goal was to drink less, not abstain entirely. But some of us never even made an effort to try Dry January—because, well, we’ll explain.
Below, Wine Enthusiast staff confess the drinks that ruined their Dry January—or ensured that it never got off the ground in the first place. And as a special bonus? The drinks that Wine Enthusiast’s two lone successful Dry January participants plan to enjoy once their booze-free month is complete.
Red Wines from Sicily’s Mount Etna
“I prefer going the ‘Damp-uary’ route so I can stick to my resolution of exploring and tasting new (to me!) wine regions,” says Wine Express Marketing Manager Brittany Bittrich. “Right now, I find myself trying out more Sicilian Etna Rossos!”
Stonestreet 2011 Chardonnay Upper Barn
“My January has not been dry, but my winery tasting visits usually are, since I spit,” explains Senior Tasting Editor Jim Gordon. “I made an exception, though, for a beautifully aged Stonestreet 2011 Chardonnay Upper Barn that deserved the respect of being savored AND consumed.”
“I didn’t even try Dry January,” confesses Vice President of Content Dara Kapoor. Why not? “Because vodka martinis,” she deadpanned. Can’t argue with that.
We here at Wine Enthusiast do not discriminate when it comes to martinis, which is probably why two (!) different ones show up on this list. “Didn’t really attempt a dry Jan—I craved gin martinis,” says Tasting Director Anna-Christina Cabrales. “I gravitate towards spirits that are medicinal, herbaceous, vegetal and/or bitter. When I visited Montreal in November I tasted a number of small-production artisanal gins and continued down that rabbit hole. Immediate, complex layers without a ton of nonsense. It got the job done quickly.”
Spindrift Spiked Spiced Apple Cider Sparking Water
“January is always a time I try to go out less, save some money and recharge after a busy season, but Dry January in its entirety never quite works for me,” says Senior Digital Editor Arielle Weg. “While I spend more time catching up on TV, something I always look forward to at night is cracking open a hard cider. I love trying different variations of the seasonal drink.” A particular favorite? Spindrift Spiked Spiced Apple Cider Sparking Water.
A Rich Syrah
“I’ve been dry all January and nearing the end!” proclaims Wine Enthusiast Commerce President Erika Strum. “But this weekend is the Wine Star Awards and I’m looking forward to our annual staff dinner the night before. That’s when I plan to break my streak with the first brooding, rich red that I lay my eyes on (as selected by our Tasting Department). I really miss the whole experience of stuffing my nose into a glass and just enjoying! I hope they bring some Syrah.”
Digital Web Producer Samantha Sette knows exactly what she’ll be drinking on February 1: the white sangria that tested her resolve mid-month. “I was with my brother at a local bar-and-grill to watch the NFL playoffs,” Sette recalls. “I’m not a beer girl, so the three rounds of pints weren’t enticing. But the seasonal house white Sangria? Tempting—especially when the Giants were down 0-28 to the Eagles.” Although it felt weird to sip away the loss with her ice water (“Extra lemon, of course”), Sette stuck to her guns. “If we’re keeping score, consider that an extra point for staying dry this January.”