Celebrate World Cocktail Day (Wednesday, 13 May 2020) with a healthier option
New research suggests Cocktail Hour has made a major comeback during lockdown, with 41% Scottish adults surveyed enjoying virtual drinks with friends.
The study by Bacardi suggests Mojito, Daiquiri and Margarita are Scotland’s favourite DIY drinks, with 7.15pm the time people are most likely to raise a glass. A new phrase – ‘Locktail Hour’ – has even been coined.
But the British Liver Trust is urging people to drink responsibly during the pandemic as its figures suggest a surge in home drinking.
It says in-store sales of alcohol have rocketed since lockdown began and that alcohol misuse increases a person’s risk of developing liver disease, which is the biggest killer of 35 to 49-year-olds in the UK.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics reveals that in-store sales of alcohol in March 2020 were 31% higher in terms of volume sales than in March 2019, following the closure of pubs and restaurants.
The British Liver Trust says alcohol consumption in the UK has increased over the past five decades, which has shifted from moderate strength beer sold in pubs to strong lager, cider, wine and spirits sold in supermarkets to be drunk at home.
Since lockdown begun at the end of March, the charity estimates that there has been a significant increase in at-home drinking as more people are staying at home. The World Health Organisation recently recommended that turning to alcohol to cope with lockdown is an ‘unhelpful coping strategy.’
Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy at the British Liver Trust, says: “We know this is an extremely stressful time for many of us in the UK but drinking too much alcohol is not the answer. Many of us drink alcohol to relax, especially when we’re feeling stressed or unhappy, but this habit can be counterproductive.
“Alcohol is the leading cause of liver disease in the UK and drinking more than the recommended amount significantly increases your risk of liver damage. Drinking too much alcohol can also have a negative effect on the quality of our sleep, on our mood and, of course, our physical health.
“This is a really important time to be looking after ourselves, both mentally and physically. There are lots of other, much healthier ways, to deal with stress, like taking exercise, having a relaxing bath or listening to your favourite music. Fostering healthier habits for stress management is a much better coping strategy for the long term.”
The British Liver Trust recommends that people drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week (the government guidelines) and have two to three consecutive alcohol-free days each week.
By drinking responsibly, it will also take pressure off the health service. Up to 70% of A&E attendances at weekends are related to alcohol – placing an additional burden on the NHS and health services, which are expected to be extremely busy over the coming months.
Vanessa says: “While it’s too early to say for sure whether alcohol-related hospital admission rates change during the virus outbreak, we can all play our part in helping the NHS by avoiding unnecessary alcohol-related A&E trips wherever possible.”
5 Healthy Alternatives
You’re One in a Melon
2x fresh cherries , 25ml water, 1/2 a lime, 1/4 of a teaspoon of The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan’s Watermelon Water Flavouring, ice cubes, sparkling water to serve, lime peel to serve, fresh watermelon slice (optional), crushed ice
Crush the fresh cherries into a cocktail shaker, add 25ml of still water and mix well. Squeeze the juice of half a lime into the mixture and stir. Add the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan’s Watermelon Water Flavouring. Add generous helping of ice cubes into mixture and shake
Add crushed ice into a mason jar glass, pour in mocktail mixture, top with sparkling water, serve with fresh lime peel and a fresh watermelon slice
Watermelon & Lime Cooler
Blitz together and serve with a sprig of lime
Recipe by Jo Harding, Modern Food Stories, for Coconut Merchant.
Rose & Grapefruit Spritz
15ml elderflower cordial, 30ml pink grapefruit juice, 75ml Eisberg Alcohol-Free Rosé, 100ml soda water, 15ml lemon juice
Pink grapefruit wedges
Squeeze the juice of a pink grapefruit and lemon into a mixing glass, along with elderflower cordial and Eisberg Alcohol-Free Rosé.
Shake well and strain into a Kilner jar and top with soda. Cut a grapefruit into small wedges and add a couple to the drink for garnish.
50ml Caleño , 3 Inca berries, 20ml Raw honey water
Collins or Hi-ball
Muddle berries, churn your ingredients with crushed ice and garnish with the golden Inca berry
50ml of CleanGin, 150ml of a light tonic lemon, fresh mint leaves to garnish
Mix ingredients together and serve in a highball glass with ice and garnish.