Whether related to the long association of healthier habits and new year’s resolutions or not, Dry January has become ingrained in the culture in recent years. Some 20% of US adults said they were participating last year according to a Morning Consult survey, which was a 7% increase over 2021. But if the thought of abstaining from alcohol entirely for the month of January gives you pause, you’re not alone — even among Dry January participants.
According to the same dataset, nearly half of those who said they were taking part in Dry January — 48% — still planned on drinking some alcohol in January, just less than usual. These folks are part of a separate but related growing trend that the zeitgeist has dubbed “Damp January.” Essentially, Damp January is simply a toned-down version of Dry January. Instead of giving up alcohol completely for the 31 days of the first month of the year like in Dry January, Damp January participants aim to consume less alcohol than usual. They can do this by simply drinking less often or by swapping out their usual beverage of choice for a lower-ABV option.
Since Damp January is intended to be a healthier alternative to drinking booze like Dry January, these lower-alcohol beverage options also often incorporate some healthier ingredients and stats — like probiotic-packed kombucha, organic sweeteners and low calorie counts — that you wouldn’t necessarily find in typical beers and cocktails.
So if Dry January feels like too much of a leap for you (or if you’ve already tried it and fallen off the wagon), then maybe you’re better suited to Damp January. Here are a few low-ABV drinks to get you started.
Goose Island So-Lo IPA
- ABV: 3%
- Calories: 98
If you miss IPAs and alcohol-free beers aren't filling the void, then give Goose Island's So-Lo a try. At just 3% ABV, it clocks in at less than half of what you'll find in most IPAs, and it's also a low-calorie beer at just 98 per can. Don't take the lack of booze and calories for a lack of flavor, though, as this robust, bitter and citrusy brew is made with three different types of hops.
Kombucha Cocktails Mindful Mule
- ABV: 4.7%
- Calories: 50
A typical Moscow mule cocktail consists of vodka and lime juice mixed up with sugary, calorie-packed ginger beer. RTD canned options exist on the market with anywhere from 7-13% ABV, with a fresh mixed version likely falling somewhere in between. To make the drink healthier, Kombucha Cocktails version swaps out the soda for probiotic-rich effervescent kombucha and real ginger, and rounds things out with vodka, lime juice and natural flavors. The result is a 4.7% ABV canned cocktail that's a borderline health food.
Zuzu Calamansi Lime
- ABV: 5%
- Calories: 90
One of the most classic cocktails out there, a margarita is about as unhealthy and boozy as it is delicious, consisting of 40% ABV tequila, 40% ABV Cointreau, fresh lime juice and, if you're feeling decadent, sweet agave syrup. Toning down the alcohol massively is Zuzu, which bottles a refreshing 5% ABV twist on the margarita that will make your Damp January feel like Damp June. It's made with sparkling water, 100% agave spirit (basically tequila not made in Tequila, Mexico), salt, organic agave syrup and juice from calamansi limes — a sweeter variety of the sour fruit.