In my search for delicious non alcoholic alternative drinks, I've made a few discoveries. My tipple of choice was generally a good Gin and Tonic, so anything with tonic is going to be a good start. I've got some Gordons 0.0 Gin, which is really good, with a great bergamot flavour to it. It does have too much sweetness to it, and a slightly odd artificial aftertaste, but, I am acquiring the taste.
I was introduced to espresso tonic - literally tonic and ice with a shot of espresso - by the lovely James Hoffman who did one of his great videos on this delicious drink. In the video, James made his own tonic water to go with it, which I thought was taking things a bit far, but was nevertheless very interesting.
I've been enjoying espresso tonic very much, and making it with decaff coffee means I can enjoy it in the evening. I was always a great lover of an aperitif and a night cap.
My wife came up with a great idea too, and came home with some angostura bitters to add to the 0.0 gin & tonic - to take the edge off the sweetness. It was absolutely delicious.
Half way through the drink she went back and read the label - which I had not done - and we realised bitters is 44% proof. Now, the amount of bitters in this drink was 3 drops. So...I kinda just shrugged and carried on. Then I made myself another one, but I added more of the bitters "to see how it changed the taste".
...and there it was. I was knowingly adding alcohol to my drink, and convincing myself it was 'just to improve the flavour".
I was adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink to try and get it to taste more like an alcoholic drink.
And...worse still...deep inside, I was waiting to see if I could feel it.
I felt sick. Both with myself, and physically, my stomach actually turned. I didn't have that drink.
So how much is none? Today I am a month sober, apart from 3 drops of bitters. Does that count? I'm gonna say no, because I didn't have the second drink. It was a wake up call though. I've said I'm finding this easy, but actually, it's all still there, just under the surface. The greedy little creature that still thinks I need this stuff, still hides and craves inside.
It was a helpful realisation, and has warded off a growing complacency, but still, I'm not proud.