In early sobriety I drank a ton of coffee. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I overdid it. Working at a coffee place didn't help, with its early hours and grueling rushes, but I definitely carried my coffee habit well after I quit that job. These days, I'm trying to reduce my caffeine. (Not eliminate it, but have a saner perspective when it comes to getting my energy from what I drink.) And having a signature drink is just as helpful and comforting now as it was when I was drinking. Actually, when I'm at a work function, or some kind of party with mostly drinkers, it's even more important to know what I'll be drinking. So here's a handy guide to cooking up a new signature drink now that you're living the sober lifestyle. And remember to sound off in the comments with ideas of your own!
This one is an old standby. Very few things are as comforting and camaraderie-inducing as a hot cup of the good stuff. Granted, it's easy to overdo it on the caffeine. And finding a decent cup isn't always easy at bars and restaurants. Plus, unless you drink it black, you may find yourself spiking and crashing on sugar, in addition to that caffeine rush. Still, if you're one of those drinkers who liked to geek out about the more esoteric qualities of wines and spirits, a coffee obsession may just fill that gap.
Much more calming than coffee, the possibilities with tea are practically limitless. Some of my sober friends have gone particularly far down this rabbit hole, even sourcing rare and weird teas from Asia. If you're looking to take your palette on a wild ride, tea may be your drink. If you're really serious, you can carry your own tea bags with you and just order hot water wherever you go. You also get to enjoy that most elusive of pleasures: tea time.
You won't find an impartial perspective on this stuff from me. In my experience, they all taste like carbonated cough medicine. Best avoided.
Access to quality juices with great ingredients is only on the rise in most parts of the country. These days, you can walk into any mall and get a sparkling concoction of energy- and health-boosting fruits and veggies. You will pay handsomely for it. Of all the drinks on this list, juices are the easiest way to spend that paycheck.
More forward-thinking bars will make you something delicious completely sans alcohol. This can be fun if you're at a particularly interesting place with top-flight mixologists and the crowd you're with wants to make a night of it. Some places will even make you something custom if you tell them your tastes. I'd say, when in Rome, give it a whirl!
So many people love this stuff that I wonder what I'm missing. It does pack some pretty remarkable hydrating effects. So if keeping your cells in top shape is your goal, consider working it into your routine. It can also be particularly effective after a workout.
Like many people living the sober lifestyle, I am a La Croix addict. I love it because it's free of caffeine and calories, and still provides decent hydration. The taste may be too "subtle" for some, but it's just right for me. And if sparkling water is your bag, you'll find plenty of options on the market at a variety of price points. Especially great when the weather heats up.
Nothing beats it and nothing ever will. In some places, a fancy bottle of water is even a cool-kid emblem of chic sober living.
Vincent Malouf is a design strategist and experience specialist by trade, but that doesn't stop him from nerding out about food, art, and culture. He holds degrees from Rice University and he currently works for Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. You can read more on his personal blog at vmalouf.com.