• Sarah Curtis

The English Spirit Guide to Dry January

Updated: Jan 17

Are you #dryjanuary or #ginuary? I’m happiest when I’m somewhere in between.


Dry January originated in the UK in 2013 by a charity promoting the health benefits of reducing alcohol intake for the month of January. It was stated that most people will drink and eat more excessively in December so January was a good month to kick start this campaign. (Note the focus was reducing, not stopping completely!)


This month long test of will power became an international phenomenon through social media channels picking up on the hashtag #dryjanuary. Some clever spark then came up with the hashtag #GINuary and then the fight began as to who could win our attention. Those that wanted to entice us with cleverly made alcohol free botanical drinks (some of which are quite pricey) or companies that wanted us to keep our drinking habits as they were in December.

A popular attitude toward Dry January

I feel sorry for the poor people that have birthdays in January. As children they had an intense influx of presents and then had to wait all year for any more. Then they get to adulthood and can’t help but feel a bit disappointed when you say you can’t come out because you’re participating in dry January and you might be tempted! There’ll also be friends and family you didn’t get to see during December and even Christmas work lunches that just didn’t happen because everyone was so busy. Don’t miss out on these opportunities, just do some research and make some more moderate choices. It’s so easy to do now with more variety out there than ever before.


January has traditionally been a month to ‘take stock’ of our lifestyles with more diets, gym membership offers and stop smoking campaigns. All of which I am absolutely behind. We do need to get healthier. However, if like me you feel bombarded by all the different advice on what to eat, drink and how much exercise to take let us remember the fundamental rule that all experts will agree on. “Everything in moderation”. Resolutions to give up something completely can result in ‘crashing out’ more spectacularly than perhaps just being more moderate in the first place.


I’m not an expert, I’m a consumer like you. I just happen to work for the best distillery in the world so it’s easy to know I’m not going to compromise on taste. If you do want to review your alcohol consumption without going ‘cold turkey’ here are three drinks ideas that still feel grown up but reduce your alcohol intake by almost half when compared to a regular gin and tonic or rum and soda.


Limongino, 22% ABV

This zesty, fresh gin based liqueur is great when served as a long drink with a traditional cloudy lemonade, ice and fresh mint. You will get the botanicals of our Dr J’s Gin, and yet it is far lower in alcohol content. More details here.



Strawberry Vodka Liqueur, 22% ABV

One of our luxury limited editions. Fresh Kentish strawberries are distilled with our scratch distilled vodka. Mix 50/50 with a chilled tonic of your choice again for a lower alcohol version of vodka and tonic. This also has the bonus of feeling like summer in a glass which it’s what you need when there’s grey January skies outside. More details here.




Toffee Vodka Liqueur, 25% ABV

Every year more and more people discover our Old Fashioned English Toffee Vodka Liqueur and they never drink anything else after that. Just a small glass over ice is enough over ice. Cream soda also makes for a wonderful creamy smooth long drink. You could pop a splash into some coffee, however if you are trying to reduce your caffeine as well then this might not be an option! More details here.



If you have enough will power not to be tempted by those delicious options, then we salute you but we look forward to welcoming you back in February.


Don’t forget January and the new year is also a time to consider trying new things. If you’ve only ever stuck to one brand of gin then try our Dr J’s Gin, you’ll be pleased you did. Alternatively try something completely different like our English Sambuca or English Spiced Rum.


Also let’s make 2020 the year you find out where your products come from, how they’re made and how good it feels to support a UK business. You are welcome to book in for a distillery tour. We’re in a beautiful Grade II listed barn setting in rural Essex with a wonderful tasting barn for your tasting session.


Now, shall I go to the pub or the gym?


Sarah is an English Spirit Ambassador and Distillery Tour Guide, based near Great Yeldham in Essex.

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Great Yeldham Hall

Essex, CO9 4PT

Tel. 01787 237896

Treguddick Manor

Cornwall, PL15 7JN

Tel. 01566 788310

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© 2020 JW Distillers Ltd

Registered in England No. 09414942, VAT Number 206752614

Registered Office: Great Yeldham Hall, Church Road, Great Yeldham, Halstead, Essex, CO9 4PT

Please drink responsibly.