Connect with us
[the_ad id="89560"] [the_ad id="89560"]

Health

Non-drinkers pushing bars for better non-alcoholic cocktails

Published

on

If you like this, share it!




  • For years, Carolyn Rebeyka has met friends at the same Regina bar every Friday afternoon for drinks. Sometimes they’d be celebrating a birthday or triumph at work, other times it was just to catch up.

    Then, about three years ago, her doctor put her on medication and suggested she avoid drinking to better monitor her body’s reaction to the drug.

    “It wasn’t permanent, but I actually kind of liked not drinking,” Rebeyka said, adding she was never a heavy drinker, but enjoyed not feeling the effects of alcohol.

    “Even if you had a few drinks, you could still feel the difference the next morning,” she added. “It’s not that you’re hungover, but you can tell the difference.”

    Now Rebeyka rarely drinks, but going to bars and restaurants is still a big part of her social life.

    Like many others who have decided to cut back on drinking, Rebeyka has found there are often few interesting drink options that don’t include booze. Many of the traditional options are uninspired (juice, sparkling water) or overly sweet (Shirley Temples, virgin daiquiris).

    “The options for alcohol, those are almost unlimited,” she said. “It seems like bars don’t want to be as creative when they’re serving their non-drinkers.”

    It’s not completely commonplace yet, but there is a growing push from some establishments to offer more interesting and complex non-alcoholic drink options.

    Kate Boushel, a bartender at Montreal’s Atwater Cocktail Club, said customers come in asking for non-alcoholic drinks “every night” and she enjoys making them since it allows for creativity on her part.

    “I’ve had fun and made cocktails that look exactly like other cocktails on my menu, just instead of alcohol, I’ve replaced it with low-sugar fruit juice,” she said.

    “I’ll do apple juice with a touch of carrot and maybe some thyme syrup, with a little bit of our house tonic,” she added. “That will be refreshing, light, but it will still be more complex than, let’s say, a virgin mojito.”

    People ordering non-alcoholic drinks often don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they aren’t drinking, and in some cases, they’ll actually request Boushel’s help in not blowing their cover.

    This often happens with pregnant women, when it’s too early to make an announcement.

    “With women who are pregnant, funny enough, the bartender is one of the first people who finds out,” Boushel said. “They don’t want their friends to know, so (they ask), ‘Can you make me look like I’m drinking?'”

    A similar request also frequently comes from people who are “out and about with business partners, or clients,” she said. “Maybe they’ve had enough, but they want to keep up appearances.”

    The team at Pretty Ugly cocktail bar in Toronto have gone even further to accommodate patrons who don’t drink. They spent nearly a year developing “placebo” liquors: non-alcoholic concoctions intended to replace actual booze. Owner and bartender Robin Goodfellow has developed an alcohol-free amaro, a Campari, and a plum wine.

    “I don’t feel that a bar is a place that only should serve people who want to get drunk,” Goodfellow said, adding he likes drinking but hates being drunk, and that many of his friends abstain from alcohol. “You can enjoy the music, the decor, the conversations, the energy of a bar even if you’re not drinking.”

    He doesn’t want his drinks to completely replicate the taste of liquor, but instead provide an option that “has that feeling of a Negroni or a Manhattan.” He said his alcohol-free Negroni is “definitely for a mature palate, someone who maybe used to drink Campari.”

    Goodfellow has wondered about serving a non-alcoholic cocktail to someone with a drinking problem who might be at risk of a relapse. He’s asked his friend who coined the term “placebo drink,” chef Matty Matheson, if he thought the offering could be dangerous.

    “If I make something really similar-tasting to something he used to drink, is that going to trigger his same old habits that he’s trying to avoid?” Goodfellow wondered. “He told us no, but … I would love to hear what people think about that, because that’s something I’m concerned about.”

    Dr. Jonathan Bertram, an addictions specialist at Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, said there’s no one single answer. Addiction experts have isolated two major triggers that can cause relapse in people with alcoholism, Bertram explained.

    “There’s the very obvious chemical trigger, which is a result of alcohol initiating a dopamine release in the brain,” he said. “But then there’s also this sort of anticipatory excitement or euphoria that comes from a person engaging in the ritual of drinking.”

    In those cases, drinking something meant to resemble an alcoholic drink — or even being in a bar environment at all — can be a trigger.

    But that risk is “not an easy thing to standardize or isolate,” because it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, Bertram added. And sometimes, the option of a placebo drink can “make it a lot easier for a person to go out and socially integrate into the drinking exercise without having to use alcohol.”

    He urged people in recovery to consult their doctors before making the decision.

    When Cory Bagdon of Thunder Bay, Ont., decided to take a break from alcohol for a summer while in university about ten years ago, he found the social pressure to drink was “isolating.”

    “When I gave up drinking, I would be treated differently,” he said. “I’d go out with the same people, but they wouldn’t talk to me the same way.”

    He recalled friends seeming “offended” that he didn’t want to drink, and said an acquaintance once got physically aggressive when he refused a shot.

    Even now Bagdon sometimes feels pressure to drink more than he wants to at social gatherings. To avoid an awkward conversation he’ll sometimes order a bottled beer and fill it up with water once it’s empty.

    “It seems strange that even though I don’t want to be a part of the drinking culture, I can’t separate myself from the social component of drinking culture,” he said.

    Goodfellow said his ultimate goal in dreaming up new drinks and running his bar in general is to make it more welcoming for people who aren’t interested in getting drunk.

    “I very much promote alcohol consumption, done responsibly,” he said.

    “But I love that maybe we’re changing the way non-drinkers enjoy nightlife.”

    Maija Kappler, The Canadian Press



    If you like this, share it!

    Health

    ‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • HUMBOLDT, Sask. — Mary-Jane Wilkinson is worried about what will happen to families and a community grieving the dead and the injured in a tragic hockey bus crash earlier this month in Saskatchewan.

    Funerals have been held and residents of Humboldt where the junior league Broncos are based face the return to their daily routines.

    Wilkinson, the manager of the Canalta Hotel, experienced grief herself when she lost her husband at a young age. She was left to raise her son Richard by herself.

    Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss, she said.

    “When everybody leaves, which eventually everybody does, then you’re starting your new normal and it’s very tough. The community is going to really have to keep working to make sure the people heal … with the support from the community,” said Wilkinson.

    “Once everybody goes away, they’re actually dealing with it for the first time alone, and I know what that feels like.”

    The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., on April 6 when their bus and a semi-trailer collided at a rural intersection. Sixteen people, including 10 players, died and 13 were injured. The driver of the truck wasn’t hurt.

    The deputy reeve of the Rural Municipality of Connaught where the crash occurred said the immediate aftermath has been hard for many people.

    “One of our councillors that sits at this table with us was one of the first on scene. He’s struggling,” said Ian Boxall. “The biggest thing right now (is) making sure that these people have what they need to get through this.”

    Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy was part of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos crash in which four of his Western Hockey League teammates died.

    “There’s the shock, and then there’s the grief, and then … part of healing with anything is acceptance,” said Kennedy.

    “We’ve got to find ways to manage those negative thoughts, or those images … or the guilt. We know a lot of guilt comes with people who have come through these types of tragedies.”

    The Psychology Association of Saskatchewan is urging people to reach out for help. Dr. Regan Hart, with the association, said the first thought is with the friends and family of the victims. But she said a tragedy like this is far-reaching. 

    “It could be quite wide-ranging in that sense because a lot of these kids were quite active members of their school groups and their communities,” she said.

    “When it’s someone you know in such a tragic kind of accident, I think it kind of hits close to home for a lot of people especially in a small province and smaller communities that we have here in Saskatchewan.”

    The association compiled a list of mental-health resources for the general public: http://bit.ly/2HjoZIX

    — By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

    The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    Health

    Parliament Hill plays host to last annual marijuana rally before legalization

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — A haze of marijuana smoke blanketed crowds on Parliament Hill on Friday as pot enthusiasts of all ages gathered below the Peace Tower for the annual cannabis celebration known as 4-20.

    The event marks the last time pot users will flock to the Hill to celebrate cannabis culture in late April before the federal government legalizes recreational marijuana later this summer.

    “What happened here today on Parliament Hill was a gathering of like-minded individuals seeking sensible cannabis legislation,” said Kevin Shae, a 32-year-old recreational marijuana user.

    For Shae, that means ensuring the government does not create a “monopoly of the industry” and making sure those with health issues have the access they need to medical marijuana. 

    Young people and older medicinal users alike were well represented among the expanse of people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder across the west lawn in the heart of the parliamentary precinct. RCMP estimated the turnout numbered in the thousands.

    Tyler Graydon, a first-time 4-20 attendee, said he and his friends are “excited” to see pot becoming legal. Graydon, 17, is closing in on the minimum age for legal consumption — it will vary from province to province, but 18 or 19 seems to be the ballpark, likely following on existing alcohol restrictions.

    Graydon, however, doesn’t think it will make much difference.

    “As soon as it’s legalized, it’ll be in too many hands to really stop it,” he said. “They’ll get their hands on it somehow. They’ll get it from their parents or from the jar in the cupboard. It won’t be hard.”

    By mid-afternoon, police were reporting a mellow vibe with no incidents.

    For Alex Burridge, 20, this year’s celebration is a particularly meaningful one — he just picked up his first prescription for medical marijuana, which he’ll use to alleviate back pain from a sports injury. Legalization, he says, has been a long time coming.

    “It’s something that people have been looking forward to for generations and we’re finally on the brink of it. I feel like it’s something that puts our country ahead of a lot of others.”

    Fourteen-year-old Emma Boniface, whose mother also uses marijuana for medical purposes, earned cheers from the audience for her keynote speech, part of an effort by organizers to emphasize the importance of including young people in the national conversation about legalization.

    “I have to trust that our current government and medical system will know what’s best for me because I’m a minor and I don’t have the right to decide for myself,” she said.

    “My mother is all the proof I need to know that cannabis works.”

    Ottawa paramedics responded to three medical incidents, two of which involved people exhibiting the effects of marijuana use. They were treated and released at the scene.

    Ottawa was far from the only locale in Canada where 4-20 was being celebrated. Gatherings took place across the country, from Vancouver to St. John’s, N.L., where the newly opened Puffin Hut was hosting an inaugural “Weed Olympics.”

    Scheduled events included a biggest bong hit competition, a dab-off and a prize for the most creative joint art.

    “The perfect way to describe it would be to say it’s like being in a martini bar at 12 o’clock on a Friday night, only much more chill,” manager Brian Walsh said of the festivities.

    In Vancouver, venders hawking marijuana edibles, T-shirts and pot paraphernalia set up tents at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach.

    Cannabis activist Jodie Emery said while there is a festival-like celebration of marijuana culture on the beach, it’s also a protest — the sort of event that ultimately made legalization possible.

    “This is an enormous act of peaceful civil disobedience where people are openly breaking the law and demonstrating that (this) should not be illegal, Emery said — a reference to the merchants selling all manner of pot products, the sale of which won’t be any more legal after the Cannabis Act is passed.

    “The upcoming legislation actually makes all of this still illegal — you’re not allowed to brand or market. All of these entrepreneurs, hundreds of small business owners, will still be criminals under the Liberal legislation.”

    Raisa Patel, The Canadian Press





    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    Community Events

    april, 2018

    No Events

    Trending

    X