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The thrill doesn’t have to be gone

A guide to better liver health


“That’s the problem with drinking,” I thought, as I poured myself a drink. “If something bad happens, you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens, you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens, you drink to make something happen.” — Charles Bukowski   


A great friend once told me, “Abstinence is a poor way to respond to overindulgence.” Whether Buffalonians want to accept it or not, alcohol is a toxin. A delicious, beautiful, ineffable toxin. But, when being on the wagon is now a hashtag (#DryJanuary), we have to accept that overconsumption isn’t cool anymore. Holding your liquor isn’t a sign of a badass. 2020 will see a strengthening in the low to no ABV movement. How does one practice healthier drinking in a city that prides itself on its pickled liver skills?


Order a damn mocktail

Stop valuing alcohol content with your beverage purchases. Eliminate the bang for your buck drinking mentality. If someone like Tony Rials spends four minutes of Buffalo primetime constructing a perfectly balanced, non-alcoholic, masterfully presented cocktail, it’s worth three times the cost of that sports bar knock-off with stale, room-temp vermouth.


Straight up is for speed not toughness

Drinking a bourbon straight might look cool, but it makes you as tough as driving a big truck does—not as much as you’d think. I love whiskey, and I’ve settled into the idea that as a farmer, homeowner, and secret antique furniture lover, I need a truck. But whiskey makes me cry and numbing my taste buds all night isn’t a cool move.


Kombucha is the healthy cousin to natural wine

Not every kombucha drinker looks like me. Most wear deodorant and are hardly ever barefoot outside. The complex acid profile, spritz, color, and flavor all hit the mental bells that an allocated pét-nat would. We are spoiled with Buffalo’s own Barrel and Brine, and Hudson’s YesFolk Tonic will ship cans of booch that taste better than many wines I’ve had. Stock kombucha at home, order draft at the bar, and toss one in every couple of drinks.


Piquette, cider, and sours, oh my

Five percent ABV grape skin fizz, crabapple juice, and historic beers are easy to come by in 716. Drinking less in Buffalo means drinking like a non-Rust-Belt American. You know that you are going to have six to eight drinks on a thirsty Thursday, so make a few of them lower ABV. Grab a can of Wildarc Piquette, Steampunk Cider, or a sour from one of Buffalo’s funky bunch.


Spritz me

The spritz. The food and beverage industry’s tried and true, 10 a.m., first-account-meeting pick me up. Campari and soda, or Chartreuse, tonic, and orange are my go-tos. It’s a good way to leave the bar at 3 a.m. able to drive, and without sending a “hey big head” text to the wrong fool.


Bitters, soda, and real talk

Admitting that you have a drinking problem and abstaining is heroic. Drinking your friends under the table proves that you’re still in your early twenties, or careless. You might not want to have any tonight, but still want to go out and watch the game. If you find yourself out with friends and want to keep the hang going while staying sober, kick a few sodas back with some housemade bitters. Ango’ and ’Grino are mainstays in my house.


Get a new horse

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a specific cannabinoid found predominantly in sativa strains of cannabis. With legalization blooming across America, legitimate research is being done into the benefits of cannabis. Researchers claim that THCV may block positive sensations after the consumption of substances known for leading to compulsive behavior like sugar, alcohol, and opioids. Inhalation typically lasts for one and a half hours, and edibles last around three–four hours. You’ll be able to maintain a lower, safer buzz, and you’ll skip the 4 a.m. Jim’s.

Breaking up with that toxic ex is hard to do. And while the occasional tryst won’t kill you, knocking on her door every night might. I’ll take drinking less each month over passing on the champagne for all of January. Stay healthy and well.


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