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Mindful drinking: how and why you should try it

Mindful drinking sounds like a fad. But we’ve found that it can really enhance your drinking experience. In our June newsletter we explored how and why you should try mindful drinking.

Have you ever tried to eat a Lindor bar mindfully? It’s a ruinous experience. Tune into the full experience of a single bite and you start to notice how the chocolate clags at the back of the throat; you notice the cloying sweetness – the saccharine lack of complexity in its flavour.

On day seventy billion of lockdown (or a post-Barnard Castle approximation of it), fatigue is palpable. As a society we seem to have cycled through phases of excess and abstinence in infinite repetitions. It’s unsurprising that the internet is awash with articles tackling the mental impact of alcohol, advising people to drink ‘mindfully’.

But what does that actually mean?

Being mindful, fully engaging with the sensory and mental experience of what you’re doing, is challenging. That’s why we began with chocolate. In spite of the dopamine hit you experience when you eat chocolate, it doesn’t affect your mental faculties as much as alcohol. Because drinking mindfully is hard. Really tasting every sip, appreciating the balance of flavours and the structure of the wine without making it a WSET exercise.

The concept of mindful drinking is also mentally entwined with the sober-curious movement. But we feel that drinking mindfully needn’t be associated with problematic drinking: in itself, it can be a joyful and empowering experience. To really focus in on what you enjoy about a sniff and sip of wine is a very powerful means of focusing your attention and creating a lasting memory not just of a drink, but of a moment.

So how do you drink ‘mindfully’?

A lot lies in the preparation. Bring the wine to the perfect temperature; choose your finest stemware. Settle yourself somewhere comfortable with no distractions – that means no music, no TV, no distractions. If you are happy to, it’s actually fun to drink alone in this way. Settle yourself with your glass and consider the aromas, the flavours as you take a sip. It doesn’t have to be great wine – though we’ll wager you’ll choose better wines going forward if you drink in this way. Consider every facet of the wine. What is the texture like? Waxy? Chalky? Oily? Does it make your mouth water? What do you taste? Take the time to tease out the flavours. How does it make you feel? (The idea is not to answer “a bit pissed, to be honest.”)

Join @GroupSwirl on Twitter, for an experiment in group mindful drinking, this Thursday 18th June at 7pm. We’ll be using the #mindfulglass hashtag to share what we’re sipping, and why it’s meaningful to us.

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