The Hamilton Spectator
Make your two drinks a week easier with some non-alcoholic options
Searching Hamilton for the best bars and coolest companies with some sober choices
By now you have probably heard about the new guidelines for how many alcoholic drinks to consume on a weekly basis to reduce negative health consequences.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) recommends a maximum of two drinks per week. Canadians around the country were floored since those guidelines have changed significantly from a drink a day to now only two drinks per week.
We chatted with a local registered dietitian, Shannon Crocker, about what this new guideline means and tips and tricks to make those daily changes.
Shannon shares, “the new guidance underscores that all levels of alcohol consumption are associated with some risk. The lowest risk is seen with two standard drinks a week or less.
‘The more you drink, the higher your health risk, in particular risk of cancer and heart disease. Drinking less alcohol is better for overall health and well-being. If you cut down or cut out alcohol, you might find immediate benefits, for example, you might sleep better and you might have more energy.”
If you are reading this and thinking, well that’s easier said than done, Shannon also shared her top four tips on how we can reduce our alcohol intake.
1 Get your partner or a buddy to do it with you — so you can support each other and plan activities that don’t centre around alcohol.
2 Move your booze somewhere you can’t easily see it — out of sight, out of mind.
3 Plan for how to handle those times when you usually have a drink. Have some alcohol-free beverages or mocktails ready.
4 Tell your friends and family — that sets up the intention and can help to hold you accountable.
Now that you understand the recommendations and tips, I have searched the city for some fantastic bars and companies that have amazing non-alcoholic options for your next celebration.
The non-alcoholic drink market has been growing quite a bit in the last 10 years and it is exciting to see all the options, especially for someone who does not drink at all. Whether you want a fancy mocktail at a restaurant or a beer-like drink to unwind after a long day, you have more to choose from now.
Free-Bar is a brand-new Hamilton company that curates and delivers premium craft non-alcoholic beers, ciders, and ready-made cocktails. If you are local to Hamilton, they do local pickups too. Owner Dan Le Cute said, “We are here to help you explore the non-alcoholic space and find products that connect to your taste and lifestyle. Free Bar and our Discovery Boxes were born out of wanting to share the best products and to support craft beer
and cocktail makers.
“Hamilton is an encouraging place to start a business.
Not only are there great non-alcoholic products being created by the local industry; there is a strong support system of fellow entrepreneurs.”
For more information about Free Bar and to order your own box, visit them at freebarco.com.
Owners Kyle Ferreira and Jennifer Ferreira are known in Hamilton for their tasty cocktails. But did you know that almost all their drinks can be made non-alcoholic? When Jennifer was pregnant, she understood how important it was to be inclusive and to include non-alcoholic beverages on the menu. Jennifer told us, “We buy non-alcoholic spirits from a Quebec company called Distillerie Noroi (distillerienoroi.com/en). But we feature a variety of non-alcoholic spirits, beers, and wines at Bar Sazerac.”
Jennifer recommends you try their mocktail called, Midnight’s Children which includes a non-alcoholic rum, which is housemade, coconut emulsion, lime juice, bitters, and a house-made Aperativo. If you have visited Bar Sazerac before, you know their attention to detail for all their drinks is truly inspiring.
This holds true to their non-alcoholic selection too. Find Bar Sazerac at 278 James St. N., Hamilton. For more details, visit their website: barsazerac.ca.
The Capitol Bar
Another popular spot to grab a drink in the city is The Capitol Bar. When the Ticats are playing, this bar is overflowing with happy customers. “At Capitol Bar, we have a full line of non-alcoholic beers,” said owner Derek Weening. Derek also recommends a non-alcoholic drink that is popular with his customers called the Lavender Lemonade. The Capitol Bar gets busy, so if you want to stop by for some homemade food and a drink, give them a call to book a table at (289) 389-1001. The Capitol Bar is located at 973 King St. E., Hamilton.
Merit Brewing Company
Even going to a full-out brewery, you can find tons of non-alcoholic options. Owner Tej Sandhu of Merit Brewing told us all about the nonalcoholic beverages they offer at their brewery.
Not only do they have a rotating selection of non-alcoholic beers from producers like Rally, Bellwoods, and Gruvi, but they also have non-alcoholic wines from Gruvi, a seltzer from City Seltzer, kombucha from another local Hamilton company, Escarpment Kombucha, and juice boxes that are not only great for kids but for all ages. To find out more about Merit Brewing, check out their website: meritbrewing.ca. Merit Brewing is located at 107 James St. N., Hamilton.
This is not a full list of places in Hamilton that offer non-alcoholic options, but it is a start if you are trying to cut back on your consumption. If your favourite bar or restaurant is not listed here, do not be afraid to ask the bartender or server at your bar of choice to see what non-alcoholic options they have available.
JOYCE LEUNG IS A FOOD WRITER AND BLOGGER WHO LIVES IN HAMILTON. FIND HER TEACHING ASIAN COOKING CLASSES AROUND THE CITY WHEN SHE IS NOT TRYING ALL THE DELICIOUS RESTAURANTS OF HAMILTON. JOYCE WILL NOT WRITE ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS SHE HAS A SEPARATE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH. JOYCE@JOYCEOFCOOKING.COM