Fish & Water… Students & Alcohol…It’s the same concept, right? Yes, I’m being that dramatic. From my experience at university, alcohol feels like a bit of a lifesaver for students; it helps us survive the social demands of the new environment, and erase the stress of harsh deadlines for a few hours. I just realised I’m starting to sound like an alcoholic – I promise you I’m not (although I’m sure the oldies would argue otherwise)!

When you hear the words ‘Dry January’ I’m sure excuses immediately start running through your head: ‘What about Anna’s birthday next week?’, ‘What about Re-Fresher’s?’, and so on. The thing is, at this point you’re probably just doubting your own abilities. I’m sure Usain Bolt can manage without a beer, and Beyoncé can still enjoy herself without downing bottles of rośe – no reason why you can’t too. I’m not saying you have to be on an extreme ban for the rest of your life… only for 31 days!

Let’s not forget the main reason behind Dry January. Cancer Research UK hold the annual Dryathalon Campaign, claiming it’s the ultimate test of willpower. Not only do you raise money for lifesaving research, but you also get a hangover free month!

Most students will be thinking, “Oh god, water for a month?!”. You’re absolutely wrong. There are so many other fun non-alcoholic alternatives that you could have instead during Dry January, so I’ve listed a few below:

The Ultimate ‘Fooler’

This is for those of you who don’t want to look like an outsider when you go to bars and clubs with your mates, or are just sick of explaining over and over again. I guarantee that if I put a glass of vodka, lemonade and lime next to exactly the same drink but minus the vodka, you would not be able to see the difference. The same thing goes for anything with tonic water and citrus sodas such as 7Up. All you have to do is leave the expensive part out, and no one has a clue!

Not So Boozy Bottles

Swap the alcoholic beers, ciders and wines for exactly the same products, just without the alcohol. Kopparberg do a range of alcohol-free ciders including strawberry and lime, and mixed fruits. If you are more of a Beck’s lover, you can buy a crate of Beck’s Blue alcohol-free lager from your local supermarkets…the perfect solution for pre-drinks! For the wine drinkers, Shloer is a great substitute, they have products such as Celebration Pink Fizz or their Sparking Rosé. It all looks like the real thing, tastes like the real thing, just isn’t the real thing!

The Classic Mocktails

Most cocktail bars also offer a selection of mocktails, and if there isn’t one you fancy then most places are happy to make up a cocktail from the menu for you and just leave out the alcohol. The BBC Good Food have a range of 24 mocktail recipes, including adventurous drinks such as Hot Apple Pie Punch, Pomegranate Mojito, Blueberry and Mint Iced Tea, and many more. All are easy to make at home and only really require chucking everything in together and giving it a little shake! Guaranteed to tickle your taste buds.

Powder shots instead of spirit shots

Scrap the drinks altogether. If you’re wondering how you’re going to get your energy pumping for tonight then take a shot of Reon! Reon is a fast-acting supplement which gives you the same buzz as a double shot of espresso from one sachet. Choose from either Pomegranate or Chili Roulette depending on whether you’re a dare devil or not. Reon also currently have a 25% student discount offer, or subscribe and get 3 for 2 – a perfect offer to set you up for your wild nights out during Dry January.

…and then there’s water

I know I mentioned from the start that you don’t have to drink water, but it’s rude to rule it out, especially when it’s always there for you when you need it. Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) (Amendment) Order 2014 states that ‘The responsible person must ensure that free potable water is provided on request for customers where it is reasonably available.’.

This means that when you’re on a night out, all bars that serve alcohol must also serve free tap water, or face a fine of up to £20,000. So, if you’re on a tight budget through January then this could be a final resort! Believe it or not, there is also a refilling map which tells you where your nearest refilling station of water is for when you are feeling really parched.

So, if you are now considering becoming a dryathlete, here are a few more perks when ditching the alcoholic beverage for non-alcoholic substitutes:

• Save money! See how much money you could save using Cancer Research’s Alcohol Calculator.
• Lose weight. You can also use the Alcohol Calculator to see how many boozy calories you could save.
• You will probably feel more energetic, and you won’t have to go through the pain of finishing an assignment with a killer hangover.
• Sleep better and snore less. Win/win for you and your partner (if you’re not a single pringle).
• A sense of achievement! You’ll be raising money throughout your journey for Cancer Research! Sign up using this link.

So, that’s it! Hopefully, I have enlightened you on how you can achieve Dry January as a student without missing out on all the crazy nights out! It’s an amazing opportunity to raise money for lifesaving research. Check out Cancer Research UK’s website for more information on how they support and help you along the way!

Happy Dry January! I’ll drink to that – in February!


Chloe Ireland

Chloe Ireland

Hometown: Leicester
University: Sheffield Hallam
Most prized possession: My phone
Most irritating habit: Talking over the TV when someones trying to watch something
Worst present ever received but had to pretend to like it: An old fashioned scarf I got as a Christmas present
Favourite life hack: Wear goggles when you’re chopping onions
Favourite thing about working at Fused Bills: The energetic environment of the office