Two-Drink Maximum: Strategies for becoming a moderate drinker.
As a bartender with a passion for her craft, Brenda Riepenhoff knows the celebratory nature of alcohol. Despite this, she is also aware of the pitfalls of excessive drinking and the blurring lines between celebration and overdoing it. As a result, the Ohio native who currently slings cocktails at Brooklyn’s Westlight, the panoramic rooftop bar from Chef Andrew Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality Group, has a bevy of strategies for herself and others that she employs in order to imbibe responsibility.
“I think the number one tactic is to have a drink of water in between whatever you’re enjoying,” says Riepenhoff, who notes that a glass of H20 will not only prevent a hangover, but also slow you down. “It gives your body time to process the alcohol. You’ll stop yourself if you drink it slowly and you won’t get too intoxicated.”
Another key is imbibe mindfully. Says Riepenhoff: “Only drink things you really want to drink. I don’t have the same drink twice in one night, unless it’s so utterly delicious.” While she notes this tactic doesn’t work for everybody, the idea of savoring cocktails is of paramount importance. “Don’t drink something just because you think it’s simply okay.”
Two clever tactics that work for Riepenhoff personally happen when plans to go out when are first being made. “I’ll plan to go out with someone who doesn’t drink a lot,” she says. “Getting drinks with moderate drinkers makes for an ideal support system.”
The other is to think monetarily: “Set a budget in advance and don’t buy cheap drinks. If you spend it on a good quality cocktail and not simply beers and or shots at the bar, it’ll entice you to drink less so you won’t break the bank.”
Finally, the flipside of an exciting night out is a focused and healthy day. “If you go to the gym regularly, it’ll deter you not to ruin your progress,” says Riepenhoff, who regularly takes boxing and yoga classes around New York City along with going to a gym around five days a week. “If you have a class early the next morning, you have an incentive not to stay out all night.”
Says Riepenhoff of her overall moderate drinking strategy: “Make plans for yourself and hold yourself accountable. General health and moderate drinking should always be a goal.”