I've been enjoying cocktails of a different variety in the last few months, non alcoholic ones. No I haven't renounced alcohol due to a health kick or to be virtuous and I haven't Charlie Sheened myself and been carted off to rehab. I find myself in the only other acceptable condition for not drinking, I'm 5 months pregnant!
Like most pregnant women, I was not 'out' as a pregnant woman for the first 3 months and in the drinks trade this undercover existence was more challenging than usual especially as my first 3 months timed themselves over the festive period of November and December. Here are my tips for pretending it's business as usual for any fellow ladies in booze.
1. People don't like it when you say you're not drinking
Unless you are on medication (prescribed), under doctor's orders or in AA people don't like hanging out with non drinkers, it makes them uncomfortable and our industry's handshake is 'would you like a drink?'.
I tried for a week of or so of festive socialising saying 'no thank you' and it was always met with suspicion or cocktail peer pressure. There is much debate as to the risks of drinking any alcohol versus 2 units per week when you're pregnant. I have 2 books to guide me through the process one a UK based doctor and one a US based doctor, you can imagine which nation has a slightly more relaxed attitude to what you can eat or drink whilst being 'with child'. I decided I would allow myself the occasional half a glass of wine or champagne. This too presented a problem as due to the nature of my work. I hang out in cocktail bars and have never previously turned down a cocktail in my life.
Due to the strength of spirits cocktails are definitely a 'no no'. My scary US pregnancy book said that I should imagine feeding the baby anything I was thinking of eating or
drinking, an image that is difficult to remove once placed.
Yes I did poor drinks into plant pots, onto the floor and also purposely spilt or knocked over my drink. I also poured my drinks into other peoples glasses if they popped to the bathroom or weren't looking.
4. Drunk people are very repetitive and clumsy
There is nothing like enforced sobriety for you to realise just how annoying being around people under the influence really is and it holds up a scary mirror to make you question 'my god, I must be really annoying when I'm drunk!'. I know that I'm pretty repetitive even when sober, I'm also naturally clumsy so add a pair of high heels and a few cocktails and stand back with the first aid kit.
5. Shots are a problem
Another hand shake of our industry is the shot, normally Jager, Wray and Nephew overproof or tequila. Again, a definite 'no no'. I found the best way round this was to not drink physically at the bar. As most shots are bartender lead the further away you are from them the better. My other solution to this problem was to get my partner to drink any shots, he spent most of December 'drinking for two' which was most amusing for me but not for him.
There are new studies that say babies in the womb taste what you taste through the amniotic fluid, this baby is going to have rather sophisticated tastes of non alcoholic 'Tommy's Margaritas' and 'Virgin Mary's'.
I do miss drinking wine over dinner and a Gimlet at the end of a hard day but I do not miss hangovers, I've actually become horrifically smug about not having hangovers which means karmically I'm setting myself up for humdinger post pregnancy!