I’ve never been a teetotaler, I love a good cocktail, but I’m also not one for overindulging. I could say I’ve grown out of it, but it’s never been my vibe. I’ve just never found excessive drinking to be worth the next day’s misery. That being said, sometimes I would like to be carefree and drink to my heart’s content. So, when zero proof liquors started to appear on the scene, I was curious and found myself ordering them on occasion. Recently I was invited to a new event called Pure Clarity, a one-day conference taking a deep dive into the alcohol-free world and its alignment with overall mind/body wellness. Intrigued, I decided to check it out.
Held at Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, home of the fabulous Marion Davies Guest House, Pure Clarity is the brainchild of Sarah Siegel. A self-described “British mum who quit drinking,” Siegel created Pure Clarity with the mantra “mindful drinking, mindful living.” This all-day conference brought together leaders in the zero-proof movement for seminars, classes and, of course, samples centered around alcohol-free living.
Ordinarily, the beach would be the perfect spot for an event of this kind, but the day proved to be wet and rainy. Despite this, it still brought a full crowd, including yours truly, to Santa Monica to learn all about the zero-proof world. I know LA shuts down when it rains but, personally, I love the wet weather. And the perfect way to warm up was a quick visit to the bar.
Ok, it was only 10am, but does that really matter when there’s no alcohol to consider? In fact, I made three trips to the bar throughout the course of the day and sampled a variety of cocktails made with zero proof liquors including a rum alternative from Ritual and vodka and gin alternatives from Clean Co. I must admit, the vodka wasn’t my thing, but I enjoyed the rum cocktail. And then there was the gin and tonic.
Here’s the thing, a gin and tonic is one of the few cocktails I make at home, so I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. Let me tell you, this one was fantastic. Like, “I can’t believe there’s no alcohol in this” fantastic. With a drink like this, who needs alcohol?
I know I’m going on and on about the bar, but I did manage to tear myself away to check out the rest of the event. I checked out a panel called, You Have Outrageously Good Taste & Are Sober/ Sober-Curious?, which featured the founders of such notable zero-proof brands as Athletic Brewing, Optimist Drinks and Tenneyson. It was interesting to learn how they embraced the world of alcohol-free drinks, how difficult it is to carve a niche in the beverage world, both in the marketplace and the restaurant, and how every consumer has the right to indulge in a good drink whether they can’t, or simply don’t want to, drink liquor.
I also listened to a fascinating lecture from Laura Cathcart Robbins, whose memoir, Stash: My Life in Hiding has now been added to my “need to read” list. I must admit, I wasn’t aware of Ms. Robbins prior to the event but she was such a dynamic speaker that I was completely riveted by her story of addiction and recovery. I also enjoyed the workshop Nourished: The Mind Gut Connection + Shame-Free Sustainable Change from Sarah Goudie and Dr. Marcus Coplin of Murrieta Hot Springs Resort. Haven’t heard of Murrieta Hot Springs? The historic resort was the place to be back in the day but has spent the last 30 years as a bible college. It’s since undergone a thorough restoration and is due to open next week. After attending the workshop, I know I’ll be heading there sooner rather than later.
After a stroll through the sample area and more zero-proof tastes, it was time for me to head out. Before heading home, I indulged in a drizzly stroll along the beach and practically buzzed with inspiration for the new year. I don’t know if it was the discussions of mindfulness and recovery, or simply the numerous drinks I enjoyed, but I felt hopeful and excited for the future. Heck, it made me start writing here again, and you know it’s been a while since I’ve published something new. Whether my future includes zero-proof drinking or the occasional cocktail or two, I can’t wait to see what’s around the bend.