BRATTLEBORO — In an event honoring approximately 50 area people of all ages who signed up to take a break from drinking for its first Alcohol-Free April challenge, Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition (BAPC) held its first annual May Day Mocktail Contest and Dance Party on May 1 at the 118 Elliot Street Gallery.
Amid music and dancing, participants enjoyed a variety of mocktails, handcrafted by five Brattleboro area restaurants.
By the end of the night, participants voted Twin Flames the winner of the “Best Mocktail in Brattleboro” award for the “Twin Flames Tiki Punch,” made with cantaloupe, hibiscus, peach purée, and mint. [See sidebar for recipe.]
Whetstone Station was the runner-up, in a very close finish, with its libation, “Coast-to-Coast Trouble,” a blend of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, slapped mint, muddled lime, and a splash of ginger beer.
Other drinks of the evening included India Masala House's spicy-tangy “Green Mango Masala,” made with cumin, jaggery and a medley of peppers; Echo's “Sugar and Spice” mocktail with blood orange, rosemary, lemon-lime-ade, and a touch of chili pepper simple syrup; and Duo's flowery “Tamarind Bloom,” with rose, lilac, tamarind, lime, and soda water.
An event with deeper purpose
“Because alcohol is so prevalent in our society and our community, BAPC really wanted to use April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month, to encourage people to try to see what a month without alcohol would actually feel like,” Cassandra Holloway, the nonprofit's director, said in a news release.
“For some, drinking alcohol can become an almost unconscious habit, and we wanted to support those interested in taking the challenge and also celebrate their efforts and successes,” Holloway added. “It really is geared to be inclusive for all, from people looking to take a break to people in recovery.”
Attendees also shared their experiences of what it was like to avoid drinking for 30 days as part of an open mic portion of the evening.
Many spoke of how they were not sure if they could quit for the month, but wanted to try it, anyway.
“I thought, what does it mean about my drinking that I am not even sure I can do it?” one participant told the crowd, explaining this was why she decided to partner with a relative and take the challenge.
A number of other participants said they had also buddied up with a spouse, a friend, or a family member for support in completing “Alcohol-Free April.”
Some participants spoke of the difficulties of avoiding drinking during the first days of the challenge, but said they found themselves not even wanting to drink by the end of the month.
“One of the most powerful moments of the evening was hearing directly from people who took the challenge and how it changed their lives in ways they did not expect,” said Holloway.
“Many did not realize there were real benefits to not drinking. Others found they had renewed energy, improved sleep or rediscovered activities they enjoyed that did not involve alcohol,” she added.
“Many also said that just knowing there were dozens of other people doing the challenge right along with them - that they were part of a larger group - helped them successfully complete it,” Holloway said.