Hot Lists Wednesday, February 1st Words by: Adam Knight, pictures by: informatique, Westons Cider, The Shack Revolution

Five ways to say good-bye to Dry January that don't involve Jagermeister

Hot Lists Wednesday, February 1st

Five ways to say good-bye to Dry January that don't involve Jagermeister

Dry January, Dryathlon, whatever you call the depressing boozeless march through the year's darkest month - abstaining in January is most definitely A Thing.

In fact there’s an argument to be made that, these days, Dry January is bigger than Wimbledon. Alcohol Concern reckon that one in six Brits had a crack last year - whilst only a paltry one in 20 tuned in to watch GB’s-own Andy Murray lift the trophy and wave to his Mum.

What does this mean? Well, put simply, it means that bartenders up and down the country are currently steeling themselves both mentally, and physically, in anticipation of the hordes of thirsty punters set to descend, en masse and screaming for Jägermeister, upon their watering holes this weekend.

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It has been noted that this purge/binge culture is not entirely conducive to the long term health benefits sought by those undertaking a Dryathlon. But then again that kind of logic tends to slip straight out of a mind numbed by 31 days of sobriety. The thirst takes you, and next thing you know you’re topless and dancing to Eric Prydz in Play.

And who really likes Green Tea anyway?

To that end, we’re here to save you from yourself.

As opposed to the well-trodden path many will take on the first weekend of February – all roads lead to The Kerry and all that – why not celebrate your return to civil society by getting drunk in one of the following, more interesting ways?


1. Get goosed at a comedy night

You’re spoilt for choice this weekend.

On Friday night you’ve got the Courtyard Comedy Club – think big round tables, pitchers of beer and a headliner that goes in on hipster barbers (see above) – and then on Saturday night it’s this month’s Farcical Comedy Night in the speakeasy at the Left Bank, a great little secret bar underneath the main building that's perfect for stand-up.

If past performance is anything to go by, both nights are likely to be side-splittingly funny – but, if not, it’s February, just drink until they are.


2. Classy Cocktail Crawl

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There is nothing to say you can’t stay classy while you break your drinking drought, although there is evidence to show that if you drink your bodyweight in Chase vodka you are less likely to remain that way.

Now, everyone has a friend who empties all the spirits from their cupboard-under-the-stairs in to a glass, adds a splash of coke and what looks to be carpet cleaner, and calls it a Long Island Iced Tea. This is not a cocktail. Scrub up, go out, and watch how the pros do it.

Our suggestion would be to call in to see Caleb at The Bookshop on Aubrey St – you can even grab dinner if they have space – before snaking around to The Cellar Door on Widemarsh St and sidling up to the bar for something classic, then finishing up with a funky, good time at the one and only Shack Revolution.


3. Get a little rucked up at boozy sporting event

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Those quick out of the gate could have toasted their lapsed sobriety on Feb 1 at Hereford Races today – high-five emoji if that was you – but this weekend, by coincidence, marks the start of one of the better sporting tournaments in existence to drink to.

The Six Nations has everything; fierce tribal rivalries, back-to-back games ensuring maximum drinking time, and the kind of warm, fuzzy atmosphere that rugby clubs have perfected – the exact same atmosphere in which it is perfect to get warm and fuzzy in.

It’s Scotland v Ireland at 2.25pm on Saturday (The Whiskey Derby), followed by England v France, with Wales playing on Sunday. And this weekend Luctonians are at home in National 2, while Hereford, Ledbury, Ross and Bromyard don’t have league fixtures meaning the bars should be busy countywide. Check out how to find them – along with some good rugby pubs – in this hotlist.


4. Get a cider inside ya

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Another plan that starts with a dose of day-drinking and meanders slowly in to the night.

Like any daytime good session, you should start with some structure – and preferably an activity – in order to pace yourself. So, book yourself on to a tour of the Weston’s Cider Mill at Much Marcle, and then head next door to The Scrumpy House, the on-site pub, to try the wares.

From there, if you have a good number for a taxi, head to The Crown in Woolhope which was named as the best cider pub in the UK just over a year ago. Consider it a true Herefordshire pilgrimage.


5. Wine FTW

Monk drinking in a wine cellar XIXe

If you are more about the vine than the vodka, you need to check out one of the county’s Best Kept Secrets, Noble And Wild.

It’s an Italian-style wine bar just off St Owen Street in Hereford where you can buy vino by the bottle, by the glass or by the mouthful. This means you can try a load of different bottles - and get a load of expert tips while you do so - without having to be carried out afterwards.

It also has a great range of tartines, meat and cheese plates to chew on and keep your stomach well-lined. The whole thing is oh so European. Give them a call for bookings of six or more. Open until 11 on weekends.

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