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  • Writer's pictureMallory Warner

Dry Janvier? Adopting the French way of drinking

I was born and raised in the American Midwest and spent my young adult years in Wisconsin and Chicago. I experienced drinking culture as a cornerstone of everyday life and it was how I socialized with friends and family, celebrated, and entertained myself. Moving to Seattle almost two years ago, it is clear that there is a drinking culture here, but it is much more moderate than the culture I experienced in the Midwest. The pandemic exasperated my desire to have a drink, or to entertain myself by creating new cocktails while we were stuck at home.The drink became the escape for many of us during the pandemic. Beyond the small periods of quarantine, pouring an end of day drink became a marker of time for the days that seemingly ran together.


While researching French approaches to self-care, and specifically the French diet, I looked specifically at how the French approach drinking culture. French drinking culture is about enjoying what you drink while also enjoying the company of others. Drinking is a slow process, much like the long French lunches, or hours spent talking over a cup of coffee. The French also do not drink in order to get drunk. Yes, there are occasions where they do, and I have found myself drinking in the streets of Paris with my French pals in the wee hours of the morning (just ask my friends from our recent trip who found ourselves at an outdoor patio drinking Chouffe until 2 AM near the Gare de l’Est).


Like many things in French culture, moderation is key. This year, I am working on changing my relationship with alcohol, making it a more secondary feature in my life, rather than the central role it has been playing. Seattle has an amazing beer and wine scene. I love trying out the creativity presented in a well-made cocktail. Drinking should be about enjoyment and appreciation, a moment in a glass that I can savor.


This January (actually beginning in December) I have made an effort to move from drinking one or more drinks a day, to drinking only one or two days a week. I replaced my end of day time marking drink with a cup of tea. I hope to keep the ritual of winding down, without the assistance of alcohol. Other byproducts of the shift: I have more energy, I’m losing weight, and I’m saving money. I still love wine and enjoy having a few beers watching Paris Saint Germain but I want to break my American habit of overdoing it. Instead I am looking to find pleasure of slowly sipping a delicious tipple.


T'chin, T'chin

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If you are struggling with addiction, substance abuse or alcohol dependency, please reach out for help.


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