Dry January Best Books
R Rome Velasco

15 Best Books To Read For Dry January: Recipes, Self-Help Guides, & More

Jan 14, 2024

Dry January, a month-long commitment to cutting out alcohol and staying dry, is a great springboard towards a more thoughtful assessment of one’s own relationship with alcohol. But this journey is not always straightforward, especially for those who have zero clue on where to start, how to start, and whether non-alcoholic drinks have a place in one’s path to sobriety.

Whether you’re sober curious trying to get started on drinking non-alcoholic or already a mocktail veteran just brushing up on your knowledge for Dry January, these great books we’ve picked out will get you up to speed with tons of useful information, including self-help guides, in-depth studies on the effects of alcohol, introspective memoirs, and more.

Be sure to add these excellent book recommendations to your reading list! Hopefully they equip you with the necessary knowledge to navigate Dry January without fear, provide you with a ton of recipes so you can get the mocktail party going, or perhaps even give you a different perspective through anecdotes from people who have experienced challenges with alcohol and how they surmounted them. Happy reading!

 

Good Drinks by Julia Bainbridge 

Good Drinks by Julia Bainbridge


  • Full Title: Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You're Not Drinking for Whatever Reason
  • Author: Julia Bainbridge
  • Why we love it: Apart from Julia’s excellent writing, we love how she personally tested every recipe featured in the book, a dedication to research that comes through via her personally noting on what worked, what didn’t, tips on how to source ingredients, and everything in between.
  • Get it here.


Is it possible to make delicious cocktails that are non-alcoholic? Well, yes — take our own excellent recipes as proof, like the non-alcoholic Mojito, Margarita, Mimosa, G&T, just to name a few — and writer Julia Bainbridge even spent an entire summer visiting bars and restaurants across the U.S. to prove that you can, indeed, make outstanding non-alcoholic drinks. Apart from recipes, Good Drinks includes an extensive pantry section, teaches you how to source ingredients, and features a plethora of bartender-approved recipes that in all paint a stunning picture of the non-alcoholic world.


Mindful Mixology by Derek Brown

Mindful Mixology by Derek Brown

 

  • Full Title: Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails with 60 Recipes
  • Author: Derek Brown
  • Why we love it: We love how Brown ingeniously tweaked classic cocktails and made them lower-proof!
  • Get it here.

The idea that non-alcoholic cocktails are simply inferior clones of their alcoholic counterparts is a tired one. The recipes in this book break exactly that myth, illustrating how mocktails, even though they are non-alcoholic, can still be as complex, sophisticated, satisfying, and tasty. All it takes is a little effort and a lot of creativity, and spirits expert Derek Brown ensures you too can make complex concoctions at home by providing guides on the ingredients, special techniques, and a host of mixing tools you’ll need.

Zero: A New Approach To Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Zero: A New Approach To Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  • Full Title: Zero: A New Approach to Non-Alcoholic Drinks
  • Authors/Contributors: Grant Achatz, Allen Hemberger, Nick Kokonas, Sarah Hemberger, Micah Melton
  • Why we love it: This book is so beautifully illustrated and presented that simply flipping through its pages counts as an experience in and of itself.
  • Get it here.

From a classic Americano made non-alcoholic to a Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich-inspired cocktail, this book is a masterfully executed presentation of sophisticated booze-free concoctions, replete with gorgeous photography and illustrations, plus insights from acclaimed Chef Grant Achatz and his team of culinary connoisseurs. Our only note is that unlike Good Drinks and Mindful Mixology the effort level required to make these world-class mocktails is very high. Be prepared to purchase some unique ingredients and possibly some new cooking tools! 

Drink Lightly by Natasha David

Drink Lightly by Natasha David

  • Full Title: Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails, with 100+ Recipes for Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks: A Cocktail Recipe Book
  • Author: Natasha David
  • Why we love it: Natasha David playfully goes the extra mile with these recipes, even describing when they’re best enjoyed, like the Sherry-inspired Smiley Smile cocktail, which she says is the perfect sip when you’re “reminiscing on your party girl/boy/people days while wearing a towel turban and watching your nail polish dry.”
  • Get it here.

Right from the get-go, award-winning bartender and craft cocktail veteran Natasha David sets out on a mission — for her drinks to give joy, make people dance, and kiss longer. The result is a soulful, funny, and fantastically written collection of low and non-alcoholic cocktails, running the gamut from simple to complex but are all otherwise very accessible even for beginners.

Mocktail Party by Diana Licalzi and Kerry Benson 

Mocktail Party by Diana Licalzi and Kerry Benson

 

  • Full Title: Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based, Non-Alcoholic Mocktail Recipes for Every Occasion
  • Authors: Diana Licalzi and Kerry Benson
  • Why we love it: If you find it difficult to seek non-alcoholic options while out and about, this book contains practical advice on how to order mocktails at restaurants and bars!
  • Get it here.

We’ve included a handful of recipe books in this list, but if you’re even more health conscious than the regular person, Mocktail Party features a fantastic roster of non-alcoholic cocktail recipes, all of which are plant-based, low-sugar, and made with all-natural ingredients.

The Dry Challenge by Hilary Sheinbaum

The Dry Challenge by Hilary Sheinbaum

 

  • Full Title: The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month
  • Author: Hilary Sheinbaum
  • Why we love it: We love how reading this book is like talking to a really gentle, caring, and thoughtful friend who’s supportive, non-judgmental, and offers you incredible advice when you’re running low on motivation.
  • Get it here.

Written with a friendly voice brimming with encouraging advice, tips, and techniques instead of judgment, The Dry Challenge is the definitive go-to self-help book to aid you in navigating a month-long commitment to keeping the booze at bay and getting a taste of the dry life. It’s very easy to follow, provides plenty of comic relief, and though it doesn’t get too deep into the science like the other books included in our list, it makes up for it with really helpful activities you can do to prepare for sobriety — it’s your booze-free support system in book form!

Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington
  • Full Title: Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Deep Connection, and Limitless Presence Awaiting Us All On The Other Side of Alcohol
  • Author: Ruby Warrington
  • Why we love it: If you’ve ever been curious about crossing over to the dry side and trying a sober life, this is the book to read.
  • Get it here.

This is the perfect introductory title for those looking to reflect on their relationship with alcohol or cut back drinking completely. Ruby Warrington offers her personal experiences with alcohol, plus comprehensive scientific data that details the effects of sobriety and even provides a bird’s-eye view of how society plays a role in our drinking culture.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
  • Full Title: The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering A Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life
  • Author: Catherine Gray
  • Why we love it: Not only does Catherine Gray dig deep into her personal challenges with alcohol, she also talks to top neuroscientists and psychologists to ask all the important questions we have about sobriety and drinking culture in general.
  • Get it here.

Much has been said about how sobriety benefits your mind and body, but Catherine Gray goes further by illuminating the ways in which a sober, alcohol-free life can actually be joyful and fulfilling. Page after page she explores the nitty-gritty of the sober life, explaining in great detail what happens after one cuts the booze entirely. It is encouraging, fact-based, and a judgment-free book that everyone will find intensely relatable regardless of their relationship with alcohol.

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
  • Full Title: This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Rediscover Happiness & Change Your Life
  • Author: Annie Grace
  • Why we love it: This book has all the crucial ingredients to a compelling “how to quit” book: it’s encouraging, fact-based, and personal. It’s full of hard truths about alcohol dependence but offers a clear, sympathetic path toward change.
  • Get it here.

Annie Grace gets in-depth on the role alcohol plays in broader culture and investigates the roots of our drinking habits, providing us a better understanding of why we drink in the first place. With her letting us witness up-close the subterranean mechanics that factor into a lifestyle of imbibing, she helps us make better and more empowering decisions toward taking back control as we consider a path toward sobriety.

Alcohol Explained by William Porter

Alcohol Explained by William Porter
  • Full Title: Alcohol Explained: Understand Why You Drink And How to Stop
  • Author: William Porter
  • Why we love it: Whether you consider yourself a drinker or a non-drinker, you’ll come away with an entirely new perspective on what alcohol exactly is and what it does.
  • Read the first five chapters here.

If you like your books armed with hard science and cold facts, Alcohol Explained is definitely the perfect pick. A guide to alcohol and alcoholism, it details the ways in which alcohol consumption affects us chemically, physiologically, and psychologically, written by someone who personally survived alcoholism. It logically breaks down some of the myths we associate with drinking — such as the “alcoholic gene,” for instance — and provides practical advice and why and how to cut back alcohol.

Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker

Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker
  • Full Title: Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
  • Author: Holly Whitaker
  • Why we love it: It offers an incisive and greatly overlooked perspective on the ways in which sobriety and recovery programs lack resources specifically developed for women and other underrepresented communities.
  • Get it here.

In her book, Holly Whitaker bravely breaks down the traditional recovery model and captures an often overlooked concern: that most sobriety programs and systems of recovery fall short in accommodating the specific needs of women. 

The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley 

The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley

 

  • Full Title: The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living
  • Author: Clare Pooley
  • Why we love it: Clare Pooley has a knack for mixing the morose with the funny — it’s a book that will have you crying one moment then laughing out loud the next.
  • Get it here.

The Sober Diaries is an unflinchingly personal yet comic account of author Clare Pooley’s year-long journey of cutting out alcohol and beating cancer. It is a funny, touching, and fiercely vulnerable retelling of so many experiences other women have also gone through. If you’re someone dealing with severe alcohol problems, this might not be the perfect book for your situation, but if you’re simply finding yourself drinking a little too much and want to stop, this is for you.

The Sober Lush by Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire

The Sober Lush by Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire
  • Full Title: The Sober Lush: A Hedonist's Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life--Alcohol Free
  • Authors: Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire
  • Why we love it: It contains fantastic advice on how to enjoy important moments in life that are usually inescapably attached to alcohol, such as a first date or a party.
  • Get it here.

For years in our culture, the idea of “getting turnt up” via excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with having the best time, but The Sober Lush poses a question: What if there was another image of absolute euphoria? A life of fulfillment, joy, and decadent pleasures without a drop of alcohol involved? This book presents the many ways in which a life can still be vibrant, energetic, and bursting at the seams with excitement and thrill — without alcohol in the picture.

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry by Augusten Burroughs
  • Full Title: Dry: A Memoir
  • Author: Augusten Burroughs
  • Why we love it: Reading Augusten Burroughs is like submitting yourself to the hands of a consummate storyteller. You’ll bristle at the honesty but keep reading for the sheer vulnerability and nuanced introspection he commits to.
  • Get it here.

You’ve likely heard of Augusten Burroughs from his phenomenal memoir Running with Scissors, and this one, an account of his tumultuous journey with sobriety, is a similarly honest and raw portrait of someone who drowned his sorrows with alcohol. If you can get through its darkest chapters, you will be rewarded with an incisive and captivating memoir that puts all the unseemly parts of one’s road to recovery under a microscope.

Drinking Games by Sarah Levy 

Drinking Games by Sarah Levy

 

  • Full Title: Drinking Games: A Memoir
  • Author: Sarah Levy
  • Why we love it: It’s the perfect book for the younger crowd, with a startlingly mature examination on the ways in which our attitudes toward alcohol affects our own lives and our friendships, filled with hard-to-hear truths that are very relatable to anyone struggling with such issues as they navigate their twenties.
  • Get it here.

Youth is often associated with carefree and hedonistic pleasures; an all-bets-are-off pursuit of infinite joys during one’s formative years. Sarah Levy’s incredible memoir illustrates what it looks like to come out of that headspace and opt instead for a more responsible and healthy relationship with drinking. What does it mean to be young and already submerged in the choppy and ravaging waters of alcohol misuse? Sarah Levy carefully examines and unspools a culture obsessed with drinking, bravely coming face-to-face with the pitfalls of working hard and playing even harder.


Dry January 2024 Guide: Must-Have Essentials

So you've decided to participate in Dry January and you ask, "What exactly can I drink?" Luckily, we've put together a comprehensive guide on the best non-alcoholic options that'll keep your cup filled throughout the month but keep the hangover at within a 10-foot pole.


Dry January 2024 Guide: Tips To Stay Motivated

Running low on motivation? We know it can be quite difficult for some people. Hang in there and worry not! Here are some important things to keep in mind as you navigate Dry January.

Cheers! 

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