I started this site after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The morning after the operation when I mentioned celebrating with champagne, they stopped me flat and said – “alcohol is a risk factor”.

I do still enjoy the odd glass of champagne to be honest, feeling a little guilty each time, although a lime and soda is actually much more refreshing, cheaper, and so much better for your health. And we do have a few bottles of wine and beer at home for special occasions and to offer guests.

This week I’m celebrating reaching 5 years cancer-free, and it’s time to give back and raise some funds for cancer with Dry July.

It’s easy to be tempted, so the best way to stay on the wagon is to be prepared.

Make it easy to grab the non-alcoholic option each day. Stock your fridge and cupboards with the tools and ingredients to make a quick, simple mocktail at the drop of a hat. Or make it a special occasion and prepare some frozen ice cubes with flowers for decorating,

Here are my tips on preparing for Dry July:

  • Get a Sodastream, and have a spare refill.
  • Stock up on unusual cordials. Woolworths has lovely ones: elderflower, ginger, lemon barley, lime, lemongrass, pink grapefruit, raspberry. Go crazy here. My favourite is elderflower and rose.
  • Frozen fruit. Particularly raspberries and blueberries and strawberries, the most perfect fruits on earth. These are great for muddling, garnishing, blending.
  • Fresh fruit – oranges, limes, lemons. Lime is the perfect alternative to alcohol – slightly tart, refreshing, exotic. Lime forms the basis for a gazillion mocktails and makes a beautiful garnish. Ditto strawberries. You’ll never have enough limes and strawberries. Plant some. My lime tree is too young, but my strawberry plants are just coming to fruit now.
  • Sweeteners. Sugar has a bad name, and so many mocktails use sugar syrup as a basis. For impulse mocktails I generally use agave syrup instead of making a batch of sugar syrup and waiting for it to cool. But for a whole month of Dry July, you’ll need to have a batch of sugar syrup in the fridge, or an alternative.
  • Plan your mocktail recipes. As mentioned, many of them use sugar syrups as the basis. When you start wallowing in recipes, you’ll find a large number of sugar syrup variations that you’ll want to make up front and store (labelled) in the fridge: rosemary sugar syrup, basil sugar syrup, ginger sugar syrup.
  • A blender. I’ve been living in a tiny house and technically a blender wasn’t supposed to be part of the necessities. But it’s at the back of the cupboard and waiting to be unpacked. Seriously, try the Liquid Love frozen strawberry mocktail if you’ve got a blender.
  • Non-alcoholic champagne. As a life-long Woolies shopper, I’ve been fond of Edenvale’s sparkling offerings.
  • Non-alcoholic gin. I’ve been pretty happy with Seedlip G&Ts, but am currently waiting for the Lyre’s range to arrive. Their recipes look awesome.
  • Freeze some ice cube trays. Stick a few flowers inside.

Seriously plan your mocktails, to make sure you have the ingredients ready. It can be annoying when you find the perfect recipe and discover at the last minute that you don’t have all the ingredients.

Now that we’re rural, we only go down the “mountain” to the shops once a week, so we can’t pop in for some last-minute limes or a fancy garnish. I’m hoping my garden mint, basil and rosemary will help me out here.

Go on. It’s a good cause. https://www.dryjuly.com/