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Alcohol and health: what you
need to know

For most of us, the odd glass of wine or beer is associated with pleasure, socialising and relaxing. And when it's consumed in moderate amounts, alcohol can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, drinking to excess can have an adverse affect on our health and wellbeing. Discover our top tips for cutting back, plus delicious mocktail ideas

Cans and glasses of beer

Alcohol and your health

Looking to make healthier choices? Try cutting back on the amount you drink, as this can significantly reduce your calorie intake. Not only does alcohol contain 7kcal per gram, but it can also act as an appetite stimulant. Additionally, drinking less alcohol or none at all can help you save money, sleep better, improve concentration and make you feel more positive. All of these factors have recently resulted in an increase in the popularity of low-alcohol and no-alcohol drinks.

If you fancy a lighter version of your favourite tipple, discover our range of low-alcohol and no-alcohol drinks in store, including our alcohol-free G&T can and low-alcohol ciders. 


How much?

Under current guidelines for alcohol consumption, both men and women are advised to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This equates to about five pints of beer, six glasses of wine or seven double gin and tonics. It is also recommended that you don’t ‘save up’ these units for one or two days, but instead spread them over the week. Pregnant women are also advised not to drink alcohol. Find out more from the NHS here

Drink (average ABV) Measure Calories (kcal) Units
Lager (5%) 1 pint (570ml) 239 2.8
Wine (13%) Regular glass (175ml) 133 2.3
Gin (40%)  Double (50ml) 95 2

Wine bottles and glasses of red and white wine
Bottles of red, white and rosé wine with fruit

Tips on cutting down

There are lots of simple ways to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume. Try diluting your drinks, adding diet lemonade to lager to make shandy, or soda water to white wine for a spritzer. Choose smaller sizes or low-alcohol wines and beers, and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks. When pouring at home, use a measure instead of freely pouring, and stick to single measures.

How can we help?
We actively support Drinkaware in helping people to make more informed choices about drinking. We provide unit and calorie information on our alcohol labels to make it easier for you to monitor your alcohol (and calorie) intake. We’ve also developed a range of lower-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails that are available in store now.

Get spirited away! 

Small-batch, carefully crafted spirits made without alcohol are having a moment. Whether you’re doing dry January or just want to shake things up, try them in these deliciously grown-up mocktais using our Caleño dark and spicy. 

Coconut colada (serves 2)

Transport yourself to a tropical paradise with this indulgently creamy creation – kitsch cocktail umbrellas optional

200ml pineapple juice
120ml Caleño dark and spicy 
120ml Plant Kitchen coconut milk
Fresh pineapple pieces, to serve

1. Pour the pineapple juice, Caleño and coconut milk into a blender with a handful of ice and blitz until combined.
2. Serve in tall highball glasses and garnish with the fresh pineapple.

Hedgrow bramble (serves 2)

Fizzy and fruity, this elegant winter aperitif has a delicious hint of warming spice

1 punnet (150g) M&S Select Farms perfectly ripe blackberries
2 tsp stem ginger syrup
1 tbsp caster sugar
100ml Atopia hedgerow
200ml soda water

1. Set aside 2 blackberries to serve, then tip the rest of the punnet into a small saucepan. Add the stem ginger syrup, sugar and 4 tbsp water and simmer over a low heat until the blackberries have broken down. Set aside to cool.
2. Pour a 50ml measure of Atopia hedgerow into each tumbler, and add a couple of ice cubes.
3. Stir through 1 tsp of the blackberry and ginger mix into each glass and top up with soda water. Garnish with the reserved blackberries.


A selection of alcohol-free cocktails
A selection of spiced mocktails

Spiced mocktails 

Shake up a delicious alcohol-free cocktail with our new 0%-alcohol golden spiced drink. This no-booze tipple is delicious served over ice with fiery ginger beer and a wedge of lime, or try one of our tasty ideas below. 

Fancy something comforting? Mix our 0%-alcohol golden spiced with honey, Cook With M&S pumpkin spice seasoning and lemon juice in a mug or glass. Pour over some boiling water and garnish with slices of lemon and a cinnamon stick. 

For a refreshing minty mojito mocktail, muddle mint leaves, sugar and lime juice in a glass. Add a measure of 0%-alcohol golden spiced and fill the glass with ice. Top with soda and garnish with mint leaves and lime. 

For a tropical alcohol-free piña colada, shake the 0%-alcohol golden spiced with coconut cream and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake again. Pour into a glass and garnish with fresh pineapple and toasted coconut flakes. 

Find everything you need to make these fun mocktails, including our 0%-alcohol golden spiced, in store now. 


Botanical mocktails 

Perfect for mocktail hour at home, our 0%-alcohol botanicals is deliciously refreshing and perfect served with tonic and a wedge of lime. Want to pull out all the stops? Take a look at our ideas below. 

For an alcohol-free take on a lemon gin fizz, shake our 0%-alcohol botanicals, lemon juice, Cook With M&S preserved lemon paste, sugar syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake until frothy then add ice and shake again. Strain, top with soda water and garnish with lemon and rosemary.

Love the flavours of cucumber and elderflower? Simply peel cucumber into long strips and swirl around the inside of the glass. Pour in some of our 0%-alcohol botanicals and elderflower cordial. Add ice and top with soda water.

For a perfectly pink drink, squeeze grapefruit juice into a cocktail glass, add the 0%-alcohol botanicals, ice and tonic. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit. 

Pick up our 0%-alcohol botanicals in store now.

Mocktails and 0% alcohol botanicals

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