We adore Grace Palmer and Good Grief, the snortingly funny show she co-wrote (with her sister Eve) and stars in. Following Grace on Instagram and TikTok, she seems like the ultimate fun guest to have at your party.
So when we heard she was doing Dry July, we were intrigued, and our first question was - is it possible to be a good time sober? Grace readily admits to having this fear the first time she stopped drinking. “I love being the life of the party, and often worried I wouldn’t be if I didn’t drink.”
Grace says the key is in the people you surround yourself with. “If you’re like me and struggle with social anxiety - the company you keep is crucial. Good vibes only.” By surrounding herself with good people, she’s way less self-conscious and “free to be me (whatever that looks like)”.
We met Grace at the AF Drinks pop-up store in Auckland’s Ponsonby Central for insight into her reasons for going dry, as well as some great tips and tricks for how to have a great time along the way.
As with everything she does, Grace makes being sober look like a great time, and at once both relatable and aspirational. We’re excited to join her on this journey.
Why are you interested in going dry this July?
I love the ritual of celebratory bubbles, or a G&T in the sun, but alcohol doesn’t always agree with me and I have to listen to my body. I also think it’s wise to shine a little light on our drinking habits and whether they’re healthy.
How would you describe your relationship with alcohol?
I’ve never been a regular drinker. I don’t drink throughout the week, but I love a party so will often drink socially on the weekends. About six years ago I was hospitalised with pancreatitis - It wasn’t alcohol related, but I was unable to drink alcohol for a year. Since then, too much booze f…s with my tummy.
Have you gone ‘dry’ for significant amounts of time before?
Yeah, my husband and I do a couple of months sober every year. It’s slightly more challenging for Rawiri, as he really misses the afterwork beer(s), but he only complains for the first week or so haha.
How do you find it?
It’s an interesting social experiment. I realised that it’s only hard saying no to the first round of drinks. After that, people get progressively drunker around me and I’m not interested in playing catch up. I was a bit self-conscious at first, cause I thought if people knew I wasn’t drinking then they might not bother inviting me to stuff, but that so wasn’t the case!
Have you come up against any unexpected challenges or surprises so far?
We’re actually heading overseas, and I was really looking forward to a cocktail on the beach. However, mocktails are just as yummy, and I won’t risk wasting any days due to a hangover. I’m useless on a hangover.
You lead a very healthy, active lifestyle, how do you think drinking less is going to benefit that?
I eat well and exercise often. I prioritise these things for my mental health, and drinking less definitely keeps me on track. Like I said, I don’t operate well on a hangover - you’ll find me in bed watching trashy TV and UberEats’ing myself Burger King. If I can avoid this for a while, I’ll be happy.
What improvements do you notice to your overall wellbeing when you don’t drink?
My friend and I were chatting about this the other day. We agreed that we felt like we had more mental clarity. It’s hard to explain, but it’s kinda like the feeling you get after meditating? This has a flow on effect and positively influences my ability to exercise, socialise, and focus. I’m really selling it aren’t I? I should stop drinking more often.
What do you think of alcohol free options these days?
There’s heaps out there, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve never really been recommended any, but am always keen to try new options. I feel like the alcohol industry has a louder voice - it would be awesome to hear more from our non-alcoholic brands.
What’s your ideal night out?
I always have the best nights with my girlfriends. They bring out the best in me. Ideally, we’d start with a boujee dinner, followed by some cocktails, and then to a house party of some dancing. Heaps of dancing. Maybe even karaoke? I’m partial to some karaoke.
And the perfect weekend?
A roadie with my hubby to a beautiful beach. We bought a rooftop tent and it’s been a game changer. There are so many awesome camping spots that are driving distance from Tāmaki, and waking up by the beach is unbeatable.
Favourite AF Drink?
The Classic G&T. They really nailed the flavour! It tastes just like the perfect gin & tonic. So refreshing.
What were some of your favourite discoveries at the Curious AF Bottle Shop?
It’s so chic, and the staff are amazing. There’s a massive variety of options, and they even do taste testing. I tried the AF Aperol Spritz and damn it was delicious! The Dark & Stormy was also a personal fave.