28 October 2004

Methodist Church launches campaign encouraging sensible drinking

"Mocktails" competition to promote having fun without losing control

The Methodist Church will launch a new competition alongside the release of the new Bridget Jones film aiming to encourage sensible drinking among younger women. The competition will find the best recipes for Mocktails - alcohol-free cocktails - to show that people can have fun without heavy drinking.
The competition will be promoted by a colourful postcard that will be distributed in British cinemas alongside the upcoming movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, in 11 major cities. The postcard contains both an entry form for contestants to create a Tiny Knickers Mocktail and a card for women to send the Big Pants Mocktail recipe to their friends. The postcards are backed up with an animated website which has further Mocktail recipes, games and information.

But the campaign has a serious message alongside the fun. A number of surveys have shown a recent increase in heavy drinking by younger women. Government statistics show that nearly one-third of women aged 18 to 24 binge drink. This leaves them vulnerable not only to the sort of alcohol-related problems and accidents that affect everybody, but also to the dangers of sexual assault and the consequences of unprotected sex. The main audience of the Bridget Jones books and movies are women in the 20s and 30s, and this is also the group of women showing the greatest problems with binge drinking.

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, says "There has been an increasing trend for young women to drink heavily on nights out as evidenced by recent media reports of 'ladette' culture. Taking a more responsible attitude to alcohol should not prevent people having fun but allows women to remain in control. Women are more vulnerable to crime, sexual assault and the consequences of having unprotected sex as well as longer-term health problems if they drink large qualities of alcohol on a night out. Drinking Mocktails is not only enjoyable but because of the appearance of the drink no one need know that they don't contain alcohol."

Anthea adds: "I'm sure women going to see the Bridget Jones film will be attracted to the postcards. The idea is that women will be encouraged to have a Mocktail making party with their friends, or ask for non-alcoholic alternatives when out partying. Whilst the message is a serious one, the emphasis is that you can still enjoy yourself whilst remaining safe."

Big Pants Mocktail
Half fill a tall glass with crushed ice. Pour over equal parts of orange and mango juice. Top up with plenty of ginger ale. Add a dash of grenadine. Garnish with a slice of lime - or a cherry if you prefer.

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