After the joys of the traditional season of liver abuse many people are turning to Dry January to make them feel better and to give their bodies a break.
I won’t be joining them, because I’m going to be recovering from an operation on my wrist. So, far from recovering from too much alcohol (which isn’t really my thing anyway), I will be battling post-operative pain.
Of course, following my mantra of “yummy, healthy nutrition”, my mind turned to “What To Drink When Alcohol’s Off the Menu” (for whatever reason that may be).
So for those of you who aren’t boozers or who are committed to completing a Dry January, I thought I’d share my ruminations (with a little help from my pal Gay Darke) on non-alcoholic drinks – and they’re still not for children!
First of all, please bear in mind that plenty of fizzy water is essential. See if you can find it in glass bottles. Not only is it better for the planet, it seems to keep the fizz longer and tastes nicer. Supermarkets stock Pellegrino and of course Perrier, or you can get Strathmore from Majestic (sometimes – ring ahead!). Elsewhere you can find local fizzy water, for example Stream Farm in Somerset carbonate and bottle their own spring water and deliver to Bristol and some of the south east! (Check out streamfarm.co.uk to find out if they deliver to your area.)
Fizzy water with a dash of Angostura bitters, fresh herbs, ice and slices is a very refreshing drink, but here are some more festive offerings to make you feel as thought Christmas isn’t really over! (All of the below make at least 2 drinks).
1. Sharon fruit cup: puree 2 ripe Sharon fruit (aka Persimmon), half a pint of fizzy water, the juice of a lime and some ice, and decorate with star anise. Makes 2 tall glasses.
2. Mulled apple juice: It’s a classic. Make sure you use really decent quality apple juice, which goes beautifully with the spices. Stud a Satsuma with cloves, and heat gently with a cinnamon stick and a couple of cardamom pods for 20 mins.
3. Darjeeling single malt: Cold brew a litre of Darjeeling (Just take 4 tsp Darjeeling tea, and add 750ml of cold water and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. A clean jar is fine, you don’t need a specialist cold brewing bottle). Add a couple of cubes of ice, and thin slices of clementine. You don’t get the tannins with a cold brew, so it’s smoother and richer on the palate, not just a glass of cold tea 😉
4. Pomegranate flip: half pint pomegranate juice, the juice of half a lime, 1 egg white, 4 ice cubes (crushed if you have it). Shake well in a cocktail shaker, or use a smoothie maker. Serve in a martini glass!
5. Espresso mocktini: 2 shots espresso (you can use decaf if you’re not planning on dancing the night away!), 1 tsp date syrup, ¼ pint white grape juice. Shake with ice and serve in a martini glass (naturally!).
6. Mulled cranberry juice: Biona do unsweetened super special organic cranberry juice. Not only is it incredibly rich in antioxidants and great for hormonal and urinary health, and it’s proper festive! It’s the same price as a half decent bottle of wine, so if you’re on the wagon I say that’s a bargain. It’s also available in some independent health food shops or online. Warm very gently with star anise, cinnamon and a couple of clementines or an orange, cut in half. Taste just before serving and add a little honey or a drop of apple or orange juice. This cranberry juice is also delightful in a flute topped with fizzy water.
7. Lychee snowball: 10 lychees (stoned & peeled) into a smoothie maker with half a pint of fizzy water and an egg white. Sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon to serve.
8. Chestnut latte: heat 500ml A2 milk/almond milk/cashew milk. In a pyrex make a paste of 2 tbs chestnut puree, 1-2 tbs date syrup or honey, and a little of your choice of milk, then slowly add the hot milk. Whisk to froth. Return to the pan if it’s not warm enough, or to reheat. Decorate with a little cocoa powder and nutmeg. You can serve this chilled too.
9. Lemon rosemary fizz: Juice 2 lemons and infuse with a sprig of rosemary for an hour or so. Add half a pint of fizzy water and some ice cubes to a smoothie maker, the lemon (minus the herbs!) and a tsp honey. Blitz until frothy and smooth, decorate with a small sprig of rosemary
10. Pink grapefruit punch: cold brew gunpowder green tea (same method as above) and mix in equal quantity with pink grapefruit juice. Serve over ice.
Whilst it’s great to use the beginning of a new year as a reason to make changes, and perhaps recover from some bad drink decisions across the festive period, there’s no reason not to change some habits in the longer term and choose a delicious mocktail that won’t leave you reeling (well maybe they will but is a very good way!!).
And reducing your alcohol intake will improve the quality of your sleep, lift your mood, prevent overindulgence on salty snacks and chocs, and keep your jeans fitting into well towards the summer!
And these recipes are all imbued with fabulous health benefits to boot, so delight in being kind to yourself during Dry January and let the glow be from your abundant health – not the harsh winter winds…