Alcohol-free ways to raise a toast this season
BY JOY MANNING
Every year, a great deal of advice is dispensed about how to avoid weight gain and stick to healthy foods during the swath of deep-fried, sugary days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Less discussed is another form of overindulgence that can impede an otherwise healthy lifestyle: near-constant boozing.
“There can be so many parties that drinking and even excess drinking can seem like the norm,” says Deni Carise, the deputy chief clinical health officer at CRC Health and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “Even modest drinking can affect decision making.” And whether you want to steer clear of gossip at the office fete, fights with your father at family get-togethers or productivity-killing hangovers, it’s a smart idea to earmark certain parties as alcohol-free zones. You’ll enjoy better rest, fewer calories, a healthier liver and your friends’ goodwill when you volunteer as designated driver on those nights.
A good strategy for staying sober without giving up the holiday cheer is to substitute your usual tipple with a glass of a tasty, alcohol-free beverage. Several great options are made here in the Philadelphia area. “Don’t be shy about bringing your own beverages,” says Carise. But with elixirs that taste this good, you may want to bring enough to share.
This bracing tonic, made from ginger, cayenne, lemons and herbs is powerfully refreshing. Poured over ice, its complexity is on par with your favorite fancy cocktail. It mixes well with sparkling water for a zippy spritzer. Heated, it can stand in for a hot toddy. Available at Whole Foods Market, Di Bruno Bros. and Essene or online at drinkjinja.com
AYALA’S HERBAL WATER
For something worthy of a Champagne flute, try the sparkling versions of this herbal-infused water. The ginger-lemon peel and cinnamonorange peel have flavors that are well matched to the season. Ayala’s new herbal teas are smart subs as well—poured into a wine glass, you could mistake the rooibos, cinnamon and rose petal flavor for a rosé. Available at Whole Foods Market and Essene or online at herbalwater.com
GREEN AISLE GROCERY’S HOUSEMADE SHRUBS
These vinegar-based mixers, in flavors such as honey grape, cardamom grape and plum grape, are made from local ingredients. Mixed with water or sparkling water, they make for a sweet-and-sour drink that is a flavorful alternative to plain old H2O. Available at Green Aisle Grocery, 1618 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, greenaislegrocery.com