Libations are unlimited this time of year. It starts with the champagne and wine at Thanksgiving (who am I kidding it starts with the “witches brew” at Halloween.) and keeps flowing on through the holidays with everything from wassail, egg nog and more spirits. It ends with more champagne on New Year’s Eve. We love all the drinking, but the calories add up. Why not scale back? Start sipping these tasty temptations to get your New Year started on a healthy note.
Cinnamon & Cider
The antioxidants in cinnamon help to regulate your blood sugar and have been known to slow tumor growth. The cider from the apples is a great way to get added fiber and take note of the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Just heat up the cider in a saucepan for a big batch. Add in two cinnamon sticks, a dash of clove, a spoonful of honey, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and two lemons and orange rind peels for a festive mix that combines beautifully with ¾ cup of apple brandy. Heat and serve.
Take that inexpensive bottle of red you keep handy and uncork it for this beverage. The heart-healthy, chock full of antioxidants red wine is great for your daily health when imbibed in moderation.
Pour the bottle of red wine into a large saucepan. In a cheesecloth (for whole spices) or with powdered spices add in the zest from one lemon and one orange. Mix in 1/2 tbsp. ginger, nutmeg, clove and 1 tbsp. of cinnamon. Heat over a low temperature until warm and infused, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with a garnish of lemon or orange slices. Add in a teaspoon of honey for sweetness to individual servings.
Fizzy & Fantastic
When it comes to celebrations nothing says good cheer like champagne. This version of the classic cocktail the French 75 combines blood oranges for a healthful twist with a twist. Pun intended. Mix up a batch at your next party.
Using about a pound (3 oranges) of blood oranges, cut one orange in half. Divide each half into six sections to use as garnish for the champagne glasses. Remove the peel and pith from the other two remaining oranges. Chop them, place in a bowl and mash. Add 1 ½ cups of gin, 2 tbsp. of sugar, and ½ tsp. of angostura bitters and mix together. Take two bottles of champagne or sparkling wine and pour into 12 champagne glasses. Add 1-2 tbsp. of gin mixture to each glass. Garnish with orange slices and serve. Cheers!