Alcohol is rather pervasive in the United States. Not only are advertisements inescapable, but choosing to abstain from a boozy beverage seems unheard of in many circles. And thanks to the pandemic, experts are worried that alcoholism could be on the rise. As it is, alcohol and other illicit drugs play a role in more than 15,000 car injury deaths every year. But now that more Americans are drinking more in order to cope with our new normal, there are concerns about what that could mean for the future.
There are those, however, who are looking to make some positive and healthy changes — even as the pandemic continues. Cutting down on alcohol can be a step in the right direction and can come with a number of medical benefits. Reducing your alcohol intake can protect your heart health, help you sleep better, and even improve your skin. Since the U.S. had the highest number of cosmetic procedures worldwide in 2017, this could be a viable way to look younger for longer. Plus, in the midst of an international health crisis, abstaining from alcohol can improve your immunity and boost your body’s ability to fight off germs. And who doesn’t want that?
Of course, there’s nothing that says cutting down on alcohol has to be boring. Sure, you can drink more water to stay hydrated, but you can also still have fun with what you sip. Around one-third of homeowners say they changed to a healthier lifestyle after remodeling their kitchen, but just getting creative in your existing kitchen can wake up your taste buds in a health-conscious way. To that end, here are just a few healthy mocktail ideas that will make sure you won’t even miss the alcohol.
As we head into fall, sangria can be a festive way to celebrate those last warm days. But now, you can make a version even teetotalers will love. It’s also a great way to use some seasonal fruit selections from your local farmer’s market.
Start by slicing two pears, two apples, and two oranges into three-millimeter pieces or chunks. Then, remove the seeds from one pomegranate and combine the fruit with three cinnamon sticks, three star anises, six slices of ginger, one teaspoon of peppercorns, and five cloves in a bowl or jar. Pour over three cups of pear juice and refrigerate for at least five hours. When you’re ready to serve, add two cups of chilled sparkling water and enjoy the spicy-yet-refreshing flavor.
Sage, Spice, and Cider
Apple picking season is upon us, which means many stores are selling fresh and spiced cider. For this recipe, you’ll also need to find some Sparkling Glogg, which is a unique blend of apple, white grape, and lemon juice concentrates, as well as brewed extracts of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Theoretically, you could make your own version, but you can also see whether it’s carried somewhere in-store near you.
Start by adding fresh ice to two short glasses. In the shaker, combine two sage leaves and crush them to release the flavor. Add freshly grated nutmeg, ice, and four ounces of apple cider. Cover and shake well. Then, pour over the ice and top with Sparkling Glogg. Serve with a fresh apple wedge for garnish. Voila — a fall mocktail that tastes like an orchard in a glass.
Cran-Pom Kombucha Mocktail
Kombucha has been having a moment recently, thanks to its probiotic qualities and distinctive flavor. If you’re trying to abstain from alcohol, kombucha can be a good substitute. Plus, the fruity flavors in this drink can make it a perfect choice to go along with Thanksgiving dinner.
Grab a large pitcher and muddle together some sliced fresh ginger and a chopped sprig of rosemary. You can use a mortar and pestle or a large wooden spoon for this. Then, add 16 ounces of chilled cranberry flavored kombucha and three-quarters of a cup of 100% pomegranate juice. Next, fill four glasses with ice and pour the mixture into each glass. Strain if needed and garnish with a rosemary sprig, extra ginger, and some fresh cranberries. A tart and herbaceous refreshment that will play perfectly off of the tofurkey and mashed potatoes!
With these autumnal recipes in tow, you won’t ever feel wistful for wine or vodka. Simply cozy up with a glass that will restore your good health and tantalize your palate.