by Judith Fertig
During jam-packed special occasions like holidays, our drinks should multitask, too. We need festive tipples to refresh us without overdoing it, restore equilibrium if we overeat or drink, or revive us when we’re feeling low from a seasonal cold or flu.
In addition to traditional offerings that family and friends might expect, why not add a new and improved signature drink to everyone’s repertoire?
These feel-good beverages, featuring winter fruits high in vitamin C, anthocyanins, therapeutic herbs and fresh ginger, deliver delicious boosts to help us feel our best.
The season of hospitality is happily also the season of pomegranates, blood oranges and Meyer lemons (a sweeter, thin-skinned, aromatic variety). These vibrant fruits give a taste of good cheer to anything we can pour, shake, muddle or simmer.
Whether we offer fresh-squeezed blood orange juice in the morning, a non-alcoholic cocktail of pomegranate juice and sparkling water, or a squeeze of Meyer lemon juice in a hot toddy or tea, the tart flavor is a sure pick-meup. The red color in antioxidant-rich blood oranges and pomegranates indicates the presence of anthocyanins, compounds that might help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as treat eye disorders, according to an article published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Meyer lemons are a good source of vitamin C, essential for producing collagen needed to support the formation of new bone, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
After an evening of over-imbibing, our systems need to reboot. The stomach needs help in processing alcohol, plus we may be dehydrated and feeling a little queasy. Filtered water, coconut water or a sweet, caffeine-free coffee or carbonated beverage of the lemon-lime variety rehydrate, and help our digestive system break down and flush out the alcohol.
According to Registered Dietitian Aicacia Young, in Austin, Texas, founder of ClimbHealthy.com, the simple act of drinking water before we go to bed can assist in the recovery process.
Research published in the Food & Function journal found that lemon-lime soda helps the body metabolize alcohol better by speeding up its ability to process the compound aldehyde dehydrogenase, the main cause of hangover symptoms. For nausea and motion sickness, ginger or peppermint tea can help, according to studies in the American Journal of Physiology and the French Prescrire International.
Sometimes the stress of holiday to-dos, often combined with travel, can lower the resilience of our immune system. When we feel symptoms of a cold or flu coming on, the classic hot toddy can help us feel human again. The alcohol in whiskey is a natural decongestant; plus, it helps get us to sleep. Honey soothes and perky lemon juice gives us hope that we’ll feel better the next day.
Judith Fertig writes cookbooks and foodie fiction from Overland Park, Kansas. Connect at JudithFertig.com.