Don’t resort to Diet Coke- soft drinks have so much to give if you make them the star of the show. Whether you’re catering for designated drivers, mums-to-be or other non-drinkers, the following will spice up any booze-free bar, and if you’re looking for a healthier standard cocktail option, we’ve snuck one of those in here too. Basically, there’s something for everyone, from the green juice devotee to the Mojito fiend, and if you are planning on popping bottles over party season, wellbeing expert Calgary Avansino has a few pointers for feeling fresh rather than foggy before, during and after festive meals and meets.
Whether you don’t drink or are having a day off the sauce, here are a few ideas to keep non-boozy Christmas drinks interesting, with one ever so slightly alcoholic inclusion for good measure…
6 mint leaves
2 wedges of lime
30ml apple juice
20ml lime juice
15ml elderflower cordial
1 sprig mint
Muddle mint leaves- press down with a muddler on 6 mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass to extract the juices and flavour.
Add apple juice, lime juice and elderflower cordial to a glass.
Using a jigger, measure 30ml of apple juice, 20ml lime juice and 15ml elderflower cordial into a tall glass.
Add crushed ice and stir.
Fill the glass with crushed ice, and stir the drink with a bar spoon.
Top up with soda water.
Top up the drink with 40ml soda water.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Place a sprig of mint at an angle against the rim of the glass to garnish.
Imbibery Immune Boosting Mulled Juice
2 cups baby spinach, packed together
1-2 pears, depending on size
One piece of ginger cut and peeled - roughly 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm
1/4 lemon wedge
Wash all the ingredients well and peel the ginger.
Juice all the ingredients but the lemon. Juice spinach first, then ginger, then pear (to help really push the ginger through).
Place the juice in a pan and place on stovetop. Heat on low for about 45 seconds until the mixture is tepid or warmed. S
Squeeze the juice from the quarter lemon, stir and pour in a mug. You may want to put a cinnamon stick in as well for garnish.
Calgary Avansino’s Zesty Ginger Lime Mocktail
350ml of Highland Spring still water
A two-inch piece of fresh ginger root, chopped
450 milliliters of Highland Spring sparkling water
1 tsp zested ginger
1 tsp stevia (natural sweetener available in most supermarkets)
50ml lime juice (freshly squeezed)
Lime wedges, to serve
First, you need to make the “ginger tea”, which is best done ahead of time. In a saucepan, bring Highland Spring still water to a boil, add the ginger root and leave to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Drain the ginger root out and chill the remaining liquid in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your drink.
Next, mix the tea with the Highland Spring sparkling water, grated ginger, stevia and lime juice.
Combine well and, when ready, pour your mocktail over ice and garnish with lime wedges.
Autumn Sparkle Mocktail
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Juice of 1/4 orange
1 tsp organic honey
Top with Highland Spring sparkling water
Garnish with orange peel and lemon peel
Add all ingredients except the Highland Spring sparkling water to a tumbler. Ensure all are well mixed before adding ice.
Finally top up with Highland Spring sparkling water and garnish with the orange and lemon peels.
*Alcohol Klaxon*: Calgary Avansino’s Low-Sugar Margarita
Enough sea salt flakes to cover the bottom of a small plate
50ml larger shot size or 25ml smaller shot size of tequila
3 tbsp (1 ounce) lime juice
¼ tsp orange extract
½ tsp stevia (natural sweetener)
Small handful of ice
2 tbsp Highland Spring sparkling water
Slice of lime, to serve
Wet the rim of a margarita glass with water and dip it into a plate of salt to create your rim of salt.
Next, combine the tequila, lime juice (freshly squeezed is best), orange extract, stevia and ice. Shake it all up in a cocktail mixer until combined.
Then add the Highland Spring sparkling water at the end. Serve with a slice of lime.
Calgary’s top tips for feeling good over the festive season
Alcohol is extremely dehydrating, so if you are drinking, it is always a good idea to ensure that you’re hydrating healthily and adding a glass of water between each drink. Not only will it help you rehydrate but it will also help prevent a stinking hangover the next day and will likely stop you drinking quite so much alcohol, meaning the night out will cost you less too. And when you get home, drink a large glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in – it works for a speedier recovery!
Mixer - check
When you’re mixing spirits, use it as an opportunity to curb how much sugar you’re consuming. Rather than having lemonade, soda’s, fruit juices or sweetened mixers, try sparkling water instead with some lemon or lime squeezed in. And stay away from colorful mixed drinks, frozen “dessert” drinks and after-dinner liqueurs - they are all packed with sugar.
It’s important to view every meal as a fresh start. Just because you might have indulged at lunch, it doesn’t mean you should make poor choices at dinner. Each meal is a new opportunity to eat well and fuel yourself with nutritionally dense foods. It doesn’t help you create a positive relationship with food if you beat yourself up about something that has happened in the past. Think ahead!
Curb the guilt
Try to acknowledge and address your feelings of guilt realistically when you do “indulge” over the festive period. Dwelling on the guilt will just lead to a negative mindset about food that can encourage binge eating and an all-or-nothing mentality about eating. Treat yourself without feeling rubbish about it and then move on. A mince pie or two isn’t going to get you down or ruin the way you eat if you don’t let it.
The festive season has become so busy with a million different pressures pulling us this way and that. So much so that we have forgotten to focus on the most important elements of the holiday season. We need to re-embrace the essentials that help us stay positive, take stock of our lives and focus on joy. This is the season to be grateful – to really think (even write down) all we have to be grateful for and then give generously to those that don’t have as much. I’m not talking about gifts; I’m talking about giving your time, your thoughtfulness and your attention. Focusing on these elements of the season will bring you and others fulfillment and joy like nothing else can.