I don’t know about you, but I am drinking a lot less alcohol than I did several years ago. Apart from the obvious drawbacks (impaired judgement, loss of self-control, and ugh – hangovers!), once I learned that alcohol increases my risk for breast cancer (and other cancers) it was important to me to limit my consumption. My mother died from breast cancer, and I’d like to avoid it.
As far as other health concerns, while there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that moderate drinking (one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men) contributes to our risk for obesity, there IS a connection between heavy drinking and belly fat. That’s another thing I don’t need.
I don’t think I am alone in foregoing alcohol because I see that recipes for “mocktails” are trending upward. A mocktail is a non-alcoholic version of a cocktail. In the past they would have been referred to as “virgin” and, we are all familiar with drinks like the “Virgin” Pina Colada or Bloody Mary. I like the mocktail appellation better.
Mocktails are great for those times when you feel like a special beverage is in order but still choose to abstain from alcohol. Modern mixologists are getting very creative with new recipes. You can find them on restaurant menus and there are Facebook pages and websites devoted to mocktail recipes. I’ve experimented with a few of these and thought I would share one that I served recently to close friends for a special holiday lunch:
Cranberry Moscow Mule Mocktail
· 1 wedge orange
· 2 oz cranberry juice
· 4 oz light ginger beer (or diet ginger ale)
· Orange slices, cranberries, or cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
Instructions: Fill a mug or double old-fashioned glass with ice. (I made extra fancy ice cubes by freezing a fresh cranberry, thin slice of orange, and a mint leaf in each ice cube.) Squeeze orange wedge over the ice. Add in cranberry juice and ginger beer and stir. Garnish if desired.
Whether you choose to be adventurous and order a mocktail or just stick to NA beer, I hope you will join me in drinking less alcohol in general. It’s better for your long-term health, better for your waistline, and you can ensure the safety of your friends by always being the designated driver.