Friday, December 31, 2010

How To Make A Virgin Cosmo - Ways To Avoid A Hangover On New Year's Eve

Virgin Cosmo
Are You Celebrating the End of 2010 or Just Glad That It's Over?
There are many years when we feel blessed and look back with joy over the many happy events that transpired. And then there are times when we end the year feeling as though we were run over by a freight train and are just happy to see it end.  In either case, whether we are joyous or trying to drown our sorrows, tradition has us breaking out the hooch.
The beginning of a year should bring us new goals and hope for the future. We need to feel our best and start the year grounded and inspired. Unfortunately, many a new year’s celebration leaves us crawling out of the bed the next morning wondering how we are going to get through the day, no less the next year. I’m not saying to skip that New Year’s Eve party. I’d just like to share some tips on how to have a good time and not regret it in the morning.

Feeling good about yourself
Whenever I drink a glass of club soda or some faux alcoholic concoction, I think of Robin Williams’ “Live at the Met” performance.  In the skit, he is a recovering alcoholic (which, as it turns out, was not a stretch).  He’s standing at a party with a glass of club soda, obviously upset as he watches others with real drinks. His hand is shaking so badly that the soda is pouring all over the place and he looks out and proclaims,  “I feel so f&%$’ing good about myself”! 
Comedy skit aside, waking up without a hangover on New Year’s Day does make you feel good about yourself. The best I’ve ever felt about myself on New Year’s Day was when Doug and I ran a 5K fun run at midnight on New Years. But that’s not very practical, especially in the many parts of the country buried in snow right now.

Preventing a Hangover
The most fail-safe way of preventing a hangover is to eat more and drink less. To do this, you need a plan BEFORE you start, otherwise you won’t make very good decisions once your start drinking. Here are a few tips:
• Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Munch on something high in fat, like nuts. Better yet, have a full meal.
• Pick one alcoholic beverage for the night. Don’t mix. Lighter alcohols, like vodka or white wine, are less damaging than dark liquors, like bourbon. Darker alcohols contain more congeners - the toxins that are formed during fermentation. Congeners are responsible for the hangover “headache”. Red wine has more congeners than white wine.
• A good B complex multi vitamin, containing vitamin B1, will help break down alcohol.
• Drinking one or two non-alcoholic drinks (see recipe for a Virgin Cosmo) or a tall glass of water for each alcoholic drink you consume will help keep you hydrated. Or stick with the Virgin Cosmos all night and skip the alcohol completely.
• I always take milk thistle before going to bed as it helps protects the liver against toxicity from alcohol. It works like a charm!

Cosmo vs. Virgin Cosmo
It’s hard to stand around at a party with a glass of water in your hand. But having a nice martini glass with a Virgin Cosmo makes it a lot easier. Besides the hangover factor, compare the calories in a regular vs. a Virgin Cosmo.

A single regular Cosmo has:
1 ½ oz Vodka
¾ oz Triple Sec
1 oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz cranberry juice

This 4 oz. serving has 192 calories and 14 grams of carbohydrates. The calories can add up pretty quickly.

Concentrated cranberry juice

Virgin Cosmo
[makes 2 drinks]
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Pellegrino sparkling water
2 tablespoons cranberry juice concentrate
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
4 teaspoons agave nectar

Shake with ice and serve in a martini glass or mix and serve with ice in a cocktail glass.
Each 4 oz serving is only 68.5 calories and 18 grams of carbohydrates. 
For fewer calories, replace some or all of the agave nectar with a few drops of liquid stevia. For variation, try replacing the cranberry juice with pomegranate concentrate. 

Happy New Year!
I'll be back tomorrow with my annual New Year's Black Eyed Pea recipe to bring us luck in 2011!

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