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10 Great Holiday Drink Ideas

10 Great Holiday Drink Ideas

The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without some luscious libations to share with friends and family, so here’s a list of festive drinks that are sure to please everyone on your list.

1. Candy Cane Martini

Candy Cane Martini

    Sweet and minty, the Candy Cane Cocktail/Martini blends strawberry or pomegranate vodka with cranberry juice and crème de menthe for a cool, refreshing winter pick-me-up. If you’d like to get all fancy-pants with it, consider crushing some candy canes and tossing the resulting dust with red sugar crystals (normally used for decorating cookies) to rim your cocktail glasses with before pouring. For a “virgin” version, just blend cranberry and strawberry juice with a few drops of mint extract.

    2. Cranberry Mimosa

    Also known as Poinsettia Mimosas, this cheerful little cocktail is a festive alternative to the classic breakfast mimosa recipe. You can make these with the traditional champagne and Triple Sec, or create a non-alcoholic version with carbonated apple juice and orange or cherry syrup. Note: the alcohol-free version is a great treat to make kids feel special on Christmas morning—serve it up in plastic champagne flutes (like the kind that come with picnic sets), toss in some maraschino cherries, and watch smiles light up around the table.

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    3. Glögg

    Glogg

      Glögg (say it aloud a couple of times just for fun) is a hot spiced wine that’s a traditional yuletide drink in Scandinavian countries. Wine and brandy are mixed together and warmed in a pot on the stove. To that, you add cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, orange peel, apple slices, whole cloves, and sugar, and let it simmer for 40 min or so to let all the spicy flavours develop. Depending on how much brandy you add to it, this drink can pack quite a kick. If you’d prefer a non-inebriating version, use apple cider instead of wine, and skip the brandy.

      4. Pomegranate Punch

      Pomegranate Punch

        Limeade and Prosecco team up to create this sparkling, beautiful punch. Pomegranates are stunning indulgences during the holiday season, and their tart juice pairs wonderfully with sweet bubbles. Just empty a bottle of Prosecco (or another sweet sparkling wine) into a glass punch bowl, and add in the limeade, pomegranate juice, and either orange or cranberry juice. Float some lime slices and whole pomegranate seeds on top, and dip in! For a kid-friendly version, swap out the Prosecco in favour of carbonated white grape juice.

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        5. Hot Buttered Rum

        Hot Buttered Rum

          Memories of rural England come to mind with every sip of this drink. Butter (or Earth Balance for a vegan version) is blended with brown sugar or maple syrup, and a pinch each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This mixture is refrigerated until set, and then a couple of tablespoons are ladled into each mug. 2-3 oz of dark rum is then added (or more…I’d say fill the mug halfway), and then boiling water is poured in to melt the buttery mixture and heat up the lot. This is a ridiculously strong, calorie-laden drink that’s sure to knock out even the most obstinate uncle.

          6. Irish Coffee

          Irish Coffee

            The perfect way to start a holiday morning: a good, strong cup of coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey, some brown sugar, and lightly whipped cream. If there’s a long day full of dealing with relatives ahead, you might as well fortify yourself nice and early.

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            7. The Reindeer Caesar

            The Reindeer Caesar

              For those of you who like more savoury drinks, there’s always the Reindeer Caesar: it starts off like a regular Caesar—with Clamato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and a dash of hot sauce (try Sriracha!)—and then you just add extra celery, maybe a lettuce leaf, and some nutmeg to make it more “festive”.  Hey, after you’ve knocked a few back, you’ll find a way to re-name just about anything to make it Christmassy.

              8. Angel Kisses

              Angel Kisses

                The holidays are usually rife with angels of all shapes and sizes, so raise a toast to these celestial spectres with an Angel Kiss Cocktail. Made with crème de cacao and heavy cream, this isn’t a drink for dieters: it’s creamy and sweet, and downright sinful. Note that despite the word “crème” in the title, crème de cacao is actually vegan (there’s no dairy in it: the creaminess is in reference to the texture, not the ingredients), and you can easily substitute coconut cream for the dairy. Top the lot with your favourite whipped topping and a cherry, and slurp away.

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                9. Super-Festive Hot Chocolate

                Hot chocolate

                  Is there anything more warming to the soul than a mug of hot cocoa? Wrapping your hands around a steaming cup of sweet chocolate-y goodness after being out in the cold is absolutely glorious, and there aren’t many people who don’t love this wintertime indulgence. By making your own, you can adjust the sugar content to suit your own tastes, and you can dress it up as you like by adding whipped toppings, chocolate shavings, or peppermint schnapps.

                  10. Hammered “Tool Man” Taylor

                  I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t have a favourite holiday movie, be it A Christmas Story, Gremlins, How the Grinch stole Christmas, or the Santa Clause. If your favourite is the last one on that list, you’re in luck: there’s a special drink waiting just for you. Absinthe and orange bitters meet simple syrup and either crushed ice or water for a libation that’s sure to leave you seeing elves.

                   

                  Happy Holidays!

                  Featured photo credit:  Classical martini in chilled glass via Shutterstock

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                  Catherine Winter

                  Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                  Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                  To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                  Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                  1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                  Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                  Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                  To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                  2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                  Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                  If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                  Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                  3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                  Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                  Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                  4. Feed Your Brain

                  Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                  This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                  Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                  Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                  5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                  According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                  Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                  Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                  6. Write it Down

                  If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                  It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                  You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                  7. Listen to Music

                  Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                  8. Visual Concepts

                  In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                  Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                  Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                  9. Teach Someone Else

                  Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                  Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                  10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                  Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                  So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                  Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                  More About Boosting Memory

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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