Anti-aging Cocktails for the Holiday Season
“If you’re going to indulge in a cocktail,” says Tanya Edwards, MD, “you may as well enjoy one that has some healthful benefits.”
Dr. Edwards, a physician with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, recommends moderation above all, but says that some alcoholic beverages can provide anti-aging, antioxidant and memory-boosting perks. “Instead of having vodka with tonic, have a Bloody Mary and take advantage of the antioxidants and lycopene in the tomato juice mixture,” she says.
One cause of wrinkled skin is the effect of oxidants on the skin. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits, leafy vegetables, wine and chocolate, helps to neutralize free radicals. “As we age, our bodies produce more free radicals, which can damage cells,” says Dr. Edwards. “When we’re young, our bodies easily get rid of these free radicals, but as we age, our bodies have to work harder. However, we can help our bodies get rid of these by consuming foods that have antioxidants built in.”
Dr. Edwards teamed up with Rob Turek, a mixologist at Cleveland’s Barley House, on an episode of television’s “Dr. Oz Show” to create three anti-aging cocktail recipes: the Memory-Boosting Bloody Mary, the Heart Smart Cooler and the Anti-Wrinkle Chocolatini.
Memory-Boosting Bloody Mary
Turmeric has been shown to boost memory and adds a nice spice to the vegetable juice, which is a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. The black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric, says Dr. Edwards. And don’t forget the celery stalk – it’s also an antioxidant.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 tbsp kale
2 tsp fresh ginger
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 oz vodka
4 oz tomato-based vegetable juice
1 celery stalk, for garnish
Purée kale using a blender or food processor. Grate ginger into a bowl.
Combine puréed kale, ginger, ground pepper and turmeric in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Add vodka and vegetable juice, and shake. Strain over glass filled with ice, and garnish with celery before serving.
The Heart-Smart Cooler can be served with or without alcohol. The berries and juice are high in antioxidants, as well as the garnish of fresh basil and mint leaves. Dr. Edwards recommends adding a bit of stevia if a sweeter taste is preferred.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 tbsp blueberries
1 tbsp blackberries
4-6 leaves mint
2-3 leaves basil
1/2 oz pomegranate or cranberry juice
1/2 oz green tea
4 oz seltzer water
Basil sprigs, for garnish
Mint sprigs, for garnish
In a tall glass, muddle blueberries, blackberries, mint and basil.
Add juice and tea and top with seltzer. Garnish with basil and mint sprigs, and serve with a straw. Add three to four ounces of red wine (also high in antioxidants!) to make a refreshing wine cooler.
The walnuts rimming the glass serve double-duty, according to Dr. Edwards. In addition to being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, they are also an anti-inflammatory. Be sure to use dark chocolate liqueur and dark chocolate shavings for the garnish, which have antioxidant and anti-wrinkle effects.
Makes 1 cocktail
1/4 cup ground walnuts
1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz Irish cream liqueur
1/2 oz dark chocolate liqueur
Orange wedge, for rimming glass
Dark chocolate shavings, for garnish
Spread ground walnuts on a flat surface. Rim edge of a martini glass with orange wedge to coat with juice. Then turn glass upside down and press rim into ground walnuts.
In a shaker filled with ice, combine Irish cream liqueur, vodka and dark chocolate liqueur.
Shake contents and strain into martini glass. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings and enjoy!
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