Vanilla Bourbon Apple Cider

“Eggnog or apple cider?” should be the toughest question you have to ask yourself this weekend.

Christmasukkah is almost here and I couldn’t be more excited to flee the city and swap out smog for some snow.

I can’t promise you that no strained political commentary will make its way onto the dinner table as we inch closer to the apex of the holiday season. But my Vanilla Bourbon Apple Cider will for damn sure give you enough confidence to finally tell your sister-in-law that her fruitcake tastes like the tire of a dump truck.

Why make cocktails from scratch, you ask?? Much like cooking a meal at home, it’s more fun to consume something you (all by yo’ bad self) created. Plus, the syrups used in most bars are packed with sugar and freaky-deaky ingredients. Trust me when I say that Santa wouldn’t touch them dranks with a 10 foot pole.

This Cider is made with fresh-pressed apples. The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doc away” undeniably has some merit. The famous Nurses’ Health Study showed a 21% decrease in lung cancer in those who consumer higher amounts of apples. In the large scale Women’s Health study, women eating apples had a 13-22% decrease in cardiovascular disease. Another study showed a direct relationship between apple intake and lower asthma levels. Similar studies have shown lower levels of Type II diabetes in those who consume apples regularly. Plus, all of the antioxidants inside these fruits have protective effects on cancer cell growth. Combine that with the blood sugar regulating properties of cinnamon and BOOM– how ’bout them apples.

This drink is warming, subtly sweet, and slightly spicy– the perfect beverage to sip on when you want something boozy with a nutritional boost. It’s also an excellent libation to bring to a holiday parade while you’re standing on the sidewalk freezing your nuts off waving to Santa. Additionally, it’s a great choice to bring to a Christmas party you thought was Ugly Sweater themed, only it wasn’t.

Cheers, my dears. Here’s to a brighter, yummier, more beautiful New Year. See ya in 2017 🙂

Vanilla Bourbon Apple Cider

Makes: 2 dranks

  • 2 lbs of gala apples (or other sweet variety), freshly juiced
    • alternatively, you can use 2 cups of freshly pressed all-natural apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1, 2″ piece vanilla bean
    • alternatively, you can use 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  1. Combine apple juice, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla bean or extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gently simmer for 5-7 minutes, until bubbly and fragrant.
  2. Remove from heat. If using freshly juiced apples, strain the mixture into a bowl. If using apple juice, skip this step and simply scoop out the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean with a slotted spoon. Don’t worry about scooping out the vanilla bean if you used extract, obvs.
  3. Stir in the bourbon and then divide the mixture evenly into cups or mason jars. Plop a cinnamon stick or two back into each drink if you fancy a fancy drink.

Chai Spiced Mango Lassi

Mmmmmmm Lassi…not pronounced like the brave fictional English Rough Collie, by the way, kids.


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A Lassi (pronounced Luss-y, actually) is a traditional Indian beverage who’s tart, tangy, incredibly refreshing flavor and creamy, dreamy deliciousness might as well be considered the nectar of the gods. When your mouth is on fire from hoarding all the Curry you could get your grubby little fingers on, a Lassi quickly becomes the Fire Blanket and the ultimate tasty superhero savior. Lassi > water, any. friggen. day. H2O, you’re obvs kinda important, but the mixture of juicy mango and subtly sweet yogurt combined with a pinch of aromatic cardamom just beats you with a stick. Sowey not sowey.

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What is cardamom?? Ever wonder what it is about Chai tea that gives it its unique spicy sweet taste? Cardamom originally hails from tropical regions of India, Nepal, and South Asia and comes in small green pods that you grind into a fine powder. It’s useful in a wide range of ways including blood-clotting, bacteria fighting, and increasing blood circulation. It’s also mega high in manganese which among many other functions, helps the body form sex hormones. Get it in yo diet so you can get it on. Need I say more? Didn’t think so, boss.

The best part?! This could totes be your new breakfast smoothie…it’s super high in protein (I fancy Fage 2% Greek yogurt and one cup gets you 20 grams worth) which is key for feeling full + satisfied until lunch time rolls around. Yogurt also gives you those tummy-yummy probiotics I’m such a big fan of.

SO you’ve got fats and protein from the yogurt and fiber and carbs from the fruit all for ~260 calories in a breakfast or snack that tastes just like dessert. You’re set, man.

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Chai Spiced Mango Lassi

Makes 1 drink

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I use 2% Fage Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • 1-2 ice cubes (only use if using fresh, not frozen mango)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 T honey (optional sweetener)
  • 1 T shredded coconut (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients minus coconut and hit blend, my friend. Top with shredded coconut, if using. Ta-daaaa.
  2. Slurp up.

Sparkling Superfood Sangria

What is a superfood? What makes it “super?!” Can it shoot spider webs from its wrist? Is it sporting a cape? Do horses wear socks? …Is anybody listening to me??

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I am full of questions this morning. And all the answers reside in the science inside the food. So before we get all carried away in the boozy seduction behind the recipe to follow, let’s review why this delicious cocktail has a leg up on your RedBull Vodka, shall we? Blueberries get their juicy vibrant color from anthocyanin, a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant potential. These micronutrients in bloobs attack free radicals that are linked to the development of cancer and also counter the buildup of plaque formation that may cause cardiovascular disease. And contrary to popular belief around my apartment, basil is not just a sad withering pot of dying leaves taking up real estate on my front porch, it’s loaded with vitamin K essential for blood clotting and the eugenol component in the oil is a strong anti-inflammatory.

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So you may shrug these ingredients off as simple flavor additions, but the truth is that our bodies love them. I can’t say the same for the champagne, but it is my approach in life to balance a whole lot of healthy with plenty o’ hedonism. Roast up some blueberries and mash some fresh basil for a succulent heat-beating treat. Summer is ending, drink up friends.

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Sparkling Superfood Sangria

Serves 4-5

  • 1 bottle of Sparkling wine
  • ~1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • 2-2 1/2 teaspoons raw honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread blueberries on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until berries are plump, soft, n’ juicyyy. Remove and let cool for 10-15 minutes…if you can wait that long 😉
  3. Place a few leaves of basil, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, and a couple tablespoons of berries in each glass. Muddle gently.
  4. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with more basil for fancy pants effect. Drink up AND CHEERS.

Avocado & Mint Shamrock Milkshake

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, my friends.

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Sooo, if you’re like, 1/16th Irish, can you skip work or school for the day? Does that sound totally legitimate to anyone else?

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 Because it’s officially finals week (AGAIN) and by Tuesday I’m expecting a 0% chance of a shower, sweat pants throughout the day, and absolutely no signs of giving AF.

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 What to do, what to do.  Smoothie it up, my friends.  Whip up a frosty green shake that will make you feel like the Irish Incredible Hulk.  Healthy fats, fiber, and a hefty dose of vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium…what’s not to drool over? This smoothie is sweet, creamy, and the fresh mint adds a refreshing and energizing green zing.

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 Avocado & Mint Shamrock Milkshake

Makes one shake, ~390 calories

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup frozen kale/spinach/collard greens
  • 2-3 dates
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. To get the dates the right consistency, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes.  Or the lazy way to go about things (big fan over here) is to immerse them in water and microwave those suckers for 30 seconds.  Remove pits.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Top with chia seeds if desired.  Can’t have too much chia, is what I always say. Actually I never really say that.  But I’ll say it here. Now. K BAI.