In the days I had a 'proper job' I would crave the end of my working week so I could fall into Whighams, a wine bar in the West End of Edinburgh. It was super noisy, with sawdust on the floor and a bar as high as my eyebrows. There was an older sugar daddy that loved buying Champagne which ensured he had front row seat in one of the old wine cellars amongst us bonny lassies. It was all good harmless fun.
Fortunately, the birth of my three children put an end to that lifestyle. Interrupted sleep and alcohol go together like sandpaper and baby's bottoms. I tolerated the odd glass here and there but for the most part my body chose to tell me that longterm this wasn't such a great marriage. A few years later a chronic illness made sure the divorce was final, and for the last two and a half years I have been alcohol free. I actually don't miss it. Occasionally I have a pang for a warm red with a crispy buckwheat pizza, but for the most part it's a non event.
Of course once a year Christmas comes along and with it comes the ubiquitous drinks parties. For us many of us, the endless social chit chat requires a vat of alcohol to dull the pain we feel as our 'essential s/elves' get squeezed into "too tight" frocks to parade a smile and talk of a 'successful year'. The truth is we'd rather be at home in our 'trackies', watching youtube 'shorts' of cats trying to swim while pondering our online Christmas shopping carts.
My personal remedy is to go short and sweet. One to two hours max at the party...and take your own mocktail. I made this one two nights ago. It's a keeper. Bit tart, refreshing and looks pretty special too.
Have a beautiful festive season - Makes 4 servings
1 lemon - 1/2 of it squeezed and 1/2 of it sliced
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup of dextrose or maple syrup
Handful of mint leaves
50mls of concentrated or 150mls of fresh cranberry juice (make sure it is unsweetened)
1 bottle of Sparkling mineral water ( I indulge in San Pellegrino)
1 cup of ice
Into a large jug add the squeezed lemon and cranberry juice, stir in the dextrose. Add in the ice, cranberries, sliced lemon and mint. Top up with sparkling mineral water. Done.