Season of fauxtox

You can do better in the New Year

“If you are young and you drink a great deal, it will spoil your health, slow your mind, make you fat – in other words, turn you into an adult.” – P. J. O’Rourke

How you view a new year depends on whether you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person. Will this year be a continuance of the past one? Do you treat Jan. 1 as a cleansing date, where you can wipe the slate clean and try to get it right for this trip around the sun? New year, new you?

Personally, New Year’s Day is every calendar Monday rolled into one giant Monday: Get the diet right, get the sleep right, go to the gym, control the booze consumption. But . . . for real this time. This year, I mean it! NAMASTE!

Celebrate your accomplishments, that’s a given, and hopefully you did just that on New Year’s Eve with bubbles, or maybe gin or scotch or bourbon. Maybe all of the above. Then, it’s set goals, get fit, eat well. I think we all have the same general bright attitude in the New Year. We take down our decorations, and everything looks clean, fresh, ready. The gym is packed; we plan our meals. We do these good things at least for a couple of weeks or at the most two months. Then it’s life back to normal. It’s called a fauxtox. That’s a fake detox, a wholehearted attempt to get super-fit-healthy, sort of.

If you are looking to make a change in the new year, go ahead – have your green smoothies and your rice cakes with almond butter. And – here’s the good news – you can also keep drinking wine and beer without blowing your calories into oblivion! Think low alcohol beer and wine. The wines are typically whites, but there are reds, too (fruitier, juicier, less tannic, NOT cabernet sauvignon).

Light beers are all over the place and easy to find, easy to drink and usually blah. There is so much flavorful hope in the market now, though – and one you should try is Stiegl Radler, a half grapefruit soda – half beer with just 2.5 percent abv (alcohol by volume). It’s very refreshing and simply delicious. A radler is like a shandy, which is part soft drink, part beer. You may be familiar with Leinenkugel’s summer shandy, which is carbonated lemonade and beer, or their ginger shandy. Those are typically around 4 percent abv.

For low alcohol wines, you are looking for an abv of less than 11 percent. Under that level, the wines will be light in body and on the sweet side (because the sugars are not fully fermented into alcohol, the wines are sweeter and less alcoholic). German Riesling (8 percent) and Italian Moscato d’Asti (5.5 percent) are typical examples of light-alcohol wines. Everybody loves sweet wine, including me. And guess what else: Riesling is the most food friendly wine ever. Also, look for Pinot Grigio, Muscadet and Soave. Try them.

Low alcohol reds: pinot noir, Cotes du Rhone and Beaujolais from France and Chianti, dolcetto, and barbera from Italy. Good luck with your fauxtox. I’m right there with you!

First appeared in the January 2017 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.


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