Warm Up With These Winter Cocktails

While ice cold drinks are always refreshing, there is nothing quite like the warming feeling that a hot winter cocktail brings. From the classic hot toddy to a warm rum punch, give some of these cocktails a try this holiday season.

Hot Toddy
Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is a classic winter cocktail in Ireland and Scotland, and typically features whisky, hot water, lemon, honey, and some herbs and spices. Often considered to be the antidote to the winter flu, this cocktail can be modified in many ways. Rather than using whisky, give rum or brandy a try, and play around with the herbs and spices that you include, from cinnamon to cloves. For those that enjoy fruity cocktails, add a few different fruit slices to the drink along with the lemon, opting for a colorful variety to make the cocktail even more visually appealing.

Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is another classic winter cocktail, and is an easy one to make at home. Simply heat some red wine and then mix this with sugar and spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Top this off with some orange and lemon slices, and, if you are feeling adventurous, spike this with a hit of brandy as well.

Mulled Cider

Warm Cider and Rum Punch
A warm cider and rum punch is the perfect cocktail to make if you are having a festive gathering, as it is always a crowd pleaser. In a large pot, combine apple cider, apple and orange slices, cinnamon sticks and ginger, before cooking for about five minutes. Once removed from the heat, stir in the rum and then transfer this to a punch bowl, making sure to serve it all up while it is still warm.

Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate
Mint and chocolate make for a tantalizing combination, and spiking this with some tequila really adds some zing to this cocktail. Make the hot chocolate first, by mixing cocoa, sugar and salt with a melted chocolate and milk mixture, before gently whisking it together. Add some tequila, as well as some peppermint schnapps, before topping each cup with a dollop of whipped cream and a scattering of fresh mint leaves.

Winter Julep
Winter Julep
The Winter Julep is quite a new cocktail from Atlanta, and is not only deliciously warming, but can also be served up in a beautifully elegant manner. To begin with, brew some peppermint tea in fresh boiling water for four minutes, before removing the infuser. Add some bourbon and brown sugar syrup, which you can make in advance with dark brown sugar and boiling water, and then stir it well to ensure that it is all properly mixed together, before garnishing with a fresh sprig of mint.

Winter cocktails are the perfect way to warm up on a cold evening, and while you likely already have your favorite, these cocktails are each worth a try. From the luxuriously decadent tequila mint hot chocolate to the elegant Winter Julep, these cocktails are perfect for both an evening curled up by the fire, or for a night of entertaining friends.

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Can a Daily Cocktail Slow Aging?

While the consumption of excess amounts of alcohol can drastically speed up the aging process, there are certain concoctions that can actually do your body some good. From the age-defying antioxidants of a sangria, to the UV-protecting qualities of a bloody mary, these cocktails could quite possibly help to slow down the rate at which you age.

Bloody mary

Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is a truly classic cocktail, with tomato juice and carrot juice giving it its distinct flavor. Tomatoes are known for containing an antioxidant called lycopene, which has fantastic UV-protecting properties. In addition to this, carrots are packed with beta-carotene, which is not only incredibly effective at repairing damaged skin, but is also able to transform the vitamin A in your body into a form that is more easily accessible. By mixing in some freshly cracked black pepper, which is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world, you will also be enjoying an extra dose of iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Green Tea Martini
Green tea is known for having some incredible anti-aging properties, and can be used to make a number of different cocktails. A green tea martini is a refreshing drink, and only contains a few ingredients, making it easy to whip up at short notice. Rather than using a standard vodka, opt for Shochu instead, which is a Japanese vodka that is much lighter than western varieties. Mix this with your brewed green tea, adding a touch of Manuka honey for some sweetness, as well as for the many health-boosting properties that this wonder food brings.

Walnut Chocolatini
A walnut chocolatini is ideal for satisfying any sweet tooth out there, and brings with it some fantastic anti-aging benefits. Walnuts are known to be able to dramatically halt the aging process, fighting free radicals while keeping the body looking and feeling young. To make this cocktail, spread out your crushed walnuts and wet your martini glass, turning it upside down so that the crushed walnuts stick to the rim. Pour in a well-mixed concoction of Irish cream liqueur, dark chocolate liqueur, and vodka, before sprinkling some high-quality dark chocolate shavings on top, to enjoy the health benefits that dark chocolate is known to bring.

Sangria

Sangria
A classic Spanish summer beverage, sangria is primarily made from red wine and fruits, but there are many different versions out there that you can experiment with. When it comes to creating an anti-aging sangria cocktail, be sure to pack in a wide variety of different fruits. A strawberry and peach sangria will ensure that you are consuming your daily allowance of vitamin C, which does wonders for slowing down the aging process, while the peaches will also provide you with plenty of vitamin A. Berries contain a whole host of age-defying antioxidants, so try to use as many as you can. When choosing which wine to use, opt for a high-quality red wine, as this will contain several antioxidants, including resveratrol and quercetin, that have been proven to help fight cancer and heart disease.

 

While the majority of cocktails will only accelerate your aging process, there are most definitely some that will play a helping hand when it comes to anti-aging. Whether you choose to make a fruity sangria or a creamy walnut chocolatini, be sure to strictly regulate the amount of alcohol that you include, and pack your drink with more of the health-boosting ingredients instead.

Best U.S. Wine Clubs

Glass of wine

The wine business is more competitive than ever, and for those who enjoy being adventurous when it comes to the different wines that they try, joining a wine club is a great decision. Wine clubs give you the opportunity to experiment with different varieties of wine, without having to spend hours trawling through wine stores in order to pick them out. However, due to wine clubs becoming increasingly popular, there are now so many to choose from, many of which have their own unique edge, making the decision even harder. From clubs that focus on family-owned wineries, to others that utilize an extensive vetting process, these are some of the best wine clubs that the U.S has to offer.

Gold Medal Wine Club
The Gold Medal Wine Club places a strong emphasis on sourcing wines from small-batch, family-owned wineries, choosing varieties that often cannot be purchased from retail stores. The company employs a small team of experts to taste and select the wines and offers a choice of six different membership tiers, ranging from the International Wine Club to the Pinot Noir Wine Club to the Platinum Wine Club.

International Wine of the Month Club
This club considers wine to be a global product, seeking out varieties from all over the world and bringing its members new and exciting wines to taste. Each delivery is accompanied by detailed cellar notes, which includes a history and additional information on each specific varietal, as well as notes on the best foods to pair with that particular wine. This wine club also makes use of a two-tiered tasting panel, so by the time each bottle of wine reaches you, the variety will have already been tasted by around thirty experts, guaranteeing that it will be of the highest quality.

Lot 18/Tasting Room
Wine clubs can often be off-putting for those that are not serious wine connoisseurs, and this is where the Tasting Room Wine Club comes in. Rather than sending out full-sized bottles, this club sends out shipments of six sample-sized wine bottles, intending to help you to identify your preferences when it comes to different wines. Once you have tasted the mini samples, you can then arrange for larger sized bottles to be shipped out instead, enabling you to receive varieties that you already know you will truly enjoy.

Uncorked Ventures
West Coast wines are always popular, and for those that are serious fans, Uncorked Ventures is the wine club to join. The club focuses on wines that come from California, Washington and Oregon, with the founders of the club having established strong relationships with small-scale growers in these regions. While some of the wines offered can be purchased at retail stores, the selections are always high quality, and there are still a number of unique wines to be found.

Joining a wine club is a great way to learn all about new varieties of wine, whether you are a serious wine connoisseur or are just beginning to learn about the intricacies of the drink. Each wine club will usually offer a range of different membership tiers, and these can often be tailored to suit your personal preferences, ensuring that you always receive a selection of wines that you will appreciate.

Duty Free Shopping

Shopping

An average of $40 million is spent at duty-free shops each year around the world, and this number is steadily on the rise. Duty-free shopping has always had a certain allure about it, with duty-free shops able to promise big bargains, as they are exempt from paying duty, otherwise known as local import tax, on the goods that they sell. The duty-free shops that you find in European airports are also VAT free, giving you even more savings. The reason that these shops are allowed to be exempt from paying tax is due to the fact that they are selling goods to shoppers who are leaving the country, which is why the majority of duty-free shops are found in airports and ports.

What To Purchase
With duty-free deals flashing at you from all angles, it can be difficult to know which products are actually providing good value for money. Generally, while alcohol and tobacco products may not do much for your health, they are among the best goods to purchase from duty-free shops. There are also a number of great bargains to be had with makeup and skin care, as well as some luxury goods.

What Not To Purchase
While there are many great deals to be found at duty-free shops, there are certain products that you would be better off purchasing elsewhere. Electronics are one of these, as often the marked down items at duty-free shops will be older models, and the latest models can usually be purchased for a similar price online. The same applies to clothing that has been imported, although clothing that has been made locally is usually a great item to buy from a duty-free shop.

Remember the Limit
Every country will have a limit on the value of duty-free goods that you are allowed to bring in, and it is important to check these before you travel. If you find yourself to be over the limit, you will have to pay tax on the excess, which could mean that your purchases become more expensive than they would have been if you had bought them elsewhere.

While it can sometimes be tricky to work out whether or not you are actually buying an item at a reduced price, duty-free shopping is always fun, with an incredible range of goods from all over the world available to browse through. This is made even better by the fact that most duty-free shops are at airports and ports, providing the ideal way to pass some time while waiting to travel. If there is a particular item that you are hoping to buy, it is always a good idea to do a quick bit of research beforehand, so that you know the average price before visiting a duty-free shop. If you make sure that you are a savvy shopper, then you will easily be able to pick out the very best deals at duty-free shopping, enjoying bargains that you would not be able to find elsewhere.

Diminishing Eye Circles and Discoloration

Nobody wants their eyes to be surrounded by shadows, puffiness and discoloration, but these issues are, unfortunately, extremely common. If this is an issue that regularly seems to plague you, read on for some top tips on how to diminish those pesky eye circles and areas of discoloration.

Woman having water

Adjust Your Diet
It may seem like an all-too-easy fix, but adjusting what you put into your body will have a huge impact on your skin, and, subsequently, any eye circles and discoloration. The amount of water that you drink can alone make a significant difference, because, if your body is dehydrated, it will try to hold on to as much water as it can, which then leads to puffiness and discoloration. Likewise, you should also be avoiding certain foods, in particular, ones containing caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salt, as these will simply make your discoloration worse.

Woman applying eye cream

Invest in a Retinoid Cream
Creams that contain retinoid are fantastic for evening out any discoloration, and also to provide a boost to your body’s production of collagen, which, in turn, will help to smooth and tighten the skin. Regular use of a retinoid cream in affected areas will soon result in your skin looking brighter and healthier. There are also serums available that are designed to complement different retinoid creams, so take a look at these too as you are likely to experience quicker results by using them both together.

Woman cleansing face

Never Forget to Cleanse
If you are someone that often crawls into bed at the end of the day, forgetting to remove your makeup and cleanse, then this is a habit that you need to break immediately. Leaving your makeup on at night, along with all of the impurities that build up throughout the day, will irritate your skin, causing fluid to rush to the area around your eyes. To help remind you to remove your makeup each night, keep some makeup wipes next to your bed, and you will soon see the benefits that this positive habit will bring.

Woman sleeping

Amount and Quality of Sleep
Everybody needs a slightly different amount of sleep in order for their bodies to perform at the optimum level, and, the amount of sleep that you get each night has also been linked to eye circles and discoloration. While sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of eye circles, too much sleep can cause the same thing, so an ideal balance needs to be reached in order for the clearest skin. You should also take a good look at the position in which you sleep, as lying down flat can cause fluid to build up around the eyes. By propping your head up with a couple of extra pillows as you sleep, you will be encouraging any fluid to drain down into the rest of your body, minimizing the amount of puffiness that you will experience the next morning.

Eye circles and discoloration will never do any favors to your complexion, only making you look tired and much older than your years. From altering your diet to investing in the best skin care products, these tips will ensure that you enjoy a clear and bright complexion for years to come.