Lyssa’s off the sauce: life as a booze-free gal

I’ve never been a huge drinker. When I do drink, my friends and husband find it comical that after just one glass of wine or one hard cider, I already have the boozy pink glow and the sillies. One time, my best friend and I finished off two bottles of Gewurztraminer between us and the night ended with me dancing in a pair of dutch-clogs on the patio in my bathing suit. Ah, memories. I always thought that alcohol for me was one of those “Eh” type pleasures in life — I enjoyed it, but not often, and  have been seriously “drunk” only about 10 times in my life. Don’t get me wrong; at Christmas time, I love nothing more than an icy glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream, with a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top. I also love a fine glass of really full-bodied red wine, the kind where the tannins drench your tongue in all those fabulously dark, fragrant whiffs. I’m not a regular beer gal, much to my father and husband’s dismay. (Fun fact: did you know at our wedding, my dad actually gave my husband a dowry? Not kidding – my dad brewed my husband a custom beer called “My Daughter’s Dowry”) However, in the past few years I’ve grown to love hard cider, especially Angry Orchard. It’s refreshing and light but still packs a buzz-bangin’ punch. I also got into a bad habit of a weekly lambic, a sweet fruit beer that’s like candy that makes you drunk. It’s AWESOME.

Because of my new medication for my PCOS, I can’t have alcohol. Actually I can, but my doctor told me that with my insulin resistance problems and body type, each time I drink, I’ll have to accept that my weight loss will stall for the next few days. Bummmmer. Not to mention my liver is thoroughly pickled, apparently not from my once-a-week libations but just from life in general. Hopefully I’ll get the results to that this week. Anyhoo, I didn’t think I’d miss booze until after a week without it had passed, and I realized how much I missed a chilled glass of Moscato in the bath tub at night. I didn’t realize how much I used alcohol to unwind every now and then. A couple of ciders on the weekend, a glass of wine at night, a glass of red with Italian food for dinner. Probably not the best de-stress technique in the world, but I wasn’t harming anyone, definitely not overindulging and would never get behind the wheel in my buzzed state, so in my book, a little buzz at home to take the edge off? Why not? (I used to work on my thesis with a good buzz going, and yes, I graduated! Grad students, I highly recommend it. Thesis writing is unpleasant, so if you’re a wee bit inebriated, it dulls the pain of big words like “hegemony”.)

Enjoying some champagne at a friend's wedding

Enjoying some champagne at a friend’s wedding

Dinners out with friends are super hard, when the alcohol is flowing and the conversation is going and I’m in the corner with my glass of water. A few nights ago my husband and I cooked dinner at home and we ate our grilled chicken and vegetables on the patio, savoring the dusky glow of Los Angeles. I swigged a sip of his red wine and was overwhelmed at how rich and sweet it tasted, how the grapes filled my mouth with notes and aromas like a sherbet sunset in Napa valley.  I was going to try to be 100% clean n’ sober for the duration of my weight loss activity (which is like, omg, forever), but I decided that special occasions are worth the splurge, so tonight at Monique’s beautiful wedding, I participated in the champagne toast and enjoyed every sweet sip. Will my weight loss stall? Probably, but what else is new? Plus, if nothing is happening, nothing can stall anyways, right? Hahaha. I shouldn’t say nothing is happening because it’s very possible I’ve lost weight, I just haven’t had the chutzpah to get on the scale in the last two weeks. Scale PTSD, much?

So now it’s out in the open. I miss booze. It had a more important place in my life than I thought it did. Sniffle, tear. It sounds like I’m an alcoholic when I say it had a place in my life, but you don’t realize how much you like something until it’s gone (except for PMS, aforementioned thesis and the Chicken Pox.)

What’s your attitude towards booze? Something you don’t even think ab0ut? Do you refrain? Do you overdo it? Is it average? What’s your fav drink? For the record, a peche Lindeman’s Lambic is probably my favorite booze on earth. Crap. Now I want one….instead, amuse me with your drink of choice! Cheers, folks. It’s 5:00 somewhere.

Low-Cal Cocktail: The Rosy Reindeer Cooler

Hello friends, how was your weekend? I had a very busy weekend but slept in both days, which was JOYOUS. I love sleep. A few weeks ago I was offered some samples of Angry Orchard Hard Cider to review. In general, I’m not a huge beer drinker (it’s too bitter for me), so when I first discovered Hornsby Cider a year or so ago, I fell in love. Since then I’ve dabbled in Crispin Cisder, Hornsby and Widers, but had never tried Angry Orchard so I jumped at the chance. (PS – Lambic is also a great choice for people who aren’t quite into traditional beers yet!)

Best mail delivery EVER!

I was a very happy blogger when this delightful package showed up at my door, and even more so when I cracked open my first bottle at a cool 190 calories and sipped my way to relaxation. The samples came with the below recipe, hand crafted by world famous mixologist Hayley Jenson. I decided to take a crack at it, and with a few minor substitutions, I present to you, the first ever Double Chin Diary cooking show, complete with a misbehaving cat on the counter and i-phone reading awkwardness.

Rosy Reindeer Cooler

Ingredients:

2 medium strawberries, quartered (8 cals) (2g)
2 basil leaves, julienned (cut into thin strips – I didn’t have this, oh well!) (0 cals) (0g)
2 lime slices (10 cals) (0.5g)
½ oz (1 tbsp) simple syrup (18 cals) (1g)
1 oz  (2 tbsp) vanilla vodka (I used regular – came out great!) (60 cals) (0g)
4 oz (8 tbsp) Crisp Apple Angry Orchard Cider (70 cals) (7.5g)

=166 calories, 11 grams of sugar


Mixology: Muddle strawberries & basil in simple syrup. Squeeze & add the 2 lime slices. Fill glass with ice . Add 4 oz cider. Stir to incorporate ingredients. Garnish with strawberry & lime slice.

If you prefer watching a professional, check out the official video Angry Orchard sent me.

 

You can also browse tons of other lighter cider cocktail recipes at their website here - I can’t get enough of the cool angry tree illustration. If you’re in the mood for something lighter than beer and a little sweeter, you should definitely check out Angry Orchard – they even have an apple ginger version that has a great spicy little kick to it.

I’m a huge fan of Bailey’s Irish Cream, but I can’t even think about that drink without packing on about 19 pounds, as one serving is general around 330 calories. I’ll stick to cider this season, thank you very much!

When it comes to boozy beverages, how do you keep yourself calorically in check?