Winter Blues – what to drink?

We all know to drink plenty of water/fluids during the summer months to avoid dehydration.  Is this an issue during winter months – you bet!  Dehydration comes when there isn’t enough water replacing what’s lost throughout the day.  Reasons behind this can be as easy as you’re just too busy,  travelling, sickness (incl vomiting diarrhea),  excessive sweat through exercise or fever, medical issues eg. diabetes mellitus.

Is there a way to tell you may be dehydrated? An easy way is when you ‘go’ it should be a light yellow colour to clear; a strong yellow colour usually indicates a need to rehydrate.  Its interesting to note that by the time you feel your thirsty you’ll already be in the throes of dehydration.

In winter we tend to seek out hot drinks like coffee or tea.  These may act as a diuretic making it imperative you up your intake of non caffeinated, non alcoholic drinks.  Recently my daughter commenced a new job and kept complaining about headaches;  next my mother in law was experiencing head spins “vertigo” and feeling faint.  A visit to hospital found her to be dehydrated.  Increased water uptake fixed both issues.

So what do you drink if you take coffee, tea, alcohol, and soft drinks out of the picture and you just don’t feel like boring water?  Believe it or not there are a lot of options.  The  lemon/honey in water combo is an old favourite. There’s such a wonderful range of herbal teas available too, eg. lavender, lemon grass, rosehip, chamomile, forest berries, peppermint, spearmint.  Add some hot apple juice or cider to your hot water, throw in a cinnamon stick and enjoy.  Experiment with different herbal teas, ciders, juices and favourite spices to come up with your own personal combo.

Here are a couple of  recipes that may help you get started:


3 cups water

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar *

1 1/2 teas. grated lemon peel

1 Tbs butter or margarine

4 cinnamon sticks

In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer water, lemon juice, sugar, grated lemon peel until sugar dissolved.  Pour into mug, dot with butter and garnish with cinnamon stick.  Serves 4.

       * I personally find this to be too much sugar, but each to his own. Honey would be a good alternative too.

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SWEET ADELINE by Colleen Graham

1 part apple juice

1 part cranberry juice

1 part pomegranate juice

1/4 cup water ( for me 1/2 cup preferred)

1 teas. agave nectar

splash of lemon juice

1 Chamomile tea bag

Pour juices and water into kettle or pot and warm slowly.  In the meantime, stir agave nectar and lemon juice in a coffee mug. When juice is ready, pour into mug.  Add tea bag, steep for 3-5 mins.  Yields 1 cup.

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This next one really doesn’t fit the brief but given I live in one of the best wine regions in the world, I thought what the heck!  Something different to offer your visitors on a cold winters night.


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

10 whole cloves

1 teas. ground cinnamon

3 whole peppercorns

1/4 teas nutmeg

1 orange juiced

cinnamon sticks

1 bottle red wine

Combine everything but the red wine in a pan and boil for five mins.  Reduce heat and add the wine.  Heat the mixture to a point where it is just before it reaches boiling ( try to avoid boiling mix as alcohol will evaporate).  Strain and serve hot, garnished with the cinnamon sticks.

Alright guilt wins out, you can replace the wine with grape juice as a non alcoholic alternative.  Apple juice would work too.

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I hope these recipes get  you excited about all the possibilities that are open to you.  Enjoy creating your own winter warmers but do remember water is the key to hydration so make it the hero in your hot toddys.


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