The holidays are meant to be jolly, but often times, they can really be just the opposite, thanks to all the planning, traveling, hosting, attending, gift buying and general chaos wrangling. Whew!
With all that stress involved, it’s no wonder so many holiday parties include a 21+ table or two – but instead of going for a carb-loaded beer, a calorie-laden eggnog or a sugar-stuffed cider, you might want to whip up a lighter option. (And maybe save your indulgence for dessert!)
For those wary of packing on holiday pounds, cocktails could be a good way to go. Not only can the drinks be made virgin and still taste delicious, but having control over the ingredients can go a long way toward creating something better for you in the end.
And something like the Santa Barbara Caviar Lime Cocktail Kit does all the hard work for you, coming already equipped with ingredients you can trust to be good for you and good for the planet.
First of all, the kit wouldn’t be complete without its namesake: one of nature’s strangest and sweetest treats, which bursts open to reveal dozens of small pearl-like balls that look like expensive roe and taste like a million bucks, leaving little citrus explosions on your tongue.
Making these caviar limes even more special is their esteemed organic background. It’s a good life for these crops at Good Land Organics farm, where the limes are grown on the dreamy rolling hills nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains and Pacific Coast of Southern California.
And the family-operated organization is certified organic, meaning the limes are grown free of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and a number of other potentially dangerous chemicals and treatments.
But limes alone do not a cocktail make.
Which is why the kit also includes a bottle of shrub. And, for once, we don’t mean the plant.
Shrubs are fruit vinegars, made from – you guessed it! – vinegar infused with fruit. And they’ve been used for hundreds of years to spice up everything from mixed drinks to house salads. (Though they’re typically paired with booze, however, the liquid itself is not alcoholic.)
Bottled commercially, shrubs might pack in all sorts of extras, like tons of sugar or shelf-stabilizers, but when they’re bottled by family-run farms, like Sideyard Shrubs, the ingredient list can be as simple as two entries: Apple cider vinegar and organic passion fruit.
And you can actually taste the difference from the all-organic products, which are unfiltered and naturally fermented in small batches, one gallon at a time.
Plus, the box includes a bag of Hawaiian Black Sea Salt, because no cocktail glass rim would be complete without it.
But their well-nurtured, all-natural backgrounds aren’t even the healthiest things about these ingredients.
Citrus fruits in general, and limes in particular, pack a particularly nourishing punch.
Their biggest claim to fame, of course, is their sky-high vitamin C content, but limes are also home to a number of helpful plant-based compounds, including vitamin B6, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, folate, phosphorous and magnesium, as well as a number of antioxidants.
All told, the nutritious combination helps with everything from boosting our immune system to keeping our skin firm and strong to helping our bodies absorb essential iron.
For their part, shrubs can offer double the health benefits, coming from both the fruits and vinegars used to make them.
Passionfruit is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as carotenoids and polyphenols, antioxidants that offer all manner of anti-inflammatory and free radical-clearing benefits.
And apple cider vinegar has long been hailed as a health superstar, thanks in no small part to its acetic acid enzymes that have been linked to everything from lower blood sugar to boosted heart health to better skin and even weight loss. Plus, the probiotics packed into the drink are a boon for digestion, helping the body break down food and keep things running smoothly – an especially timely perk during the holiday treat rush.
But black sea salt is also not without its charms. The specialty product is thought to have less sodium than table salt, include fewer additives and possibly even aid in digestion.
Yet ask not just what these ingredients can do for you; ask what they can do for your planet.
Organic products may help keep the body healthy, but they make no such guarantee for the earth they’re grown in.
Still, one more benefit of utilizing family-run farms is their ability to keep things small, slow and sustainable.
Good Land Organics, for example, practices a number of regenerative agricultural techniques, which focus on concepts like rebuilding the organic matter found in soil and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – moves that, subsequently, help keep carbon emissions down and work to improve the water cycle.
Owner Sarah at Sideyard is also in the sustainability business, partnering with a number of local certified-organic farms to source the products she needs for her shrubs.
In particular, she rescues oddly-shaped or bruised food: the type of produce that might otherwise be thrown away as it’s deemed “too ugly” to sell at market. And Sarah also harvests some fruit from the “sideyards” of her organic and pesticide-free farming friends. All together, the concepts help cut down on the amount of good food out there being wasted – while helping deliver the perfect cocktail accessory straight to your door.
So whether you want to spice up your holiday drink list, mentally send yourself on vacation or toast to the end of a truly bizarre year – all while getting a head start on your New Year’s resolution to be healthier in 2021 – this kit might be the ultimate end-of-year present.
And we can all cheers to that!