Ah, January. The season of shame and regret. The season of renewed willpower and solemn pledges of abstinence. The season of the dreaded detox.
Maybe you do #DryJanuary, or maybe you’re a cutter-downer. But chances are, if you’re feeling guilty, hungover, or—and no coincidence—both, you might be staring down the barrel of an alcohol-free fortnight or two.
While the health benefits of avoiding alcohol, and consuming alcohol, aren’t always clear (it generally takes about three months of abstinence for significant change), there’s some recent, definite (if small batch) evidence that a month of abstinence can help reduce liver fat (a precursor to real liver damage) and blood glucose levels.
So we’re not trying to discourage abstinence if that’s your thing, or make light of the practice, but for any of you out there who—for whatever reason—aren’t going fully abstinent for the month of January, and may tire of hearing your temporarily “dry” friends talk about the spiritual revelations of a week on a lemon-cayenne cleanse and green drinks, we thought we’d provide a solution: the detox-retox.
Basically, and likely we’ll be sent right to hell for this, we’re transforming a few of the classic detox drinks out there into, well, alcoholic cocktails. Again the idea isn’t to discourage serious detox—if you need a month (or a year, or forever), you should take it.
This is only intended to give the year-long hedonists out there a chance to fight back—somebody’s gotta stand up to Gwenyth—with some sinful corruptions of the January detox menu.
*Bear in mind, none of the creators of the recipes we link to advocate the addition of alcohol, and to be entirely fair, if you are detoxing in earnest, you can use the uncorrupted recipes—they’re delicious, and still great, alcohol free. And you may end up feeling (a lot) better than the rest of us.
Reason It Works: Lemon is a natural detoxifier, and (supposedly) cayenne can actually help you sweat the toxins out. Cayenne pepper also improves blood circulation, so more good stuff can get to your hungover organs. And the whole concoction boosts your immune system, which could probably use some help after the beating you gave it over the holidays.
How to Corrupt It: We wouldn’t recommend fully replacing the water here. For a cold version, use some seltzer water, lemon, cayenne, and honey, and dose it with a nice light (but not terrible) tequila. A peppery, green joven tequila should work nicely with the heat and bright citrus. For a hot version, do the same, but use a bit less water and feel free to go for some anejo.
Reason It Works: Sure, kale “culture” is incredibly annoying. But kale itself is actually a great veggie, and deserves as much press (maybe a bit less kitsch) as it gets. The ubiquitous green drinks you’ll see coworkers and friends carrying around all January long should have Kale’s naturally detoxifying properties, as well as a bunch of flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. Dr. Oz’s recipe also includes pineapple, so you won’t just be drinking a patch of grass, and you’ll also get high levels of Vitamin C, manganese (more antioxidant defense), and thiamin. And the fresh ginger (a detox regular) is anti-inflammatory, stimulating digestion and circulation and sweating. (Good for detox, bad for body odor.)
How to Corrupt It: There’s a heavier emphasis on kale here, but we still want to balance the sweetness and spice from ginger, pineapple, and mint, a nice light gin—something cucumber, like Hendricks—would go well. Especially since there’s cucumber in the drink, and the botanical delicacy of a Hendricks gin would fit right in with all the fresh, but now corrupted, flavors.
Reason It Works: Almost exactly the same as the Lemon Cayenne Cleanse, but spiked with some raw (as in mother-intact) apple cider vinegar and cinnamon, with their respective enzymatic and antioxidant powers.
How to Corrupt It: This one’s pretty easy—reduce the water, up the cider to a level of (comfortable) tanginess, and add either a dry crisp lager or some not-too-sweet hard cider to the mix. The vinegar zing should bounce around the carbonation, and the cinnamon will work nicely with all the apple notes. They recommend using Stevia, but especially if you’re using a cider (that isn’t bone dry), you can probably skip this step.
Reason It Works: We’re guessing it works because the recipe’s likely been perfected by Gwenyth’s small army of hyper-healthy colonic addicts. But it also has antioxidant rich blueberries—which are supposed to have a pretty significant impact on detoxifying your much-abused liver. The almond milk will also help keep things a bit creamy, with a ton of vitamins and nutrients to remind your body and organs that they’re living, vital things.
How to Corrupt It: Since there’s a sweeter flavor profile here, it’s tempting to go for a nice light bourbon or even a medium-dark rum, something with residual caramel sweetness but enough depth to stand up to the dark berry flavor. Alternately, some authentic (Plymouth) sloe gin, with a much drier berry profile. Then Instagram and share with Gwen.
Reason It Works: This drink is aimed dead-center at detoxifying your liver—everything from cayenne to turmeric to ginger to, yes, 2 big fat cloves of raw garlic, make it into the drink (which has an O.J. base, so you won’t just be sucking back a spice cabinet). You’ll get great benefits from the ginger, including detoxifying sulfur, and turmeric – a relative of ginger with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even possibly cancer-fighting properties.
How to Corrupt It: With all that good stuff, it seems a slight shame to corrupt this one, but the clear way to go with these more savory flavors is a Bloody Mary variation, either swapping out the O.J. for tomato juice and using vodka, or keeping the O.J. and maybe using a peppery, smoky mescal. Flavors are already gonna be pretty interesting, so might as well have a bit of fun. Since we are, after all, defying the detox.