Most nations like a good excuse for a booze-fuelled get-together and for Scots, 25 January provides one such occasion as they celebrate the birth of national poet Robert Burns. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself amidst a traditional Burns Night celebration, then it’s possible you’ll encounter any number of Scottish cultural clichés that include bagpipes, ceilidhs, tartan kilts, haggis, poetry recitals and, of course, booze, of which whisky is likely to be the toasting drink of choice. To help you celebrate Burns Night in style, we’ve suggested a wide range of drinks, each one produced with the kind of craftsmanship that we think would inspire the great man into poetic raptures.
Chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, valerian and hops, to name just a few, are known for their relaxing, sedative properties. "As herbs brew, their colourful pigments, aromatic essential oils and other powerful ingredients will seep into the hot water and create something very special", says master herbalist Sebastian Pole, founder of Pukka Herbs. Whether you prefer your drinks floral, sweet, spicy or citrussy, there’s a blend out there to satisfy.
While we wouldn’t advocate juice cleansing for any prolonged amount of time, we can see the benefits of a one-off cleanse, especially if you have a big event coming up for which you’d like to lose the bloat and feel your best. You’ll start the cleanse with a lemon and ginger water before moving on to the larger juices.
Whether you are partnered up or not, there is no doubt that people around the office will be getting flowers and chocolates – so why not get away for a mid-week trip? This year for Valentine’s Day grab your significant other/best friend/mother/favourite cousin or anyone you love and use it as an excuse to go on a mini-break. Often overlooked, Estonia is bordered by Latvia, Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland – meaning it is steeped in history.
Condé Nast Traveller recently released its 2019 Gold List, in which the editors select the top hotels around the world. The Peninsula in Chicago and Four Seasons in Hualalai, for example, both also appeared on the US News & World Report's 2018 hotel ranking, as Business Insider previously reported. If you're more interested in personalised experiences at smaller hotels, consider taking a look at the top 14 boutique hotels in the world, from a romantic retreat in South Africa to a private villa in Thailand.
Lots of people are cutting their alcohol consumption, for dry January, sober October or simply by becoming “sober-curious” (those questioning their relationship with alcohol) as Britain moves away from a booze-based social culture. “Alcohol-free” or “low-alcohol” beer labelling is complicated. A recent UK review defines it as under 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV), while in the rest of Europe it’s 0.5% ABV.
A growing number of shoppers are seeking out lower alcohol or alcohol free versions of their favourite drinks thanks to a shift towards a more mindful lifestyle. In fact the low and no alcohol revolution is set to be the biggest drinks trend next year, with a quarter of consumers looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption and one in 10 Brits attempting Dry January. Waitrose & Partners reports that sales of low alcohol wines were up by 31 per cent in 2018 with recent research suggesting that 47 per cent of us avoid alcohol during the week, rising to 55 per cent among 18-24 year olds.
Get those good intentions off to a flying start with a new healthy cookbook for 2019. The new year is a great time to revamp your recipe repertoire, whether you’re looking to lose weight, support a fitness regime or feed the whole family something nutritious.
One of the main reasons people are put off going vegan is the idea of giving up dairy and, in particular, chocolate. It doesn’t mean they can only eat dark chocolate, either. Lots of dark chocolate is accidentally vegan (not intentionally made to be vegan or marketed as such) as it doesn’t contain milk, but don’t assume that it all is.
Freshen your palate and loosen your belt: London’s top restaurants are refreshing their menus for 2019. Korea’s national dish has been punching its way onto evening menus for a while. Darwin & Wallace has added it to their breakfast bowl options at restaurants in Pimlico, Clapham, Duke Street, Battersea and Wimbledon.
High street bakery Greggs is throwing itself into Veganuary with the launch of a vegan 'sausage' roll. Available alongside the regular roll, Greggs' bestselling product, the new offering will be free of animal products, replacing the sausage filling with Quorn, and wrapping it in 96 layers of puff pastry. The decision has come after a petition by animal welfare organisation PETA was launched last year calling on Greggs to product a vegan version of the product, of which 1.5 million are sold every week.
Will your New Year’s Eve be debauched or decorous? For the morning after, we have fresh, veg-heavy recipes to suit virtuous types set on a fresh start to 2019, and more indulgent ideas for those in need of hangover relief in the form of deliciously comforting stodge.
A tin of mince pies made for Christmas during the Second World War has been found in pristine condition under floorboards in a hotel on the Isle of Man. The mince pies were addressed to a sailor called Phil Davis, with a letter that reads: "Best, love from Mum".
The origins of ginger beer can be traced back to the colonial spice trade, when the drink was made from a meeting of spices from the East and sugar cane from the Caribbean. As a naturally fermented product, ginger beer contained up to 11 per cent alcohol in the nineteenth century, before being reduced to two per cent by the 1855 excise tax laws. The modern (and considerably easier) method of producing ginger beer occurs by squeezing ginger and accompanying flavours into a soft drink base.
The cat has been out of the bag for long enough to order its own Japanese whisky at the bar. With a number of instantly recognisable brands on top shelves up and down the country, a bottle of Japanese whisky would make a perfect gift this Christmas for any connoisseurs in the family. The palate is true to the fruity aromas and introduces vanilla and citrus in perfect balance.