From The Vault: Cheers!

Let’s get social.

As we said in our recent Friday 5, drinks bring out the sociable sides in our personalities. In historical times feasts brought us together – nowadays it’s more likely to be an array of coffee flavors, or a bottle of something rich and cheeky. In celebration of the great bring-people-together power of beverages, we uncork our archives, take a sip and toast your good health.

Coffee reduces muscle pain. After a hard workout, a cup or two of coffee has been shown to reduce muscle soreness (in women, anyway) more effectively than naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen. (But don’t replace your water thermos with coffee).

20 Surprising Facts About Coffee

Now hitting the shelves is ZICO pure coconut water. An all natural, 60-calorie alternative. ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes, magnesium, and more. One box of ZICO has more potassium than a banana (15 times more than most sports drinks) to prevent cramping and promote recovery.

A Natural Fitness Drink: Coconut Water

“You could consider me the goddess of organic wine because of my longevity,” says a tres enthusiastic Veronique Raskin of The Organic Wine Company in San Rafael, Calif. “I’ve been at it for 30 years so I should know a couple of things.”

The French native and head cheerleader for the benefits of organic helped uncork the notion of drinking naturally-farmed grape back in 1979. That’s when she brought the first shipment to the U.S. from her family’s 200 year-old vineyard, Bousquette, located in the Languedoc region which borders Provence in the south and produces one-third of France’s grapes.

The Trail to the Tastiest Organic Red Wines from a Certified Grape Goddess

It’s the future, a greener, more enlightened time. You drop in on your local coffee vendor – let’s call it McStarMart – ready for a cup of exquisitely roasted bean-juice to kick start your day. You’re standing quietly in the queue, and – something odd is going on.

People are reaching into their pockets and bags and briefcases, and they’re pulling out mugs of all shapes and kinds. When they reach the counter, they pass them to the barista, who fills them up with their beverage of choice.

There are no disposable cups.

In The Future, We All Carry Mugs

Not only does red wine make steak extra-flavorful, it may reduce cancer-causing compounds naturally found in meats. Frying and grilling meat at high temperatures turns sugars and amino acids of muscle tissue into carcinogenic compounds, but marinating steak in red wine for at least six hours before cooking can reduce two types of carcinogens by up to 90 percent. Use about a cup of red wine, a cup of olive oil and the seasonings of your choice like garlic, parsley and peppercorns.

20 Unusual Uses For Wine

I’m convinced mulled wine was invented as a handwarmer in the depths of winter. It first pops up in the history books around 400 CE, although its European medieval name of Hipocris harks back to Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek “father of medicine” – and it’s not hard to imagine Celtic Mead being dangled over the fire for an extra-warming kick. Nowadays, mulled wine is a popular winter drink across much of northern Europe. For example, in Sweden it goes by the splendid name of glögg.

Hot Wine? Mull It Over

Like other Swedes I’m used to buying glögg already spiced at the Systembolaget, which is the one and only company that can sell liquor in Sweden. Systembolaget has an impressive selection of wine from all around the world and they have over 40 different kinds of glögg, both with and without alcohol. There is even a white glögg which is commonly served cold as an apertif at parties around Christmas. With a selection that great it’s hard to even think of making your own unless you’re a Swede living abroad. Being one of those people, I started making my own and can’t ever imagine going back. At Christmas I want my own glögg. And the glögg has to be done with some drama by caramelizing the sugar.

Glogg: Swedish Traditional Mulled Wine

Images: PoYang, Vegan Feast CateringSarah Jane, Johanna Kindvall, photoskate and delphaber.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.