The Sundance Film Festival has more than movie deals going around.
In years past, no matter the precautionary measures exacted, barely anyone, from the actors to the agents to the taxi drivers, has escaped Park City, Utah without succumbing to the dreaded "Sundance cold"—a mix of sneezing, sniffles and general malaise brought on by too many handshakes, double-cheek kisses and time spent in luke-warm movie theaters.
This year bartenders took on the germs by infusing their cocktails with healthy mixers in an effort to keep the bugs at bay and the festival-goers sniffle free.
My first encounter with such a cocktail came last Friday evening when I attended a dinner for the film “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” at the Montage Deer Valley hosted by Moroccanoil. As per usual, I was in limbo between ordering a white wine or a cocktail and Robert, a local bartender was eager to help make my decision for me.
“I am going to make you something special. And I promise you won’t get sick this week,” he told me.
Robert mixed together a splash of blood orange juice, a splash of soda, tropical Emergen-C and a lime. I made a face.
But to my surprise it was delicious and I felt quite good about myself. That’s dangerous when there is vodka involved. But I will admit, I had nary a hangover in the morning and at an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level that is quite the accomplishment.
I thought healthy drinking was a one-night anomaly, but the next day I sauntered into the Talent Resources celebrity gifting suite only to find two healthful alcoholic beverage options.
Jennie Ripps, the founder of the Teaologist, a specialty tea blending company in Manhattan was mixing up tea-infused cocktails for the crowd that included Mary J. Blige, Laura Prepon, Chris Kattan and Maria Menounos.
“'The celebs, press, and industry execs who travel to Park City for Sundance are extremely busy from the minute they land and at the same time are dealing with an altitude change and cold, dry weather,” Ripps told me. “ I wanted to create teas and tea mixers that helped with these conditions--both the chaos of the festival and the more extreme climate.”
Among Ripps’ tea drinks was the Coco Premiere, a Chai blend full of good-for you spices including ginger, cardamom, and pepper mixed with Voli Vodka and Agave. There was also the Green Light, an energy enhancing blend containing green tea, yerba mate, ginger and peach that is rich in antioxidants…also mixed with Voli Vodka.
Across the suite, vying for imbibers with the Teaologist were cocktails made from Sensa Quench, a low calorie energy drink that contains Maqui Berry, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B12.
Again, a hangover seemed like a thing of the past.
Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH, says most immune system boosters like vitamin drinks and Emergen-C often fail because people only take them once they are feeling ill. Drinking them consistently throughout the week will help ward off colds. Putting them in cocktails during a week of partying is certainly a way of making sure you get a consistent dose. But alcohol itself can harm the immune system so it is best to continue to consume it in moderations.
“Daily consumption of immune boosters and vitamins can help,” Batayneh said. “However the alcohol can also compromise your immune system, resulting in a hangover, dehydration, lack of energy and negative affects on your sleep.”
Besides the impending colds another health challenge facing folks at Mardi Gras in the mountains is maintaining a healthy diet. With all the running between screenings and parties you’re often just a mini quiche away from collapsing or ending up with a very upset stomach.
Enter the Sneaky Pete’s Hot Spiked Cider, a fiber-filled toasty delight which was being served at the DIRECTV premiere parties for Super Crispy Entertainment's "Nobody Walks" and "Smashed" to celeb guests Aaron Paul, Ron Livingston, Octavia Spencer, and Olivia Thirby.
Sneaky Pete’s, is a soluble oat beverage which provides the drinker with their daily dose of fiber.
To make the cocktail, bartenders heated up the Apples Away flavor of the drink, added vodka and cinnamon and subsequently settled everyone’s stomachs.