This and other interesting tidbits

3 craft cocktails under 130 calories

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

Here at SportsMap, we love to stay active, but we also love to drink often. I'm sure you have heard Fred and AJ talking about their wild nights in Vegas. It got me thinking: what drinks can I have that taste good but are low in calories? Oh, there's one catch. I'm a total snob when it comes to food and drink.

So I started the search for creative, craft cocktails that are 130 calories or less. When I went down the rabbit hole, I found three drinks. (I'm sure there is more, but I had to drive home). I also learned some cool stuff along the way. Here they are:

Sparkling Pamplejousse at HopDoddy

Sparkling Pamplejousse

One of my favorite places for lunch is HopDoddy. They have an awesome Happy Hour with damn good food. The drinks are poured the way I like them. STRONG. I ask my favorite bartender, Christy, for a tasty, low calorie beverage. She makes me the Sparkling Pamplejousse. Here is the recipe (ish)

Start with 1 and 1/2 oz. of Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka. Rose, (as in the wine), sparkling grapefruit soda, a dash of Rhubarb bitters, lemon and a rosemary spring.

This decorated mimosa makes for a crisp, dry, cocktail with citrus notes and herbal nuances. It pairs well with HopDoddy's Farmer's Market Salad.

Hemingway Daiquiri at Miss Carousel

Hemingway Daiquri

As I continued my search, I found myself walking into the newly opened Miss Carousel in Eado. Miss Carousel, a concept from the Agricole restaurant group (think Eight Row Flight in the Heights) is the lounge to Indianola. The decor looks like the gentlemen's club in a Sherlock Holmes movie.

I approach the bar and ask for their best low calorie cocktail. "That would be the Hemingway Daiquri." Says the bartender. "Tell me what you think." He pushes it towards me. Just the way I like it. STRONG.

"Why do they call it the Hemingway Daiquri?" I ask. The bartender tells me to look it up. This is what I found. It's named after Ernest Hemingway, the famed author of For Whom The Bell Tolls (its not just a hit song from Metallica). Ernest Hemingway walks into El Florita Bar in Old Havana. He asks the bartender to make him a good drink. He is given the Daiquiri.

After taking a swig, Hemingway says "I like it, but I'll take no sugar and double the rum." The drink has beared his name ever since. Note that Hemingway was a diabetic and a known alcoholic. It is also said that he had 17 of these Daiquiris in one afternoon.

To make your own Hemingway Daiquri ,pour 2 oz. White rum in a shaker. Add 1/4 Luxardo marichino liqueur. Finish with grapefruit juice and lime juice and of course, no sugar.

Whiskey Pick at Rodeo Goat

Whiskey Pick

I walked across the street to Rodeo Goat. They are known for the Dueling Goats or 2 specialty burgers that vie for best burger every month. (The crazy name is due to this crazy story about the owner getting goats drunk at the Houston Rodeo at the age of 9). There, I'm introduced to the Whiskey Pick. It's simply a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice. After searching the internet, I found some "bucket list " information.

Did you know that there is a marathon in the Speyside region of Scotland that finishes near the distilleries? 84 of them to be exact. Each runner finishes at a scotch tasting. This year the Dram will have its 3rd Annual Marathon withat least 1500 runners. I wonder if Fred would ever run that one. I might add it to my own bucket list.

Float away to rest and relaxation

New float spas can help you relax and unwind

Heard about the "float" craze? It has been slowly growing over the past few years, and one local float spa in Houston was featured on Shark Tank last year. "Floating" has actually been around since about the mid 1950's. Floatation therapy is based on a scientific approach to a deep relaxation called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, or R.E.S.T. Dr. John Lily originally created floatation therapy tanks and called them "sensory deprivation tanks, or isolation tanks."

These sensory deprivation tanks became more popular between the 60's and 70's but lost popularity after it became publicly known that Dr. Lily used a lot of psychedelic drugs. Well, they are back, in a unique form. Most sensory deprivation/relaxation spa's are now using giant white pods, more futuristic like. And inside there is plenty of room for you and even a few others (not recommended). But to give you an idea there is plenty of room between you, the water, and the ceiling; and over 8 ft. from head to toe. So what is it, people ask? The general idea is marketed as a way for people to relax and unwind. Floating in a flotation tank triggers a deep relaxation response, much deeper than normal sleep. It enables people to drift into an elusive theta state, which normally is hard to achieve. I received a gift card for my birthday to "Urban Float," a new float place in Heights, and decided to check it out!

During floating, the idea is to relax your brain, body, and soul. Since you are typically in about a 1000 lbs. of Epsom salt (dissolved into water), you will float to the top and won't have to expend any physical energy to float. You're changing your stimuli by releasing everything, every piece of energy your body would normally put out (even just sitting down). In the tank your mind will start to wonder off. Some will problem solve, learn, or swirl into creative paths; while others will meditate, rest, or even fall asleep.

The float sessions I have seen range anywhere from 60-90 minutes. I did a 60-minute session and fell asleep both times. The experience of coming out of a float is supposed to sharpen you senses, have a refreshed mind, and the world may appear more vibrant. Now, I am a glass full type of girl, however I am not sure it sharpened my senses or the world appeared with rainbows and unicorns. However, I did feel much more at peace, and was relaxed and calm for the rest of the day. I have also read it may take a float or 2, to really start reaping the benefits. At this point I have done 2 floats, so I'm sure if I were to continue, maybe then it would sharpen my senses, or I would maybe be seeing unicorns pooping rainbows.

For first time floaters or anyone on the fence about trying it out (which I do recommend) here are a few tips. For starters, remember you are in a ton of Epsom salt infused water. So, if you've knicked yourself shaving prior to floating… well, it will sting. However, they do provide petroleum jelly for any small knicks or cuts, and when applied the jelly will act as a band aid in the salt water. They do recommend for any bigger cuts or burns, to wait to float, (or tough it out, your choice). When you first arrive, the float spa had me watch about a 5 minutes video on "how to float". Really, it's just information on pre/post showers, where the panic button is, etc. You also get to choose some fancy relaxation music, or you can choose none.

I chose music the whole time. I didn't want my brain to start wondering about my "to-do" list I didn't finish at work, or all the errands I still had to run and when I was going to run them. It is quiet, the rooms are sound proof, and they provide you with ear plugs. You have an option to turn off the light inside, I tried this, and it got a little creepy. However, everyone is different. I am the type of person that can sleep with lights on, some people cannot. My biggest concern was if the water was going to be cold. Thankfully it was not, and did not change the entire hour. Float spas typically keep the water between 90-95 degrees in temperature, and you are pretty much in a savasana yoga pose the whole time. Initially I felt my head hanging a little heavy, so I used the neck float both times. The neck float is provided for you in the pod. Also, in the pod is a spray bottle with fresh water, for when you get salt in your eye, and more than likely you will. But just spray the fresh water and you'll be fine, or if you are not panic button it is.

They say that the effects of floating lasts for hours to days afterwards and have the potential to last much longer. However, I believe I felt it for the rest of the day, then the next day when I went back to work, I had no idea where that relaxation went. Interesting enough, as I left I spoke to someone who goes every day (unlimited package). He explained it as much more than just going to float, but more so of as his daily meditation practice. In the end it was a great experience both times, I wish I could go everyday to practice meditation, but 24 hours in a day is against me. I would definitely recommend everyone to try it at least once.


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