Bring in the new year with a healthy twist. Maybe you indulged a little too much these past couple months. Holiday party regrets. Feeling like that second or third adult beverage just doesn’t sit the same way it once did. Tired of that next day drag, puffiness, maybe a headache, or unwanted GI distress. If you’re looking for a fun and healthy alternative for your “Dry January”, then keep reading. I have a few healthful cocktails that will keep you feeling fancy, keep the hangover away, and even provide you with some added benefits.
We all know the negative effects of consuming alcohol. It taxes our liver, impacts blood sugar regulation, disrupts sleep. Not to mention all the side effects of a hangover. Our bodies are already working hard enough to keep inflammation down, filter out toxins, and ward off illnesses lurking behind every corner. So why do we keep drinking? For many, the consumption of alcohol is a social thing, it’s a way to go out, it’s part of the dining experience. Maybe it’s a way to relax after a particularly stressful day.
Mocktails can provide this same comfort and experience while avoiding the unwanted effects of alcohol on your body. Choosing a cocktail prepared using real ingredients, natural sweeteners, fresh herbs, digestive bitters or fermented foods, can give you that luxury experience without missing the alcohol.
Here are a few of my favorite healthful mocktails to kick off the new year.
Vinegar Based “Shrubs”
- 1/4 cup raspberry wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup blood orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbsp sugar (preferably raw sugar)
- 1-2 drops of digestive bitters
- Garnish with basil
Combine all ingredients together in a glass/shaker and stir or shake. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve. Pour over ice and serve.
A refreshing mix of vinegar, tangy orange and digestive bitter can be the perfect drink to get those digestive juices flowing. Herbal bitters are an essential part of good health. These activate the digestive system by triggering the production of digestive enzymes from the stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder.(1)
Some benefits of digestive bitters include:
- Better digestion
- Improve GI motility
- Aid in upset stomach
- Reduce bloating, gas and constipation
- Helps improve low stomach acid
- Aids in the breakdown of protein and fat
- Supports liver function
Grapefruit Paloma Mocktail
Tart and sweet, gluten free & vegan
- 2 oz grapefruit juice (go fresh squeezed to avoid the added sugars)
- 1oz fresh lime juice
- Tbsp maple syrup
- Sparkling water
Garnish with lime wedge and grapefruit wheel
Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maple syrup to a glass and stir well.
Fill glass with ice
Top the glass off with sparkling water
Garnish and serve.
Get a healthy dose of vitamin C with this grapefruit beverage. Grapefruits contain a high concentration of vitamin C as well as vitamin A. These two vitamins play a key role in supporting immune function, improves the absorption of nonheme iron from plant sources and aids in cellular protection.(2,3)
Blueberry Lavender Fauxjito
Kick up and relax with this calming lavender mocktail. Made using a lavender infused simple syrup, refreshing mint and antioxidant rich blueberries. Lavender has been found to have positive calming effects on the nervous system.(4) Instead of reaching for the alcohol to calm your nerves, try this cocktail instead.
- Lavender simple syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp culinary lavender
To make, combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Mash lavender to release flavor. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out lavender buds. Let cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Blueberry Lavender Fauxjito:
- 2-3 Tbsp lavender syrup
- 6-8 mint leaves
- 3 slices of lime or juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
- Handful of ice
- Sparkling water
In a tall glass, add lavender syrup, blueberries, mint and lime or lime juice. Muddle to release flavors. Add in ice and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with more mint, lime slices and a few fresh berries.
So next time you are craving a classy drink try one of these instead and sip the benefits without the regrets.
- McMullen MK, Whitehouse JM, Towell A. Bitters: Time for a New Paradigm. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:670504. doi: 10.1155/2015/670504. Epub 2015 May 14. PMID: 26074998; PMCID: PMC4446506.
- Jacob, Robert A, and Gity Sotoudeh. “Vitamin C function and status in chronic disease.” Nutrition in clinical care : an official publication of Tufts University vol. 5,2 (2002): 66-74. doi:10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00005.x
- Gershoff, S N. “Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): new roles, new requirements?.” Nutrition reviews vol. 51,11 (1993): 313-26. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.1993.tb03757.x
- Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the nervous system. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:681304. doi: 10.1155/2013/681304. Epub 2013 Mar 14. PMID: 23573142; PMCID: PMC3612440.