Whether out for Happy Hour or entertaining guests, cocktails are a great way to connect with friends and wind down for a moment of fun. Unfortunately, cocktails aren’t the most healthy beverage to indulge in.
With the sweet syrups, artificial flavorings, and various add-ins, cocktails prove to be high in sugar and calories. Though being healthy involves watching what you eat and drink, you shouldn’t have to cut out cocktails all together. There are some adjustments you can make to your cocktails to ensure you’re consuming something that’s on the healthier side.
From adding something different to your drink to substituting certain ingredients for others, you have the ability to make your drink better for your body. Here are some things you can do to make your cocktail a healthy treat:
Add An Herbal Tonic
Herbs are used for healing and health purposes, so why not add it to a drink? Including an herbal tonic is an easy way to make your cocktail healthier without compromising the great taste.
Instead of scrambling to find newer, healthy ingredients, turn to an herbal tonic to provide health benefits instead. Herbal tonics are great for non-alcoholic beverages as well, so feel free to enjoy in mocktails that feature an herbal tonic as well.
Substitute with Sparking Water
Adding sugary sodas to your cocktail is known to be unhealthy, as sodas can lead to break-outs, weight gain, and increased blood pressure. Instead, substitute soda with sparkling water to keep that same bubbly sensation. By doing this and adding natural flavors, you can mimic the flavor of soda without the added sugar and calories.
Sugar is used as a sweet topping for many drinks, and literally acts as the ‘cherry on top’ for the cocktail. By now you know that added sugar contributes to an array of health complications and conditions. So the next time you make a cocktail, rather than using sugar, try something equally sweet but much healthier: honey.
Honey is considered a natural sugar and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You don’t have to give up the sweet taste; all you have to do is use a substitute.
Use Natural Ingredients
The taste of natural ingredients are replicated using artificial flavors, so why not use these same flavors directly from the source? Instead of artificial lemon juice, try using freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice instead. Want a minty taste? Use fresh mint leaves to bring the drink together.
For fruity drinks, add in fresh fruits and squeezed juices to take your drink to the next level. This way, you can cut the calories while enhancing the flavor.
Use Light Beverages
Cocktails are known for being flavorful thanks to the sugary, artificially-flavored beverages used to create them. But these tasty combos aren’t the healthiest. To change this around for your drinks, use beverages that are lighter in color, less saturated, and contain less sugar. This will make it easier for your body to process the contents of your drink all together.
And of course, if you can use natural beverages such as fresh-squeezed juice, your drink will be much healthier for it.
Clear vs. Dark Spirits
Some prefer cocktails mixed with clear spirits like tequila and rum, while others prefer dark spirits such as whiskey and bourbon. While there are delicious drinks in every category, the healthier drinks tend to be on the lighter side.
Darker alcoholic beverages are known to contain a higher concentration of congeners—substances that give these drinks flavor and distinction but unfortunately also worsen hangover symptoms as well. Sticking to clear drinks can cut down on these symptoms and make drinking a more enjoyable experience.
Serve Less Alcohol
At first, serving less alcohol can seem counter-productive. After all, isn’t the point of having a cocktail to drink alcohol? Yes, however decreasing the amount of alcohol used per drink won’t take away from the overall flavor.
All it will do is decrease the calories and sugar you take in. Rather than using 2 ounces of alcohol in your next drink, try between 1 and 1.5 ounces. This will give you more room to add other natural ingredients to make your drink more interesting. Give less alcohol a shot to make more room for healthier things.
A good cocktail doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. All it needs are quality ingredients, appropriate portions, and tasty additives. And in this case, you don’t have to sacrifice tasty for healthy. And the key to healthier drinks? Using moderation, adding better ingredients, and making healthier choices.
Take some time to figure out what you like, try something new, and build upon the things you enjoy. Trust your taste buds and believe that finding and/or creating the healthy cocktail creation that piques your interest is worth it!