Most of us enjoy a delicious cocktail, but how many of us consider what the ingredients of our cocktail are doing to our health? If we strive to be consistently healthier in even small ways, we’ll create a much healthier lifestyle for ourselves overall.
Here are some ways to make healthier cocktails that are worth raising your glass to:
Avoid the simple syrup.
Sorry Mary Poppins, just a spoonful of *maple syrup*— in the case for healthier cocktails. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than sugar–which means it’s digested, absorbed and metabolized slower, and therefore causes a lower and slower rise in blood glucose. Sugar causes spikes and drops in blood sugar which can cause the “sugar crash” (a headache, fatigue, irritability, increased heart rate, anxiety) and can wreak havoc on your body’s insulin levels.
Try just half the amount of maple syrup to start–add more to taste.
Use fresh juice.
You’ll imbibe an abundance of live enzymes, essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients by using fresh squeezed or blended juices. FYI, bottled juices are pasteurized (aka heated and processed), which can destroy all the benefits mentioned above. Time to invest in this or this, if only for the healthier cocktails.
Skip soda mixers.
By now we all know how bad sugar is for us, and aspartame might be even worse–it’s been linked to causing increased sugar cravings, brain fog, higher risk for diabetes, cancer in animals, and is generally a highly scrutinized sugar substitute. When in doubt, leave it out!
Add a splash of seltzer.
Try cutting back at least a quarter of the amount of mixer the recipe calls for, and add a splash of seltzer instead. Try this one. You will feel lighter and less full after consuming your cocktail–and bonus points for added hydration.
For each cocktail you drink, aim to drink one glass of water to maintain optimal hydration. Adding plenty of ice to your cocktail (crushed ice, even better) will help you stay hydrated if you don’t follow the 1:1 rule of thumb.
Skip the packaged mixtures.
Packaged mixtures are processed and often have unnecessary ingredients we don’t need in our cocktails: excess sugar, sodium, preservatives, fillers. Opt for clean and simple ingredients by using fresh herbs and spices whenever possible.
Try kombucha as a mixer.
Drumroll for our favorite healthy cocktail base….kombucha. Why not add probiotics and effervescence to your cocktail? Who can be mad at that?
Skip the salt on the rim.
If this altogether ruins your margarita experience, try asking for just a quarter of the rim salted. Did you know that one teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium? That’s the entire day’s suggested intake! Keeping your sodium low helps keep blood pressure regulated and lowers risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke.
Replace tonic with soda water.
Tonic water can make you feel like you’re choosing a healthier option–maybe because it’s called water. But in fact, it’s quite similar to soda. There are 32 grams of sugar in a 12 ounce can of tonic water –compared to 39 grams in a same sized can of Coca-Cola. Skip it!
Making cocktails at home is a great way to be sure your cocktail is the healthiest it can be. And it’s fun to experiment with different ingredients. Invite some friends over and give some new recipes a try. You’ll need this, and below a recipe idea (with our favorite kombucha base!).
The GIN-gerade Fizz
2 ounces gin
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (use this for grating)
5 ounces GT’s Gingerade kombucha, chilled
Lemon wedges (for garnish)