Summer is here which means longer days, BBQ's, night's out on the town aaaand inevitably a beverage or two (or three). I'd like to start off by saying that I am not suggesting that you drink alcohol as part of a healthy diet but I also believe in the 80/20 rule which means everything in moderation. However, I do suggest limiting your intake of alcohol in the summertime specifically. We are in Pitta season so drinking lots of acidic drinks like alcohol (and coffee!) will make you prone to drying out and will irritate and inflame the body's delicate mucous membranes where our good immune-boosting microbes live. Personally, I've been on the mocktail train as of late. Now that I'm 30 I feel like I get SO hungover which I honestly just don't have time for. I also find that I can have the same amount of fun as I used to while drinking with a tasty alcohol-free bevvy in my hands. I have more energy, don't drink my calories and don't feel crappy the next day. This doesn't mean I don't indulge every once in a while. The problem is that I love the taste of alcohol which is hard to copy with non-alcoholic drinks. I love negroni's, manhatten's and wine so I indulge in one or two at dinner (eating while drinking helps prevent hangovers) from time to time.
Summer cocktails are definitely a "thing" so I thought I'd compile a list of the healthiest and unhealthiest drinks so you can make the right choice for your health. First things first:
What is the "Healthiest" Alcohol?
Blanco (White) Tequila - Clean and Low calorie. Minimal hangover. Blanco or repasado tequilas are healthier - darker tequilas are aged in barrels that contained other alcohols. Tequila has been known to give us more energy - not scientifically proven but I can definitely speak to it!
Red Wine - Red wine has has a high concentration of polyphenols, particularly resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes. These antioxidants may work to reduce inflammation in your body. If you don't want to be hungover aim for sulfite free (other than naturally occurring) and low tannins.
Brut (Dry) Champagne - less caloric than wine and contains the same antioxidants as red wine, although a bit less due to the lack of grape skins.
*If you want to prevent a painstaking hangover stick to high quality alcohols. It pays to pay for top shelf.
Summer Cocktails I Avoid
Frozen drinks might be fun and super summery (hello, frosé) but they're also filled with sugary juices, high calorie mixers and tend to be served in oversized glasses. Not only are you getting a large dose of alcohol but you're getting hit with approximately 500 calories in that one drink vs about 120 calories for a glass of white wine.
If there's herbs in my drink it's healthy, right? Wrong. Mojito's are rarely ordered at most bars which means the mint in your drink is probably old and could be carrying harmful bacteria. If you're at a specialty bar you're most likely safe but remember - mojito's are a hangover nightmare. Rum (made from cane sugar) and 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar are in a mojito. Oy, just writing that made me cringe.
Long Island Iced Tea + Grateful Dead (the sweeter cousin of the LIIT)
RUN FOR THE HILLS! Both drinks contain about 6 liquors and a splash of soda. Ouch ouch ouch just don't. Don't do it. Not only is this drink 780 calories but it's just not classy to be sh*tfaced from one drink.
Healthier Summer Cocktails
Mix 1oz Mezcal (or blanco tequila) with 2 oz berry-flavored kombucha and 2 oz soda water. Serve over ice with a few berries for garnish.
Vitality Vodka Juice
Using a juicer, blend one cucumber, two celery stalks, one head of romaine lettuce, one lemon, one small piece of fresh ginger, and two green apples. Then, add vodka or tequila to taste.
Botanical Gin Martini
Muddle mint and/or basil at the bottom of a shaker with a couple slices of cucumber. Add a dash of dry vermouth and 2 oz high quality gin. Shake and strain into a martini glass with fresh or frozen cucumber wheels. Fancy this up by adding a botanical ice cube into your glass. To make it fill your ice tray with water and place a cucumber slice and a mint and/or basil leaf in each cube, freeze and voila! Now you're real fancy.
Natasha's Aperol Spritz
Do as the Italians do! Aperol Spritz's are making a come back. I replace 1/2 the Prosecco with soda water for a low-sugar version of the classic. To make this, fill a glass with ice and pour in 2 oz or Apero 1 oz of Prosecco. Garnish with an orange slice and an olive on a stick of you're doing it the way they serve it in Venice.
Watermelon Lime Mocktail
In a blender, blend watermelon and lime juice until smooth. Fill a glass of ice with 1/2 of the mixture and top with a splash of ginger beer, kombucha, or soda water. Ok, it's great with champagne too - better than a mimosa IMHO.
I love hearing from you so tell me - what's your favorite summer cocktail? Have you gotten super into mocktails lately? Tell me in the comments below!
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