Creative Cocktails With a Nutritious Twist

Skip the traditional alcoholic drinks that are full of empty calories and mystery mixers. Instead, order (or pour) a drink that can help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet—and enjoy a healthier happy hour.

Fruity Flavors

Scan the drink menus at trendy bars and restaurants, and you'll find spiked fresh juices and creamy, alcohol-laced smoothies that have moved beyond classic strawberry margaritas and piña coladas. At Cocktail Bodega on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Ironman Whiskey is a culinary cocktail made with apple, beet, carrot, and celery juices, plus a shot of bourbon. Their recipe for an Acai Antioxidant Smoothie includes acai berries, banana, blueberries, pomegranate juice, strawberries, and vodka. A little further uptown, the brunch beverage of choice at Hotel Americano is a Detox Bellini, designed to help you out of a hangover with a tasty combination of wheatgrass, chlorophyll, orange, apple, and celery juices, and champagne.

The secret to making these drinks healthier-and better tasting-than old-fashioned cocktails is using fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, along with extracts and flavorings such as ginger root and chilies. These concoctions, made with organic grains, pure spring water and natural organic essences leave a lighter imprint on the earth, any may offer benefits regular cocktails can't. They are certain to be kind to your taste buds.

Better Quality Ingredients, Less Sugar

When the makers of Square One Organic Spirits in California set out brew a better vodka, they found that higher quality alcoholic beverages are so much smoother, they simply don't need the sugary, artificially flavored mixers used to cover up the harsh bite of lower-end spirits. A Square One specialty is the Country Thyme, developed by professional mixologist H. Joseph Ehrmann. It includes a handful of fresh blueberries, blackberries, or huckleberries muddled with the juice of an organic lemon and an ounce and a half of organic vodka, which is then flavored with fresh thyme leaves and sweetened with organic agave nectar.

Health Benefits

Even a simple mixed drink like vodka and orange juice—if it's made with 100 percent fresh or fortified juic­e—can contribute a substantial amount of nutrients to your diet. Six ounces of orange juice supplies at least half the amount of vitamin C you need in a day, not to mention vitamin A and electrolytes (minerals) such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. If you're drinking juice that contains bits of pulp, you may even get some natural fiber with your cocktail. The nutritional benefits of most fresh or frozen fruits and berries, and most fresh and fortified fruit and berry juices, is similar to that of oranges and orange juice.

A Word to the Wise

Just remember this: Moderation is always the first rule of healthier alcohol consumption. Be sure to imbibe no more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day, because even cocktails that supply a healthy dose of disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are no match for the destructive power of too much alcohol in your body.



Square One Organic Spirits. Web. Accessed 6 June 2013.

Cocktail Bodega. Web. Accessed 6 June 2013.

Hotel Americano. Web. Accessed 6 June 2013.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Moderate & Binge Drinking."

Web. Accessed 6 June 2013.

Rickman, Joy C. et al. "Nutritional Comparison of Fresh, Frozen, and Canned Fruits and Vegetables II. Vitamin A and Carotenoids, Vitamin E, Minerals and Fiber." Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2007; 87:1185-1196. Web. Accessed 7 Feb. 2013.