This great excerpt from Greatist helps highlight some excellent ideas for creating a healthier summer cocktail this summer.
Alcoholic drinks can be a sneaky source of calories, sugar, and even salt—but not when you play bartender. Try to get a few healthier alternatives under that (suddenly much looser) belt to impress friends and family and order with confidence when out at the bar. Here are the eight key guidelines that make our drinks healthier options:
- Use only fresh-squeezed or 100 percent fruit juice to reduce added sugars. Fruit juice can still be a danger food, though, so sometimes it's best to dilute it with water or ice to cut back on calories.
- Choose seltzer water over other carbonated waters to eliminate added sodium and other additives. For recipes that call for soda, skimp on portions, or opt for diet or natural (read: less added sugar) versions—though those can have their pitfalls, too.
- Make simple syrup with honey which, though sugary, has some added benefits, like a healthy dose of antioxidants. It also gives you better control of the sugar content. Any recipe that calls for simple syrup will use the following recipe: ½ tablespoon honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water.
- Use whole fruit instead of sugar or flavored syrups. The fruit itself adds fiber, natural sugars, and vitamins.
- Choose light alcohol over dark alcohol. The dark stuff contains more compounds known as congeners, which can worsen hangovers.
- Limit yourself to one shot per drink. Multi-alcohol cocktails can pack in serious calories, so we kept ours to one shot (or 1 ½ ounces) each. The shooters and shots we included actually contain less than one shot each to further lessen the caloric load.
- Size matters—especially when it comes to consuming liquid calories. That's why we kept all our drinks right around the 8-ounce mark.
- Choose nutritious ingredients. Ginger, coffee, and lemon star in several of our drinks. They've each got their own proven health benefits, even though they may not totally counteract the negative affects of alcohol. (Note: Too much alcohol and caffeine can both dehydrate—making hangovers even worse—so try to keep it at no more than one cup of Joe for the night.)
Our Choice for this weekend is:
Scrap the mix and make a Bloody Mary from scratch! Start with ¾ cup of no sugar-added, low-sodium tomato juice and add the juice of ½ lemon, a dash each of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, fresh ground pepper to taste, and 1 shot of vodka. Garnish with a lemon wedge and celery stick. Bonus points for adding a cocktail shrimp for some extra protein!
With a lot of really great options we will revisit Greatist all through the summer for more healthier drink options.
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