A cocktail shaker can be filled with innovation, science, and alcohol. So here’s to your health!
But hang on…can I really drink to my ‘health’ with an alcoholic drink?
When choosing your cocktail of choice it’s not just counting calories that makes it healthy or unhealthy…next time take a second to think about the potential for obtaining fruit and vegetable servings, nutrient value, sugar content, antioxidant level, and medicinal properties too. Plus flavour of course!
So for you health-conscious drinkers out there…here are some top tips and health benefits to keep in mind when drinking cocktails:
Let’s get the boring Vodka Soda out the way now…sure, a vodka and soda is the among the most low-cal ways to drink, but there are dangers associated with it…you might fall asleep while drinking it—because it’s so incredibly boring. This can lead to choking and death.
Vodka averages 96 calories per 50ml. Soda water, of course, has no calories. However, there is no nutritional value in this drink whatsoever. You can do better!
Guess what? Flavour isn’t bad for you! Forget the vodka. Bourbon (and gin) generally range between 97 and 110 calories per 50ml (depending on the brand). In other words, you get fifty times more flavour for a small handful more calories. It’ll be a way more satisfying experience, and it won’t leave you hollow and empty (like the vodka-soda).
2. Vitamin C
The numerous number of garnishes one can find in cocktail bars now is mad but a good old fashioned squeeze and slice of lemon/lime or other citrus fruits brings a ton of vitamin C in it, which boosts immune support and neutralizes free radicals that damage skin cells and tissues.
Fruit juices are often added to a base spirit to create cocktails, freshly made juices are best (never from concentrate) they are packed full of vitamin C. It’s large quantities of these that will increase you sugar levels though so be careful.
This brings us on to the mixer category…
3. Medicinal properties in Mixers
Most of the time the key factor is to look at what’s being mixed with your spirit of choice, it’s usually this that determines its overall value to your health. Although mixers are the main one to watch when focusing on your waistline there are some health benefits too.
Tonic Water contains Quinine (creating the bitterness in tonic) which is a natural remedy that helps prevent Malaria. We’d recommend Fever-Tree tonics as they contain all natural ingredients and the finest Quinine.
(Fact: the G&T was in fact invented by the British army in early 1600’s when they had to take quinine in India as an anti-malarial, they mixed it with citrus fruits and any other botanicals they could find and a small ration of gin to make the medicine/tonic more palatable- thus the Gin and Tonic was born.)
Ginger (found in natural ginger beer or ale) has anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and many more medicinal properties in that can do wonders for your health. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and B, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc and calcium…that’s a ton of goodness right there!
Gin is often a clear winner here, packed full of herbal goodness. Made with juniper berries, angelica root, rosemary, citrus peel, nutmeg, sage, lemon-grass; the list is endless, most of which offer a wide range of healing benefits. The juniper berries themselves have been claimed to help to combat infection, are full of antioxidants and supposedly help neutralise free-radicals so simply raise a glass of gin if you’re feeling a little under the weather.
5. Medicinal properties in Bitters
Bitters are an essential ingredient to most cocktails which is great for you because Angostura bitters are alleged to have restorative properties and also include ingredients such as orange peel and quinine. It has been reported to be a remedy for hiccups and also can be used as a cure for an upset stomach.
So there you have it…just a very brief insight into one more reason why you should be drinking cocktails. Just choose wisely and your next cocktail could be packed with health benefits (although it probably isn’t, let’s be honest 🙂 )!
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Image credits: Pod-creative and Cassandra Cass