Alcoholic drinks can be a sneaky source of calories, sugar, and even salt—but not when you’re playing bartender. Try to get a few healthier alternatives under that (suddenly much looser) belt to impress friends and family, and so you can order with confidence when at a restaurant or bar. Our friends atGreatist narrowed down eight key guidelines to make our most indulgent drinks into healthier ones—and created 60 recipes for kick-ass cocktails.
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.
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 flavoured 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.
Use only fresh-squeezed or 100 percent fruit juice to reduce added sugars. Fruit juice can still be a dangerfood, though, so sometimes it’s best to dilute it with water or ice to cut back on calories.