Healthy Summer Cocktails From Nutritionists & Food Experts
While a lot of the country is still self-isolating, it's also Memorial Day weekend, and while we're honoring our servicemen and women, we hopefully are also taking some time to relax and kick off the summer, even while we're sticking close to home. So whether you're stepping out onto your porch, waving to friends at the end of your driveway, saluting passing servicemen and women, or leaning out your window or onto your fire escape, we're wishing you a start to a safe and healthy summer.
In that spirit, we reached out to some of our favorite R.D.s and food experts to tell us what healthy cocktails and mocktails they'll be sipping on this season. You heard it here first; these are the quarantine cocktails of the summer...cheers!
Blueberry-Infused Gin Spritz
One of my personal favorite hacks is to infuse spirits. My fiancé works in the spirits industry and likes to tinker around with different recipes. He recently made a blueberry-infused gin by soaking frozen wild blueberries in gin overnight and then straining the berries out the next day. This makes a delicious base for warm-weather drinks—I personally enjoy it with sparkling water and a generous splash of lemon or lime juice. It also plays well with watermelon juice or a homemade blueberry syrup (so easy to make with water, frozen blueberries, and your sweetener of choice—I have been using allulose in mine). You could also do this with vodka or tequila, if preferred.
Another favorite is a strawberry-infused bourbon made with frozen strawberries for a summery twist on cocktails made with darker spirits. I also really enjoy a Campari spritz, which is made with Campari, Prosecco, and club soda. It's a bit less sweet than an Aperol spritz but still light and refreshing.
All that said, most of the time I actually prefer a mocktail, and I think this summer we'll be seeing a lot of simple and delicious mocktails. My go-to is sparkling water with flavored bitters or a shrub—it's like a healthier soda.
Watermelon Mint Cooler
It's refreshing, hydrating, easy on the stomach, and tastes like the Fourth of July in a glass! To make it, add 3 to 4 mint leaves to a highball glass, then top with 1 ounce Tito's or your favorite vodka, ½ can Watermelon Waterloo (6 ounces), and 1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or to taste, also optional). Use a fork to gently crush the mint leaves at the bottom of the glass and stir a few times, then top with a few ice cubes and a few chunks of seedless watermelon. You could also use the Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Watermelon & Mint, with the juicy watermelon flavor already added.
Hibiscus Ginger Fizz
I love this Hibiscus Ginger Fizz because it's light and refreshing. Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals to support skin health, and ginger kombucha supports digestive well-being, which is important for glowing skin. Brew double-strength hibiscus tea: Add 2 tea bags of hibiscus tea (I like Traditional Medicinals) to 1 cup boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. Carefully squeeze out tea bags with a spoon. Add 2 ounces of the tea to a tall glass with ice. Add ½ cup ginger kombucha, and stir. Taste, and if you wish, sweeten with just a touch of maple syrup, but I like it unsweetened so it has more of an herbal flavor. Top with sparkling water (passionfruit or mango flavor is great here!) and a sprig of mint or slice of lime. And if you want to add a shot of rum, that might be delicious too :)
The Kombucha Mule
I learned about this concept from my friend Talia Pollock, who has a recipe in her new book Party in Your Plants. It's essentially a Moscow Mule but using ginger kombucha instead of ginger ale. It's a really easy healthful swap, and while plain Jane kombucha is great and all, I think many of us could use a little vodka in it right about now. To make it, combine 4 oz. ginger kombucha, 1½ oz. vodka, 1/6 oz lime juice, and mint to garnish. I've been using some mint from my mother's garden, and it's excellent!
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