The Tart-And-Sweet Functional Beverage An Herbalist Sips To Unwind
Reaching for a happy hour drink is a quick way to separate work from the rest of your life, which can help to ease stress and support mental health—especially for those of us working from home. And when made with the right ingredients, the beverage itself can also help calm down your nervous system after a long day.
Case in point: this alcohol-free delight that Rachelle Robinett, R.H., herbalist and founder of Supernatural, loves to sip once her final email is sent. Follow along with her formula for a citrusy, tart mocktail that relaxes the body while keeping the mind clear, calm, and focused.
The essentials of a relaxing mocktail.
When stirring up a relaxing mocktail, Robinett usually makes sure to include the following three categories:
- A nervine herb: Nervine herbs can help calm the nervous system, making them great happy hour alternatives to alcohol. Popular options include kava, lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, and valerian. Robinett explains that there are many ways to get these plant medicines into your drink: You could freeze their tea into ice cubes, muddle them in the bottom of your glass, or arrange them around your cup's rim for a fun twist. However, she usually recommends using herbal tinctures for quick mocktails since they're so concentrated and easy to work with.
- The juice of two types of citrus: Adding the juice of grapefruit and orange or lemon and lime can give your drink a more complex flavor (and some extra vitamins to boot). "I find that when you blend citrus, it makes the drink even more fun," Robinett tells mbg.
- Digestive bitters: Robinett tops things off with a dash or two of herbal bitters to support digestion. You can either make your own, use conventional bar bitters, or buy from a specialty retailer like Herb Farm or Urban Moonshine.
Once you have these basics covered, there are a million ways to customize your drink depending on your mood or what's in your fridge. Recently, this has been Robinett's go-to combination:
Calming Kava Citrus Mocktail
- A dropper of kava tincture
- 1 to 2 drops of digestive bitters
- Juice of a slice of grapefruit
- Juice of half a lime
- Sparkling water
- Combine the citrus, kava, and bitters in a glass filled with ice.
- Top with sparkling water, stir, and sip.
Robinett adds that the kava in this brew promotes a sense of relaxation and happiness. "It's an herb that's great for socializing," she says, making it an especially nice choice if you have evening plans. (However, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should abstain.)
While she likes to drink this mocktail in the late afternoon, its low alcohol content means it can be enjoyed at any time of day or night. Cheers!
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.