Call it the natural extension of the locavore movement—or just a rising desire to care about what you’re putting into your body, but cocktail consumers have shifted away from the sugar-bomb mix drinks and shots, Red Bulls and vodka, and other saccharine concoctions in favor of more thoughtful drinks that boast clean, healthy ingredients. The quintessential Bloody Mary may be the patron saint of the healthy cocktail—and (thank the drinking gods), this new wave of healthy drinks follows that icon’s lead. They still contain alcohol and not a whiff of patchouli or any other sort of hippy-centric impulses. Just hearty, flavorful offerings that highlight the interplay of the booze and the other (often seasonal) ingredients, offering a drinking experience just as adventurous as they are likely to leave you hangover-free. Here’s a handful of cocktails that prove this trend is slowly taking over the country.
The Big Red Snapper
This natural evolution of the Bloody Mary isn’t new, per say, but it fits the bill, and this spin on the classic comes from Seattle-based Big Gin, including 1.5 ounces of gin and a four ounce Red Snapper mix (recipe below), shaken and poured over ice, garnished with lemon or a bit of cured meat (which, yea, is less healthy, but oh, soooooo tasty).
Red Snapper Mix
36 oz. tomato juice
4 oz. Amontillado Aherry
1 ½ oz. Worcestershire
3?4 oz. Tabasco sauce
3?4 tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
This one comes out of LA’s Baltaire Restaurant and chief mixologist August O’Mahoney, and taps into the restorative, healthy properties found in beets, ginger, and lemon. Mix Tito’s vodka with some Grand Marnier, beet juice, fresh ginger, lemon, and an egg white and stir until well combined, then pour over ice. Skip the raw beet garnish, and just go with a slice of citrus.
Drafting off the kombucha trend, the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah, employs a fermented mix of Chun me, Gunpowder, and 5 Peaks green teas blended with lavender, yarrow, and sage extracts. Made exclusively by Utah local Sunnte Kombucha, this mix stands as the dominating flavor of their Natural Nectar cocktail, which includes 1.5 ounces of Beehive Gin, an ounce of pineapple juice, a dash of hibiscus syrup and a topper of the kombucha (a little goes a long way), garnished with a sage leaf.
The craftsman behind the Lobby Bar in Austin’s JW Marriot leans into another trend by partnering with local cold-press juice company Juice Society to create a bunch of different health-conscious cocktails. Joplin ranks as most popular, utilizing three ounces of the Golden Girl juice—a mix of orange, carrot, and turmeric, along with 1.5 ounces of Noble Wolf Vodka and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Mixologist Chris Adams of 1KEPT restaurant in Charleston, SC, uses the slow drip cold-brew method to intensify and infuse flavors into spirits to deliver both complex and refreshing drinks. Squashed It! uses a base of Bombay Dry Gin, infused with the medicinal and high-flavoring benefits of turmeric along with butternut squash, lime, and coconut RumHaven.
24 Carrot Gold
Leaning into Mi Corazon restaurant’s pedigree of organic Mexican cuisine, LA-based Bar Director Raul Pool uses a house-made carrot coconut water in his 24 Carrot Gold cocktail. This healthy ingredient is fortified with Western Grace Brandy, Cana Brava Rum, a bit of bitterness from Amaro Montenegro, along with cream, vanilla, and cinnamon tincture.
Bend, OR, is well-known for its beer and it ridiculously easy access to all varieties of outdoor activities, so it feels natural that the bartender at the Twisted River Tavern in Sunriver Resort wants to offer a recuperative alternative to the traditional pint of IPA. The Antioxidant martini includes a half-cup of ice along with a tablespoon of sliced ginger, honey, and mint; two tablespoons each of blueberries and sliced cucumbers; half a teaspoon of turmeric; and the juice of one lemon, all muddled in a martini shaker before adding two ounces of vodka. This is then shaken and strained into a martini glass rimmed with activated charcoal and Himalayan sea salt, garnished with a slice of lemon, a bit of mint, and a few blueberries on a skewer.