I’d being lying if I told you that because I’m so into nutrition I never drink. Considering the fact that I’m a rising senior at now the #4 top party school in the nation (honestly can’t tell you if that’s a good or bad thing), and the fact that I just spent the summer living and working in Manhattan, I have had a decent exposure to alcohol and can definitely say that after much trial and error I have found ways to make your cocktail hours a leeeetle more healthy.
Before I even start this list, I have to emphasize that drinking will never be a healthy pass-time; every liquor, beer, wine and other drink you can think of is composed of mostly sugar because of the fermentation process required to make it. For example, when tequila is made, the agave leaves are cooked down to release fructose, which is then ground down to release the agave. Then they ferment the agave twice to form the tequila we drink. The process is fairly similar for any liquor, but the sugar source varies. SOOOOO basically whenever you drink, you’re consuming straight sugar without any naturally occurring fibers to help you digest and utilize it. BUT in order to make your mixies healthier, you can definitely control what kinds of juices/sodas/etc you add to that liquor because that can seriously change the game.
Dark vs. Light
Many sources argue that light liquors are better for you than dark ones, same goes for beers, and even wine sometimes. However, darker liquors and wines also contain more antioxidants than their light counterparts, BUT they also contain more cogeners which contribute to gnarly next-morning hangovers. I personally prefer the taste of dark liquor (gold tequila and whiskey are my personal vices) but I try my best to drink the lighter ones because I feel better the next day.
LOL GOTCHA. I’m not talking about soda in the traditional sense, I’m talking about club soda. Prior to my big lifestyle change, I was using traditional sodas like Coke to make my mixed drinks for a long time, but that’s a huge problem with making cocktails. A typical 8 oz serving of soda is loaded with sugar, chemicals and unnecessary calories that you’re essentially adding on top of a shot of liquor that’s also packed with sugar. And if you think you’re doing yourself a favor by using diet sodas to make your drinks, your hurting yourself even more with all of those gnarly chemicals and additives you’re body won’t be able to digest. So my advice is to switch over to flavored seltzer, my personal faves are the ones from Trader Joes.
If you’re ordering yourself a vodka soda that’s literally just vodka and club soda you will probably bore yourself to sleep at the bar, so I recommend adding some fruit up in their to make it more fun and tasty. When I’m ordering a drink out, I alwaaaaaaays ask for slices of lemon and lime and I just squeeze a sh*t ton into whatever little order I created. However, when I’m at home, I get more creative by adding grapefruit, orange, a couple chunks of frozen pineapple, mint leaves, whatever I’m feeling. It definitely ups the ante, and it makes your drink insta-ready.
Make it a Green Juicy
I got this idea after reading TSC, but I love it. Adding some fresh pressed juice to your cocktail not only gives it flavor but adds back some micronutrients that your’e forcing your body to deplete by drinking in the first place. If you have some yummy lemon/cayenne/ginger remedy juice on hand, add some tequila and you have a cool take on a spicy margarita!
So those are my biggest tips and tricks for drinking healthy, but when in doubt, I always order a tequila soda with a lime wedge if you need some quick drink inspo. Also, never be afraid to make changes to a fancy cocktail! If the menu says something is made with simple syrup, there’s no shame in asking for it without. Happy drinking!