Food & Wine

Healthy Cocktail Mixers for Diet-Friendly and Delicious DIY Drinks

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Crafting a good cocktail is akin to sculpting a clay figure. It is practically a breeze to do an average job, but it takes a true virtuoso to make a sublime beverage. However, one doesn’t have to be a genius to learn how to create superb cocktails – at the end of the day, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Therefore, do not feel nervous about blundering the few first tries until you finally learn how to do it right and proceed to perfect the art of mixing ingredients. Shake up your life with these healthy cocktail mixers for diet-friendly and delicious DIY drinks.

Aperol cocktail

Aperol

Aperol is one of those rare aperitifs that proudly carries the staple of a healthy cocktail ingredient. It has been originally produced in Padua, Italy, almost a hundred years ago (in 1919, to be exact). It’s typically made of orange, rhubarb, cinchona, and gentian, and it generally boasts an 11% alcoholic volume. Even though it belongs to the “family” of bitter aperitifs, it has a much milder mid-palate taste due to the hint of orange and sugar content. It is therefore an extremely popular component in the makeup of many health-inflected cocktails.

The DIY approach to concocting Aperol cocktails is rather straightforward. Squeeze a few limes to get a thick juice, mix it up with some Aperol and add water. Each of the basic ingredients should make up one third of the whole glass, so pouring the right measures is not exactly convoluted. If you truly want to add a few more health points to your cocktail, don’t use plain water. Instead, go for aloe vera, cucumber or birch water. The cocktail should be served in a highball glass with crushed ice and garnish is optional.

Hanky Panky

The main ingredient of the Hanky Panky cocktail is Fernet-Branca, the brand of herbal liqueur that originated in Milan, Italy. As it appears, several truly famous alcoholic beverages with health benefits hail from the Apennine Peninsula. The alcoholic volume per glass is a whopping 39%, but this should not discourage you – it is a well-known remedy for stomach pain, cramps and flatulence, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. It boasts ingredients such as saffron, cocoa leaves and even mint – which explains its stomach-calming effect – but the exact recipe for this drink is a carefully guarded secret to this day.

Fernet-Branca is particularly popular in the United States these days as the key ingredient in many vintage cocktails, and Hanky Panky (or Panky Hanky, depending on your tongue-rolling preference) is among the most popular ones. Once again, for DIY beginners, it is a rather simple cocktail to mix. You need one and a half ounces of gin, the identical dosage of Fernet-Branca and a whole ounce of vermouth. It is admittedly a short cocktail, but with some orange peel garnish and a few ice cubes, it is a welcoming beverage after a strong meal as it promotes good digestion.

Margarita (revisited)

barista

Of course, as an avid cocktail crafter, you should not rely only on regular sources such as recipe books. Look online for inspiration and interesting mixing methods. Play a beverage stylist, follow the trend in mixology from NYC and craft your own and  built signature drinks in three steps. Such easy-to-make cocktails are a sound method of practicing your skill.

For example, a margarita is a good, flexible type of cocktail that lends you a broad canvass for crafting exercise. Start off with a shot of preferred liquor – typically, one and a half ounces of tequila. Then add a whole two ounces of healthy, cold-pressed juice of your own liking. While margaritas typically include lime, lemon or orange juice, you can create your own combinations until you’ve found the one that suits your palate. Top it off with a dash of Cointreau to balance the tastes out and proceed to the third step – which is usually garnishing the rim of the glass. The final step is a perfect opportunity to add sophisticated nuance to your cocktail as you play with a variety of ingredients and fresh flavors. Since we are discussing healthy cocktail mixers, make sure you have created a margarita that is not too strong or too sugary. A discreet blend of tastes is not only more healthy, it is also more appreciated by both the oral cavity and the stomach.

Matcha Mai Tai

Have you heard of matcha before? It is a well-known power food in the Far East and it originated in China centuries ago. It is sold in the form of fine powder with a lively green hue. The powder is made out of crushed green tea leaves and it is usually mixed with hot water in the form of tea or with milk in the form of a filling beverage. Above all else, it is known for its strong health benefits. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants called polyphenols. It also spells good news for caffeine junkies, as a cup of matcha tea contains the same volume of the precious chemical as a cup of brewed coffee.

Therefore, Matcha Mai Tai is the very epitome of a healthy cocktail. This one’s a bit more complex than your regular three-step three-ingredient cocktail, so be forewarned that, if you are a beginner, it will probably not come off as ideally as one would hope. First you need to purchase your preferred and reliable brand of matcha powder and put two ounces of it in a regular-sized glass. Then add eight ounces of warm water to dissolve the powder into a nice, creamy liquid. Mix it up with one ounce of rum, two ounces of coconut water and one ounce of pineapple juice. Top it off with a pinch of lime and add ice if you prefer to drink it cold, though it is optional. While we are on the topic of optional ingredients, should you wish to add decoration on top of the drink, the best garnish for this overwhelmingly green cocktail is definitely mint leaves.

Of course, these are only some prominent examples of cocktail mixers that are quite popular around the globe. If you truly insist on a DIY approach, you will become skilled in creating nuances of taste that are more than unique. A popular cocktail will become an idiosyncratic combo in your hands, and after you have perfected your own methods of mixing, you will become more confident to start experimenting. This is when you’ll start creating your own “brand” of cocktails. Who knows, if you discover a particularly unique and sublime taste, the beverage might find its place among the most popular cocktails in the world.

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Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

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