Cocktails are your love language — but they’re not quite loving you back lately. If drinking is leaving you worse for wear, it might be time to switch to mocktails and reap the health benefits. What are mocktails? They are mock cocktails, meaning they imitate the delicious flavors of a regular cocktail, but minus the alcohol. You’ve likely encountered them at restaurants prefaced by the word “virgin,” as in virgin piña colada. This way you can imbibe without experiencing a brutal hangover the next day.
How Mocktails Can Improve Your HealthThe difference between a mocktail and cocktail is more than merely eliminating the alcohol. It’s enjoying the several health benefits that come with making this change. Here are six health benefits of mocktails:
- More Nutrients. When you’re making your mocktails at home, you have full say over what you put in it. Adding fruits with antioxidants, herbs like mint and spices like cinnamon all go a long way toward improving your overall health.
- No Hangovers. Many factors can contribute to hangovers, but the main two issues are dehydration and the toxic effects of alcohol on the body. Additionally, alcohol messes with your sleep quality and can leave you feeling groggy in the morning. With a mocktail, you won’t experience any of these issues.
- Not Addictive. There’s no such thing as becoming a mock-aholic. Alcohol triggers an endorphin release to the brain that leads to a sensation of pleasure. Research shows that this process can bring a craving for more alcohol, leading to alcohol abuse and addiction. Cut the alcohol to cut that risk.
- They Hydrate. Unlike alcohol, which is a powerful diuretic, mocktails can hydrate your body — especially if you use coconut water and sparkling mineral water as your mocktail base.
- They’re Safe. Because mocktails contain no alcohol, anyone can drink them, including pregnant women and children. If you’re chronically ill, a mocktail is a tasty alternative to the real thing and won’t compromise your health further.
- Disease Prevention. Alcohol is a carcinogen that can increase your risk of colon and breast cancers. Drinking too much alcohol can also wreak havoc on your gut and liver health. Switching to healthy mocktails for just a month can improve markers associated with cancer, as well as give your gut and liver a chance to rest and heal.
The Best Ingredients for Mocktails
It should be no surprise that not all mocktail ingredients are created equal. Sparkling mineral water is superior to soda. Freshly squeezed juice is better than sugar-laden store-bought juices. In general, the less sugar, the better. Here is a handy list of ingredients to use for healthy mocktails vs. ingredients to avoid:
|Healthy Mocktail Ingredients||Not-so-healthy Mocktail Ingredients|
● Naturally sparkling mineral water
● Pomegranate juice
● Unsweetened cranberry juice
● Acai berry juice
● Noni juice
● Green tea
● Coconut water
● Coconut milk
● Whole fruit or vegetables
● Fresh herbs (mint, basil)
● Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)
● Citrus peels, zest
● Sodas — especially diet soda
● Flavored “nutritional” waters
● Energy drinks
● Sweetened juices
● Tonic water (many people don’t realize how high in sugar it is)
● Artificial flavors
● Artificial colors
● Corn syrup
Healthy Mocktail Mule RecipeTo make this drink, you will need:
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 ounces ginger-flavored kombucha
- For garnish: lime wedge, mint sprig, and/or slice of granny smith apple
First, fill your mule mug with crushed ice. Next, add lime juice. Lastly, top with kombucha and stir, choosing your garnish for the top. We love a good Moscow Mule — and our original recipe makes a great mocktail by simply omitting the vodka. But there is a way to make a healthier Mocktail Mule.
Switching out ginger beer for ginger kombucha, for example. Why ginger kombucha? It has gut-healthy probiotics and is lower in sugar than most other mixers. Not to mention that it’s flavorful and bubbly. While there is a trace amount of alcohol from the fermentation process; it contains less than 0.5 percent alcohol and is therefore not considered an alcoholic beverage by the government. Plus, the slice of apple in this healthy mocktail can provide you with vitamins A, E, B1, B2 and B6 — all of which lessen headaches and make you more alert. P.S. If you make this Healthy Mocktail Mule recipe, don’t forget to tag and share on Instagram!