To Mocktail Or Not? Here’s Why We Think It’s A Great Idea
Despite the Prohibition era, a time in our country that many consider quite dark, Americans have and likely will always enjoy putting back a couple of drinks. Whether that’s a beer at a baseball game, a glass of wine with dinner or post-work cocktails with friends, many enjoy the more-than occasional drink.
In fact, the average American has nearly 9.5 alcoholic drinks per week. While having a couple of drinks a day—and we’re talking a glass of wine, a beer or cocktail — isn’t considered unhealthy, the truth of the matter is that alcohol generally isn’t your friend. Yes, it can take the edge off. And yes, some studies have shown a daily five-ounce glass of red wine can offer some health benefits through chemicals called polyphenols and anthocyanins. But consuming too much alcohol can have negative effects.
“Alcohol is very quickly converted into glucose, which leads to a very quick spike in insulin production,” says Jeff Henson, chiropractic physician and director of nutritional medicine at North Suburban Wellness Center for Integrative Medicine, outside of Chicago. “This is detrimental because it can lead to conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease when over-consumed. Our physiology is not designed to handle that kind of glucose load on a regular basis.”
The Benefits Of Spirit-Free Beverages
This is where mocktails, or what many in the bartending community have started calling spirit-free drinks, can come in quite handy. Having non-alcoholic drinks that mock cocktails and are made with fresh produce like watermelon, blueberries, celery, beets, ginger, and the like can be a delicious and healthy replacement for boozing it up.
[Keep reading to to see a tantalizing mocktail recipe coming up in the last section of this post!]
“Fresh juices offer tremendous amounts of vitamins and minerals, not to mention high levels of antioxidants,” Henson says. “Depending on preparation, fresh juices can also add significant fiber to the diet. Getting these nutrients from food sources, is and will always be, better that getting them from a pill.”
Ingredients To Blend
Henson recommends using smaller fruit like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, which have lower sugar content than melons to make fresh fruit juice-based mocktails a few times a week. He’s also big on including herbs, spices and seasonings like ginger, turmeric, basil, and mint to add flavor, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Another fun ingredient is Kombucha, a fermented carbonated beverage that contains live probiotics.
“These are well incorporated into our digestive tract, and make sense to me as a mocktail additive,” says Henson.
That being said, expectant women or post-partum mothers should take heed. While Kombucha is delicious and offers health benefits, it does contain small amounts of alcohol since it’s a fermented drink. Large studies haven’t been conducted to determine the effects of drinking kombucha while pregnant or breast feeding, but some negative side effects can occur, such as constipation in babies.
Similar to when we eat, we also want to drink the colors of the rainbow. The more colorful your food or drinks, the healthier they are. So whether you’re getting, red, blue or even purple, you can get some really nice health benefits from your mocktails.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to juice or blend drinks at home using everything from spinach, kale and cucumbers to berries, bananas and apples. Plenty of ingredients exist, and you can also experiment on your own. So don’t fear having some fresh produce drinks. Your body will thank you for it.
And now for the mocktail recipe we promised. Watermelon lemonade from our Cookidoo® recipe platform calls for the following ingredients.
- 3-4 oz sugar
- 24 oz seedless watermelon (cut into 3 inch pieces)
- 8 oz lemons (appox. 3 lg. lemons peeled, quartered, pith and seeds removed)
- 10 oz water
- 10 ice cubes (plus extra to serve)
- mint leaves (to garnish)
Place the sugar, watermelon, lemons, water and ice into the Thermomix mixing bowl (if you have one) and purée for one minute at speed nine.
Next, transfer the beverage to a pitcher and garnish with those lovely mint leaves. Then voilà! It’s ready to serve chilled, over ice.
If you’d like to experiment with the texture, add more or less water. For a minted watermelon variation, add two stalks of mint leaves (approx. 20 small leaves), and steep until ready to serve. And if you’re feeling adventurous, add some of the aforementioned herbs, spices, or seasonings that Henson suggests. You might end up creating your own signature mocktail recipe!
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