Can drinking cocktails actually be good for you? Mixologists this season seem to think there are some benefits from boozing. They’re playing the role of apothecary, dispensing elixirs they tout as preventative tonics for cold and flu season. And while the benefits of these tipples have yet to be approved by the FDA (but who’s keeping track?), drinking them certainly can’t hurt. Here’s a toast to your health.
Recipe courtesy Tad Carducci, founder/beverage consultant, Tippling Bros., New York City
Carducci claims this cocktail is chock-full of beneficial ingredients. “Green tea, lemon and cayenne are powerful antioxidants and metabolism and immune system boosters; passion fruit is rich in vitamins C, A and potassium; and cherries are loaded with phytonutrients,” he says. You can find Carducci’s health-boosting beverages on the menu at Tavernita (tavernita.com) and Barcito (standandeat.com), in Chicago.
2 ounces green-tea infused vodka (recipe below)
1 ounce passion fruit purée
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce agave nectar
1 pinch cayenne powder
10 drops yohimbe extract (available at vitaminlife.com)
Club soda, to top
1 orange slice, for garnish
3 brandied cherries, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, passion fruit purée, lemon juice, agave nectar, cayenne powder and yohimbe extract. Add ice, and shake until the mixture is well chilled. Strain the drink into a tall glass filled with fresh ice. Top it with a splash of club soda, and stir gently. Garnish with the orange slice and brandied cherries.
Green-tea infused vodka
2 tablespoons of gunpowder tea
1 (750 ml) bottle vodka
Pour the gunpowder tea into a tea infuser. Pour the vodka into a large glass container, and immerse the tea infuser. Allow the infuser to steep in the vodka for 45 minutes, or until the desired flavor strength is achieved. Remove the infuser, and strain the vodka back into the bottle and seal. Store the infused vodka in a cool, dark place.
The Get Right
Recipe courtesy Todd Thrasher, partner/principle sommelier/bar overlord, Eat Good Food Group, Alexandria, Virginia
Mānuka honey, produced from the nectar of the mānuka tree (ingredients to Australia and New Zealand), is said to have antibacterial properties. Spirulina was a food source for the Aztecs, and today it’s ingested as a source of protein and amino acids. Thrasher combines them with vodka and a good splash of coconut water, which reportedly boosts electrolyte and potassium levels.
1½ ounces 42 Below Mānuka Honey Vodka
2 ounces coconut water
1 ounce spirulina mānuka honey water (recipe below)
Juice of one lemon
4 dashes lemon bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish
Combine the vodka, coconut water, spirulina mānuka honey water, lemon juice and lemon bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until the mixture is well chilled. Double strain the drink into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with the lemon twist.
Spirulina mānuka honey water
4 cups water
1 cup of mānuka honey
2 tablespoons spirulina powder
In a medium pot over high heat, combine the water, mānuka and spirulina. Reduce the heat, and stir until the mānuka and spirulina dissolve. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand for 30 minutes. After it has cooled, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to remove any solids. Refrigerate it until needed.
The Armor Cocktail
Recipe courtesy H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor, Elixir, San Francisco
Ehrmann derived The Armor Cocktail (the name refers to its ability to ward off anything) from the many smoothie variants he concocted for his pregnant fiancée. “The drink is full of ingredients rich in antioxidants, vitamins C, E and K, beta-carotene and zinc, for fighting off colds and staying healthy day-to-day,” he says. “The vodka brightens up all of those inherent flavors, and the Cognac adds some nice vanilla and caramel to the honey, molasses and banana.”
1 ounce Square One Organic Vodka
1 ounce VS Cognac
½ cup spinach
½ cup kale
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce honey
2 teaspoons organic unsulfured blackstrap molasses
¼ cup blueberries
2 ounces orange juice
5–10 mixed berries, for garnish
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the berries. Add 4–5 ice cubes, and blend on high for 20–30 seconds. Pour the drink into a pint glass, and garnish with the berries.