Drink Your Medicine With Healthy Cocktails

Can an alcoholic cocktail actually be good for you? Well, the answer is yes, thanks to new types of healthy ingredients mixologists are taking a fancy to.

Photo courtesy of Veer.

First there was medicinal marijuana. Now comes medicinal mixology.

Building on the juicing and farm-to-glass trends, progressive Jersey barkeeps are creating alcoholic tonics with ingredients like kale, blueberries, pomegranate, cinnamon, turmeric and chamomile. Digestion troubles? Try a drink with mint, pineapple or quinoa. Got a big date? Ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese used nutmeg to soothe anxiety, sweeten breath, reduce flatulence and boost libido.

If “healthy alcoholic beverage” sounds like an oxymoron, at least two of the finalists in the NJM-sponsored 2015 Iron Shaker competition are building entire drink menus around what they see as the restorative powers of certain fruits, veggies, herbs, roots and spices.

Jonas Koep, who oversees a healthy-beverage program at Stone House in Warren and the Logan Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania, is doing a “100 percent salubrious” cocktail menu at Rossiter & Wright, a speakeasy-style lounge he’s helping open this spring in Plainfield.

Got a cold? “I do a warm beverage with a lot of aromatics,” says Koep. “I think about what vapor rub is. How do I get that feeling into your chest and those aromas into your nose?”

Carlos Ruiz, at Princeton’s Agricola, reimagines potent combos he learned growing up in Peru. A cocktail with purple corn, potatoes, snap peas, vinegar, dill or grains, for example, may stave off a hangover or prevent bloat.

“The thing about Princeton is people are willing to try it,” he says. “I haven’t had anyone be like, ‘This is weird.’”

If you do find the idea strange, you may prefer to drink your medicine as a mocktail instead of a cocktail.

Healthful Tips: When mixing, strive for similarities: corn or grains with vodka or whiskey; tropical fruits with rum.

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