5 Health-Boosting Summer Cocktails
Whether you’re in need of some mid-week rejuvenation or you’re looking to
entertain friends on the weekend, a refreshing cocktail is a great way to beat the heat of summer.
Remember, a cocktail needn’t be a sinful indulgence. We’ve got five health-boosting
recipes that are alcohol-optional and rich in fresh ingredients to give you an extra boost.
Start With the Basics
Keeping a selection of fresh fruits, juices, and herbs in your kitchen will ensure you have
the necessary basics to whip up a wide array of simple to sophisticated cocktails in no time.
Some of the most ubiquitous summer cocktail ingredients call for the sourness of lemons and limes,
the tartness of grapefruit, sweet tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples, and, of course, the trusty
orange. Don’t forget your vegetables either, particularly celery and cucumber.
Quick Tip: Using fresh fruits instead of bottled juices will elevate the flavor of
your cocktails and help you avoid all those unwanted additives and preservatives.
Alongside your staple cocktail fruits, you’ll want to have fresh herbs like mint,
basil, cilantro, and sage on hand. The best way to know that your herbs are always fresh
is to buy potted versions, keep them in a sunny spot in your kitchen, and remember to water
them regularly. If you don’t have the time or space for this, make sure to double-check the
freshness of packaged herbs before you buy.
Quick Tip: If your herbs were fresh a day or two ago but now seem limp,
trim the stems and sit them in a glass of water – they should perk up again within a few hours.
The Cucumber Dream
Recipe by: Nishan Nepulangoda, mixologist at BarFish in Toronto
- 1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
- 0.5 oz fresh calamansi juice
- 0.5 oz Aperol
- 2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz falernum syrup
- 3 slices cucumber
- 1 dash lemon bitters
- cilantro and cucumber slice for garnish
Muddle the cucumber, shake all ingredients with ice,
and double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with cilantro and cucumber slice.
Replace the gin and Aperol with another 1 oz of falernum syrup in a tall glass with ice and top with Perrier or soda.
Star Ingredient: Cucumber
Cucumbers are roughly 95% water, which means they’re ideal for rehydrating in summer.
They’re also rich in B vitamins that can help to ease anxiety and combat stress. Fisetin,
the anti-inflammatory found in cucumbers, may help preserve memory and support brain health.http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=19168
The Grapefruit Shrub Spritz
Recipe by: Boralia in Toronto
- 1 oz grapefruit shrub
- 1 oz Aperol
- a couple of dashes grapefruit bitters
- 2–3 oz Cava or Prosecco
- lemon peel for garnish
Shake grapefruit shrub,http://cocktailquest.blogspot.ca/2012/05/balancing-citrus-and-vinegar-enter.html
Aperol, and grapefruit bitters with ice. Strain into champagne flute. Top with Cava or Prosecco. Garnish with lemon peel.
Replace the Aperol and Cava with another 0.5 oz grapefruit shrub, top with club soda and ice.
Star Ingredient: Grapefruit
Grapefruit is literally dripping with vitamin C; half a grapefruit contains
approximately 60% of your daily value. Getting enough of this vitamin can help curb inflammatory
conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and it has been identified as an overall supporter
of good health. Grapefruit also contains lycopene, a phytonutrient that may have a cancer-fighting effect.http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=25
The British Raj
Recipe by: Pukka in Toronto
- 1.25 oz Gosling’s rum
- 1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 1 oz almond syrup
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- flower petals for garnish
Shake rum, pineapple juice, almond syrup, and fresh lime juice with ice; don't strain.
Pour into rocks glass, let froth settle. Garnish with flower petals.
Replace the rum with 1 oz ginger beer syrup (non-carbonated).
Star Ingredient: Pineapple
Pineapple holds an abundance of vitamin C, which is a good enough reason to eat
this wonderful tropical fruit regularly. But it’s also a great source of manganese and thiamin
(or vitamin B1), which together are important for energy production and antioxidant defenses.http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=34
Mint-Melon Refresher [alcohol-free]
Recipe by: Nicola Brown
- 2 cups seeded watermelon, cut into chunks
- ¼ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 0.5 oz honey
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- handful of fresh spearmint leaves to taste
- Perrier or soda
Blend watermelon, strawberries, agave syrup, lemon juice, and mint leaves until completely smooth.
Shake with ice. Strain into tall glass and top with Perrier or soda. Garnish with a thin slice of
watermelon and mint leaf.
Star Ingredients: Watermelon and spearmint
This cocktail packs such a health punch because it’s got two star ingredients. At 92% water,
watermelons will keep you well hydrated. They also contain 30% of your daily value of vitamin A,
which is great for maintaining healthy, moisturized skin and hair.http://www.livescience.com/46019-watermelon-nutrition.html
Spearmint, in addition to
providing a burst of cool freshness to your drink, can actually help with digestive problems like gas,
indigestion, and nausea.http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-845-spearmint.aspx?activeingredientid=845&activeingredientname=spearmint
Recipe by: Steve Nacher mixologist at Harlem in Toronto
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz fresh apple juice
- ½ tsp fresh lime juice
- dash of fresh grated ginger
- cinnamon sugar and apple slice for garnish
Rim a martini glass with cinnamon sugar. Shake gin, apple juice, lime juice, and ginger with ice. Pour into glass and garnish with apple slice.
Pour into a tall glass with ice, rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Omit gin and top with Perrier or soda.
Star Ingredient: Ginger
Ginger’s spicy kick is a great way to clear the passages and extend that summer warmth into
the cool evenings. Ginger is also an excellent remedy for motion sickness if you’ve spent just a
bit too much time on the water. As if that weren’t enough, this powerful root has anti-inflammatory,
anti-ulcer, and antioxidant properties as well. Taken regularly, ginger can reduce the pain of arthritis.http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72
Make It Your Own
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your cocktails. With a kitchen full of fresh fruits and herbs,
the easiest way to discover new favorites is to experiment with different flavor combinations. Keep some
Perrier or club soda on hand to make virgin versions for your designated drivers and get ready to impress
all your guests with these refreshing summer cocktail recipes.