Fancy a shot of vodka in your green juice? The coolest bars serve cocktails with benefits
What do clean eaters drink when they’re out on the razzle? Some abstain of course, but others — those who are a little less worthy — have found a solution: clean cocktails. Instead of wine, beer and spirits with sugary mixers — which are like poison to the wellness brigade — they are bringing the trend for clean eating to bars. “Clean cocktails”, often made with vodka or gin, mixed with green juice or coconut water, are popping up on the most fashionable menus, from Press bar in east London to the juice company Imbibery, which makes cold-pressed cocktails — spinach, cucumber, apple and lemon, for example.
Most clean eaters opt for cocktails made with a juice mixer and “the cleanest of alcohols, vodka, so-called because it has the fewest impurities in it”, says Margo Marrone, a co-founder of the Organic Pharmacy and a trained homeopath. Gin is another “clean” spirit. “They are sometimes called juicetails,” she adds, “because you are gaining some nutritional advantage.”
The queens of healthy eating, the Hemsley sisters, are clean drinkers, making sure their healthy ethos doesn’t disappear when they drink. They make a cocktail with blueberries, fresh lime juice and coconut water to alkalise the body, with raw honey replacing refined sugar.
The health coach and cook Tess Ward “avoids sugary mixers and juices”, instead making a cocktail with ginger kombucha (a fermented drink that aids digestion) and peaches. “Don’t forget that bloody mary is the original healthy juice and booze mix,” says the nutritionist Rob Hobson.
Most of the time we don’t just wake up with a hangover, but a sugar hangover
The health coach and bestselling author of Get the Glow, Madeleine Shaw, isn’t a big drinker, she explains on her website, because “I am terrible on a hangover”. However, she says, “I still do indulge sometimes”, but she makes sure that she “drinks clean”. By that she means she “drinks the right drinks. Most of the time we don’t just wake up with a hangover, but a sugar hangover — that head thumping doubles when you add cocktails into the mix”. Shaw advises that the best choices are “vodka, fresh lime and soda as it’s clean, hydrating and easy to drink; red wine because it’s far less sugary and contains a little amount of antioxidants; tequila if you’re going to have a shot, as it’s the cleanest around”. Ella Woodward — better known as the healthy-food blogger Deliciously Ella — doesn’t abstain completely, but keeps it to just a few occasions each month.
Many alcoholic drinks can be made to be relatively guilt-free. “The healthy twist is to make them with juice extracted from fresh fruit and vegetables,” Marrone says. “My personal favourites are those made with low-glycaemic-index vegetables, such as beetroot, that are not only kinder to your blood sugar, but provide valuable vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t normally get on a night out. Natural sugar substitutes like agave are optional, but provide sweetness to which we are accustomed with drinks,” she says.
Hobson explains that “the sugar spikes contribute to blood-glucose crashes, which are a recipe for a wicked hangover”. Cleo Rocos, who starred in The Kenny Everett Show and has turned her hand to “healthy” alcohol, created a 100 per cent agave tequila range with very low levels of methanol that, she says, means you don’t get a hangover. She serves a “no-hangover” margarita, made with agave syrup, the favourite sweetener of clean-eating celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow. Many clean cocktails contain lemon or lime, which, although acidic, are alkalising to the body (as are tomatoes) and help to counteract the acid-forming effects of alcohol.
By Margo Marrone
25ml beetroot juice
25ml lime juice
Mix everything together and serve with crushed ice.
Benefits Beetroot is rich in manganese, potassium and vitamins A and C, so great support to the liver. Lime also provides vitamin C.
The Green Goddess
1 green apple
3 celery stalks
Juice of a lemon
Juice the green apple, celery, cucumber and ginger, add the lemon and vodka and serve with ice.
Benefits Green apples are cleansing and full of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Celery is rich in vitamin K and contains folate, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
40ml coconut water
5ml coconut milk
1 vanilla pod
¼ tsp raw chocolate powder
½ tsp agave nectar (optional)
Infuse the coconut water and coconut milk gently over a low heat with the scraped vanilla pod, add the raw chocolate, agave, vodka and mix well. Cool and serve over ice.
Benefits Coconut water is full of minerals and nutrients. Raw cocoa is jam-packed with antioxidants and the small amount of agave nectar is a great sugar substitute.
Cucumber and parsley cocktail
4 sprigs parsley
1 tsp agave syrup Juice of ½ lemon
Mix everything in a blender, sieve, shake with ice and serve in a deep champagne glass.
Benefits Parsley is rich in vitamins K, C, B and A, which means it’s full of antioxidants and helps to support the immune system and kidneys. Cucumber juice contains myriad vitamins, such as K, as well as calcium, copper and other minerals, and lemon is antioxidant rich.
Bloody mary with fresh tomato juice
4 dashes of tabasco
4 dashes of worcestershire sauce
½ dried chilli
2 grinds of pepper
1 celery sprig
Juice of ½ lemon
100ml tomato juice (fresh if possible, because it tastes so much better)
Mix everything together and serve on ice with a lemon wedge.
Benefits Tomato juice contains lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins and minerals such as iron and zinc. Lemon also provides vitamin C.
Optional To protect your liver, add 10 drops of milk thistle to the mixture, or take it before and after drinking