Who says cocktails can’t be healthy? Mixologists from California to New York and plenty of places in between are brainstorming delicious ways to sneak nutritious-packed goodness into their boozy creations, and the trend seems to be rocking the country. These superfoods are all natural ingredients low in calories and packed with essential antioxidants and nutrients. Although they don’t provide your daily vitamin intake, they will certainly help. And they’re way too delicious to turn down.
According to bar manager Jeremy Lake from Crossroads Kitchen, a West Hollywood restaurant that offers plant-based cuisine, the reason behind the trend is two-fold.
“First, when I design recipes I’m often seeking to offer up flavor combinations that no one else is doing or to reproduce a known cocktail in a way that is unique, and using superfoods is a great way to do this,” Lake said. “Second, it makes sense to sell cocktails with healthy components. Drinking healthy is a very marketable concept in a time where consumers are counting calories and are overall health conscious.”
When it comes to his favorite superfood drink, Lake finds himself caught between two cocktails, both available at Crossroads. The Escapist, which includes Chareau aloe liqueur, Selvarey White Rum, Banane du Brasil, Crème de Cacao, coconut water, and a lemon twist, allows him to imagine escaping to an exotic beach. He points out that aloe and coconut water are useful in aiding digestion, making them natural companions when dining out. The Beast of Burden, his other favorite, is comprised of Dos Armadillos tequila, blueberries, spirulina, raw coconut water, lemon, and agave nectar.
“Algae and tequila? Believe it!” said Lake. “I’ve had several guests claim they’d like to put this drink into their blender for a morning milkshake.”
Over at Willie Jane in Venice, California, bar manager Derrick Bass believes bartenders are gauging their audiences back to the “golden age of cocktails” and away from the sugary infusions and liqueurs from the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
“It’s going to be easier and easier to find these superfoods in everyday cocktails,” Bass said. “The trend now is fresher, more unique ingredients, as research is starting to point out all of these artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, and additives are particularly dangerous to be putting in our bodies.”
To put a unique spin on things, Bass shook up his rejuvenating concoction, named the Puck’s Envy, with bee pollen. Packed with essential amino acids and a boost of vitamins A, B1, C, and a kick of fiber, the cocktail finishes off with gin, Thai basil, lemon, lime, and agave syrup. All of the ingredients shaken up together make for a revitalizing and tasty twist.
But there’s one mixologist who has a different point-of-view when it comes to this cocktail craze. Selvarey Rum’s brand ambassador and co-founder of independent consulting company, Liquid Assets, Marcos Tello thinks it’s more of a psychological affect than fulfilling your dietary limits, although he does agree that every bit of becoming healthier counts.
“I think it’s a way to keep a healthy frame of mind,” Tello said. He believes that since most people struggle to keep superfoods in mind while dining, when they actually surround themselves with superfoods during meals and happy hour, they tend to stick to foods and beverages in that category.
“I feel like they have staying power,” he said of the trendy cocktails. “Only because superfood availability has become so mainstream. I feel like this trend will stick a lot more than others because it is so fashionable to be healthy.”