It’s true, healthy alcoholic drinks do exist and we are here to give you the information you need to celebrate and stay balanced this holiday.
We eliminate alcohol on the Clean Program (even in the form of healthy alcoholic drinks) and we recommend only having alcohol sparingly after your cleanse, but that doesn’t mean you must avoid it all together. Life is about balance and the key to enjoying a healthy alcoholic drink is using the right type of alcohol and mixer.
When making healthy alcoholic drinks, It’s best to choose light alcohol over dark alcohol as dark liquor contains more compounds known as congeners -- byproducts of fermentation that contribute to hangover symptoms.
In this recipe we use vodka, which can be found in several gluten-free, sugar-free and non-GMO varieties. Top shelf brands of tequila made from 100% agave are a great alternative that will be the least damaging to the body.
There is a trend of more seasonal healthy drinks popping up at trendy restaurants and bars, but many of them still contain added processed sugars and flavors that can be an added stress on your liver. The combination of too much sugar, stress, and lack of vitamin D are the big factors that lower our immune system and make us more susceptible to cold and flus during this time of year.
In this recipe -- one of our favorite healthy alcoholic drinks -- we like to ditch the processed sugar and add in medicinal foods. For this recipe, we chose seasonal cranberry for it’s beautiful color and slightly acidic taste. Cranberry juice contains good amounts vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, and flavonoid compounds with disease-fighting abilities. Cranberries can aid in relieving respiratory disorders, gum disease, and provide healthy gut support.
Rosemary, which you probably have on hand for your savory holiday meals, adds a festive fragrance and look. Widely used for its medicinal properties, rosemary can be used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and even promote hair growth. This happy little sprig of evergreen herb works well in so many different ways that you might want to consider always having some around.
During a cleanse we often tell people that taking a break from alcohol is a thank you for the liver. The cleansing period is a time when the liver is working hard to help you eliminate toxins and alcohol use during that time can hinder that process. Drinking alcohol can also wipe out beneficial bacteria, dehydrate, tax the adrenals, feed yeast in the intestines, and contains preservatives that are often sourced from wheat and corn. Knowing this makes it easier to be selective and stay balanced when choosing to indulge.
The holidays can be a time of joy, sadness, stress and relaxation all at once. We know that it is prime time for emotional eating patterns to pop up. So be mindful, but don’t stress too much and do your best to let go of guilt.
As you sip this drink we hope that you can take a moment to reflect on all the great things you have done for yourself and your health this year.
makes 4-6 cocktails
prep time: 1 week
For the Rosemary Infused Vodka:
1 pint of vodka (organic if available)
3-4 rosemary sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly cracked
3 strips lemon peel
For the Cranberry Concentrate (Adapted from Clean Eats Cookbook):
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
about 2-3 tablespoons sliced ginger
4 cups (32 ounces) apple cider
For the Cocktail:
2 trays of ice cubes
1 liter of club soda
1 pint of infused vodka, strained and chilled
3 cups strained and chilled cranberry concentrate
First make the infused vodka by pouring the vodka into a clean pint jar. Add the sprigs of rosemary, cracked peppercorns, and lemon zest. Apply the lid, label, and date. Allow the mixture to infuse for up to 7 days. Once complete, strain and chill before serving.
Make the concentrate by combining the cranberries, coconut sugar, ginger, and apple cider into a pot and simmer them until the cranberries burst (about 15 minutes).
Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend on a high setting for 30 seconds. Pour it through a fine-mesh sieve. Chill before serving.
To serve one person, pour 1-2 ounces of the vodka into a cocktail shaker along with 4 ounces of the concentrate and a handful of ice cubes. Cover, shake well then pour into a glass. Top off with club soda. Any leftover concentrate can be refrigerated for up to one week in a container or frozen for future use.
Recipe by Frank Giglio
Photography by Lynn Karlin