Healthy Cocktail Recipes So Delicious You'll Forget They're Good for You
Brighten up winter happy hour or Sunday brunch with this citrusy cocktail. Leafy carrot tops lend an herby backbone similar to parsley, and blood oranges infuse a berrylike sweetness. Plus, this drink boasts half your daily vitamin A and more than a third of your daily vitamin C goal.
Classic palomas call for grapefruit soda. Here, we use fresh grapefruit juice for a fruit-flavored beverage with less sugar and more vitamin C. Pomegranate juice boosts fruity flavor and packs a punch of heart-healthy polyphenols.
Juicy and pleasantly plump, grapes are at their peak now. This versatile fruit also packs a healthy punch: Black and red grapes are rich in anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants that may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer and boost brain power. By adding the kombucha last, we preserve its carbonation, making for a crisp and refreshing cocktail. For an alcohol-free fall refresher, swap the 1 oz. gin in each drink for 2 oz. tonic water and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice.
Autumn's apple abundance is well worth raising a glass to. Honeycrisp apples are sweet with a touch of tartness that lends an invigorating crisp flavor, giving this boozy beverage plenty to buzz about. Maple syrup bolsters the warmth of the bourbon. To make it a mocktail, swap our the bourbon for 5 ounces light ginger beer, such as Fever-Tree Naturally Light.
Fresh juice and a little simple syrup replace margarita mix to cut 4 teaspoons (16g) added sugars per serving. Diluting tequila with juice and beer makes for a gentler cocktail that'll keep guests free from personal fouls.
Spiced Whiskey Sour
Five-spice powder turns the classic whiskey sour into something special. You can double, triple, or quadruple the spiced sugar syrup and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Use in cocktails, or drizzle over hot oatmeal.
Cherry-Basil Lemonade Spritzers
Instead of the fluorescent cocktail-cherry garnish, fresh cherries take center stage in this refreshing lemon-and-vodka sipper. Macerating the cherries in sugar helps to soften their thick skins and release their juices, which become gorgeously syrupy in the pan.
Barbados Rum Punch
Barbados, the Caribbean birthplace of rum, has a rum punch recipe as foolproof as it is versatile: "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak." In our take, fruit juice and ginger ale serve as both sweet and weak, so we don't need to add any brown sugar or simple syrup.
Prickly Pear Punch
We like the clean flavor and mixability of silver tequila here. For a nonalcoholic drink, omit it and top with sparkling water.
Roasted Strawberry Margaritas with Aquafaba Whip
Aquafaba, the viscous fluid from canned chickpeas, is the surprising key to making a plant-based whipped topping. The process is pretty miraculous: The liquid whips up to a thick, fluffy foam that mimics whipped cream. Just be sure to use the liquid from unsalted chickpeas for the best results (we like Eden brand).
Blackberry Gin Fizz
For the perfect layer of creamy froth on top of each cocktail, be prepared to shake the cocktail shaker (with no ice) vigorously; the half-and-half helps set the egg white for a more stable foam.
A classic Moscow mule—spicy ginger beer, tart lime, and vodka served in a chilled copper mug—is as frosty and refreshing as a snow cone. This fresh twist uses barrel-aged bourbon and a hint of mint for a mule with Kentucky-style giddyap. Copper mugs are in: Find ones similar to these at Crate & Barrel ($20).
Meet your new favorite poolside cocktail. This slushy sipper offers sweet, floral honeydew flavor with a nice slow burn from jalapeño-infused tequila.
We give the gin rickey—a classic warm-weather cocktail—a seasonal twist with an infusion of ripe strawberries. Full fruit flavor balanced by bracing gin and spritzy soda water is a tasty way to ring in spring.
Bloody Good Bloody Mary
You can't wing it with Bloodies. Random recipes might yield a crazy-thick throat-coater or a thin, insipid glass of blah. And many bottled mixes are sodium bombs. Here's a Bloody blueprint you can trust. Our streamlined version is zingy and sippable, with a fraction of the sodium you'll find in most others. Get mixing; its noon somewhere. Pickle juice is the secret weapon here, delivering briny tartness. We've tried pickled okra juice and dill pickle juice—both work. Add little cracked black pepper if you like.
Red and Pink
If you like tea to be as functional as it is avorful, red rooibos (ROY-boss) is your new go-to. Smoky, spicy, and naturally sweet, the decaf herbal from South Africa may contain 50% more antioxidants than green tea, plus plenty of essential minerals. Enjoy a steaming mugful, or make ice cubes with it and toss into a cocktail, as we do here, for a avor infusion as the cubes melt.
Harissa Bloody Marys
Kick off your festivities with this fun take on the classic brunch beverage. Molly likes to boost her version with harissa, a traditional Tunisian chile paste with a spicy, pleasantly bitter edge. "I just love those flavors," she explains, "and they're not common around Grand Forks, North Dakota. I really like being able to introduce a new ingredient like harissa to my community through a more familiar thing like a Bloody Mary." Look for harissa in cans, jars, or tubes on the international foods aisle or with the specialty sauces. If you can't find it, substitute a few dashes of hot sauce. Garnish as desired with celery stalks, lime wedges, and pickles. You can combine everything except the club soda a day ahead; give it a good stir before serving, and top off with club soda at the last minute.
Port of Call Punch
The muddling technique draws complex flavors from the lemon, making the beverage floral, bracing, and irresistible. A sprinkling of grated nutmeg on top adds a warm, soothing, fragrant layer to the punch, which is remarkably complex-flavored despite having only 6 ingredients. Ruby port has spent less time cask-aging than tawny port, and so is a little sweeter and fruitier, perfect in this recipe. This drink has a lower alcohol content than standard cocktails, a great quality in a punch that's meant to refresh as much as relax.
Spiked Hot Chocolate
This warming treat is the perfect accompaniment for a walk through the snow: A hint of peppermint schnapps will give everyone a little pep in their step. Think of it as more of a dessert than a beverage, as this hot chocolate is a bit of a splurge. Canned coconut milk gives it full-bodied richness and makes it an indulgence. Blogger and cookbook author Molly Yeh explains that "coconut goes well with chocolate and mint, so it really brings this hot chocolate together nicely."
This hot toddy comes together in a flash thanks to the microwave. A touch of salt, though it may seem counterintuitive, actually heightens the sweetness of the drink, though the beverage is far from cloying. Pear vodka, such as Absolut, can be found at most liquor stores. We love the floral fruit flavor of pear, which is perfect for late fall. Cognac adds a little oak-cask richness and complexity to the mix. We add the liquor to the hot sugar mixture, which yields a very warm drink that can be sipped right away. Moreover, it avoids safety concerns with heating flammable alcohol. A little fresh lemon juice adds a bright top note and balances the sweet pear flavor with light tang.
Dark and Limey
This is a twist on a Dark and Stormy, the classic dark rum and ginger beer combo. Turmeric gives this zesty cocktail its pumpkin-colored hue. If you don't have fresh turmeric, substitute 1 teaspoon ground turmeric. Lime boosts the tartness of turmeric to make a delightfully refreshing beverage. Myer's Rum is easy to find, but there are many small-batch dark rums now on the market; you may want to experiment with their subtle nuances.
Honey Cider-Beer Cocktails
The cider-honey base of this fall beverage makes enough for both adult and kid twists: one with pale ale, the other with sparkling cider. Beer and cider are refreshing and lower in sugar and alcohol than stronger potions, which tend to go down a bit too easily. The cider syrup needs time to cool; let it rest while you traverse the neighborhood; then mix up the drinks when you return. Cut the apple slices for the kids' drinks into spooky shapes before adding to the pitcher.