These Health Drinks Are Even Better as Mixers
We’re living in an age of wellness drinks. Walk into any grocery store and you’ll find at least one drink proclaiming it will help “balance” your body in some way. Are these “health” drinks actually going to cure everything that ails you? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that kombucha, drinking vinegar, and cold-pressed juices don't have a place in your fridge for...other purposes.
I’ve never really been into soda or fruit juice as mixers for cocktails, but there are times when I’m looking for more complexity than a gin and seltzer. That’s when I turn to health drinks. Instead of drinking artificial sugars and Red 40 dye or caramel color, I’m at least sipping on real ingredients. Plus, the sour or bitter flavors in many of these drinks is quite nice in a cocktail. Give it a shot.
Kombucha is tart and effervescent, making it an ideal mixer. I like it with gin or tequila and a splash of a bitter liqueur like Campari. When in doubt, I go for any lemon-ginger flavor, but if I’m trying to jazz things up, I’ll go for a bottle of Humm Kombucha (they have flavors like Hopped Grapefruit, Blueberry Mint, and Strawberry Lemonade) or Health-Ade (they have Pink Lady Apple and Cayenne in their flavor arsenal). Kombucha needs sugar to ferment, but many kombucha brands add additional fake sugar for flavors—these two brands brew their kombucha with real cane sugar and fruit juice.
You won’t catch me replacing a meal with a juice, but you will find me using them for a funkier mimosa or punch. When I want a sweet juice, I go for a bottle of Wtrmln Wtr, which is just cold-pressed watermelon juice (their classic watermelon and lemon flavor tastes like summer in a bottle, but their new mint and blood orange flavors are outrageously tasty too). For a savory cocktail, I'll use green juice, specifically something from the Juice Press “mostly veggie” collection. A splash of their Mother Earth juice—a blend of cucumber, celery, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, parsley, lemon, and ginger—is killer in a vodka-soda.
Apple cider vinegar is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-boosting. Will every bottle of drinking vinegar, shrub, and switchel will help your body? Questionable. But there’s no denying that a hit of sour in a cocktail is aces. Suja Probiotic Vinegar Juice, made with apple cider vinegar and live probiotics, comes in flavors like Hibiscus Ancho Chile and Lemongrass Lime. Another favorite is Pok Pok Som’s Turmeric Drinking Vinegar, made with cane vinegar. These tart-and-sweet drinking vinegars are practically begging for a pile of crushed ice and a three-second pour of bourbon.