A Guide to a “Healthier” Happy Hour

Let’s be real.You’re probably going to enjoy a few cocktails from time to time (until the next morning) and that’s fine and dandy, if it’s right for you. ¬†Now I’m not promoting you go drink your face off, but if kicking back with a bubbly or two is something you enjoy, let’s make them the healthiest (I’m using this term loosely here) choices possible. Your body and your hangover will thank you for this.

Organic/Biodynamic Red Wines

Ever get a stuffy nose or constant need to clear your throat from your favourite cab sauv? You can thank sulphites and histamine for that. Sulphites are naturally occurring compounds in wine but are also typically added during the manufacturing and bottling processes as an antioxidant to preserve the wine. These sulphites cause the release of histamine which is the fun little chemical responsible for lovely allergy symptoms such as itchy skin, breathing difficulty, stuffy nose and flushing. Biodynamic or organically grown wines contain little to no added sulphites as they are limited by National Organics Regulations and also contain naturally occurring tannins and often go through malolactic fermentation, both of which help to preserve the wine and therefore require little to no added sulphites.

Southbrook Vineyards are doing things right. Check them out.

Vodka/Gin Soda

This one is a personal favourite when I feel like getting down. Thanks to the distilling process, vodka is naturally sugar free and soda is nothing but carbonated water with some added bubbles, sodium and potassium which will make those dehydrated, electrolyte deficient mornings a little bit easier. Add a slice of fresh lime or lemon for a dose of vitamin C and a punch of flavour.

How can it go wrong? Choosing tonic water in place of soda water. Tonic contains almost as much sugar as coke ( a whopping 25 grams or 6 tsp of sugar per cup)!!!

Wanna take it up a notch? Swap out soda water for a sparkling mineral water like Perrier or San Pallegrino for an extra dose of trace minerals. Vodka, perrier and lime = it’s basically a nutritional supplement of minerals and vitamin C. I’m kidding, but it’s better than a syrupy sugar cooler thing, that’s for sure.

Cider

If mother nature was a crafter of spirits, this would be her jam. But it’s important to choose wisely. The only ingredient that should be listed on the label of your cider is: apples. That’s it, that’s all.

How can it go wrong? Check the labels on your favourite ciders for funky ingredients like sugar, glucose-fructose, natural/artificial flavours, caramel/colour and potassium sorbate. Looks for apples. Nothing less, nothing more.

Some of the companies who are doing it right include Pommie’s Dry Cider and Brickworks Ciderhouse.

Cocktails

As with most things we consume, it’s all about the ingredients that go into the process of making it. Here are a few of my favourite cocktails that can be great choices but are often turned into a sugar sh&%storm depending on what goes into your cup:

Mojito

A combination of soda, white rum, muddled mint & lime makes this refreshing little ditty one of my favourite indulgences.

To make: 2 oz white rum, 4 oz club soda, juice of 1/2 lime and a handful of mint. Muddle, mix & enjoy.

How can it go wrong? Sometimes it is made with 7-up or add a ton of simple syrup to sweeten things up. Not cool. If you like it a tad sweeter, at least order it half sweet or if you’re making your own opt for maple syrup, honey or a touch of coconut sugar.

Margarita

Nothing gets my dancing shoes polished up quite like a well-made marg. But once again, the quality of the ingredients make all the difference.

To make: 2 oz tequila, 3 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice, touch of maple syrup or honey. Shake all ingredients over ice, transfer to a cocktail glass and enjoy. Salted rim your thing? Rim half the glass with a high mineral salt like sea salt or pink himalayan salt.

How can it go wrong? Bar lime mix. Lime cordial. Sugar syrup. Enough said.

Tom Collins

Feel free to make friends with ol’ tommy boy if he’s packing all the right stuff.

To make: 2 oz gin, 1 oz fresh lime juice, 3 oz soda & ice. Add to a glass and indulge (wisely)

How can it go wrong? Once again bar lime or cordial can take this straight to nasty town.

The bottom line here is simple:

keep it real.

Enjoy real ingredients and stick to your guns when it comes to quality. Think of it like choosing a bag of chips: You could choose a bag of Doritos or you could choose a bag of sea salt kettle chips. Both aren’t great health promoting choices, but there is a clear winner when it comes to the quality of your choice. One is full of MSG, food colouring and crap VS simply potatoes, oil & salt. Don’t be a bag of Doritos when it comes to booze or anything else you put into your beautiful body. It will thank you for it.

Cheers,

Heather