Three Tasty Summer Cocktails That Are (Sort of) Good for You
Chicago barkeep Devin Kidner teaches us how to “detox while you retox”
Alcohol by default is not great. Your body essentially treats it like poison (but a poison that’s been accepted by society!).
So the next time you make a cocktail, make one that’s going to do some good in your body — or at least try to cancel out the bad.
Enter Devin Kidner.
Kidner can make a great cocktail. This is a fact accepted on an international level. After winning a national cocktail competition as a novice — and competing in the international round — she founded HOLLOW LEG to share her gifts with Chicago’s thirsty masses. One of those gifts is her understanding of sustainable agriculture.
Kidner uses local, seasonal, natural ingredients and an understanding of the human body to craft drinks that are delicious and well balanced.
We recently attended one of her mixology classes and were challenged to make a bad cocktail out of Kidner‘s assemblage of juices, tinctures and fruits. Even when mixing gin, grapefruit juice, coffee, jalapeno and lavender to a single libation, Kidner’s deft hand guided the cocktail to mystical brilliance.
So we asked the food science drink whiz for three recipes for cocktails and mocktails that will please a crowd but also help said crowd treat or prevent a few common ailments.
Mix it up.
(Sidenote: Check out one of her mixology classes. The hands-on nature makes it a perfect date night or work outing. With very high energy, Kidner walks participants through the science behind a great cocktail, then opens her laboratory to guests.)
1: Prevent* horrific hangovers
*Note: A hangover is in the hands of the besotter. All the antioxidants in the world will have no impact on some levels over-indulging.
Alcohol sucks the Vitamin C from your body (studies show alcoholics have Vitamin C deficiency), so any drinker will benefit by adding this essential vitamin back into their system wherever possible during a night out.
Kinder’s pro tip at the bar: before the cocktails arrive, order a glass of room temperature water with two slices of lemon or lime. Squeeze the fruit and chug.
If you’re interested in even more efficiency, make a cocktail that helps you detox while you retox. The light and summery finish on this fresh juice cocktail will distract you from the heavy lifting it’s doing. Over 25mg of Vitamin C will be combating capillary breakage, meaning no red, puffy eyes in the morning.
- 2 oz. London Dry Gin
- 1 oz. orange juice (which contains 15.5mg/65mg of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin C)
- 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice (5.8mg/65mg of RDI of Vitamin C)
- 1/2 oz. homemade honey simple syrup (make with 50% water and 50% honey)
- Wedge of muddled lemon and fresh muddled basil
- Pour all liquids into a shaker
- Muddle a lemon wedge and a few pieces of fresh basil
- Add ice
- Shake ingredients vigorously and strain into a glass.
- Garnish with a lime peel for aromatics
2: Combat allergies
Obviously alcohol isn’t going to help your allergies, but if you’ve resigned to tossing a few back, Kidner says opt for vodka since it has the least amount of congeners, and nothing added post-distillation. She says it’s the best option because vodkas tend to produce the fewest amount of histamines.
She also tossed in some CBD because it’s hip, ubiquitous and fixes everything. In this case it’s relieving sinus pressure that causes congestion.
This cocktail is herbaceous and refreshing, with a spicy kick to clear out those sinuses.
- 2 oz. plain, unflavored Vodka
- 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz. raw honey simple syrup (Raw, local honey may help boost your immune system because of the small amount of pollen found in the honey. This hasn’t been backed with a lot of scientific evidence, but some people swear by it. Kinder says cooking it with water — make in a 50/50 solution — will ensure its safety for those who might have sensitivities.)
- Fresh jalapeno
- 250mg of CBD oil (check the dose on the side of the bottle)
- First off, it’s important that your orange juice is fresh squeezed. You want pulp (read: fibre) to get the maximum Vitamin C boost.
- Add everything in
- Muddle the jalapeno
- Pour over ice
- Add CBD to top, oil and water separate anyway so might as well have some flair at the end
3: Meet your Vitamin A fix with a non-boring, alcohol-free option
OK, this one might actually be legitimately healthy. Kinder says “no-proof cocktails” are leading 2019 mixology trends as people look for flavourful and interesting drinks that are carefully crafted but low on alcohol.
With the highest production-value preparation step on the list (see last bullet in directions below), whoever you’re aiming to impress is likely to forget this tart, spicy, smoky cocktail is sans liquor. Don’t forget to tell them that you just improved their bones, skin and immune system by meeting their daily dose of Vitamin A, like any great host.
- 2.5 oz. tart cherry juice
- 1 Tbsp pink peppercorns
- 1 oz. cranberry juice
- 1/2 oz. homemade brown sugar syrup (make with 50% water and 50% sugar)
- Put the tart cherry juice and pink peppercorns on the stove and bring the mixture to a low boil. Then, simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
- For a more intense flavour, crack some of the peppercorns and let sit for an extra 5 minutes
- Once cooled, add cranberry juice and brown sugar syrup
- Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. (To be incredibly fancy, smoke rosemary into the serving glass. Take a dry sprig of rosemary, prop it inside the glass, then light the top like a birthday candle. Partially cover the glass with a larger glass or bowl, and once you see smoke rising, cover the glass completely. Let sit for 20 seconds.)