4 healthy cocktails

Let your hair down without ruining your waistline

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While drinking will never truly fall into the realms of the nutritionally essential, the idea of a healthy alcoholic drink is not as oxymoronic as it may first appear. Control and moderation are part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and, as long as you don’t go nuts, there are drinks out there which won’t put too much of a dent in your healthy aspirations. Here are some tasty beverages that should help inspire you to ditch the gin and slim-line tonic.     

The Raspberry Collins

The Tom Collins is a classic and simple cocktail which combines fragrant gin with lemon juice. It is a superb drink with a nice light and bitter taste which is can be easily expanded to pitcher size for a BBQ or party. A Collins of the raspberry variety is a version of the drink which retains all of the uncomplicated flavor of the original while adding the vitamin and magnesium enriched delights of raspberries into the mix to mellow the drink.

These health benefits can be boosted by removing the sugar syrup and replacing with a little honey, although somewhere a bar fairy dies every time you do it.    

To make ...

8-12 raspberries
50ml of gin
25ml of lemon juice
1tsp sugar syrup
Soda Water

Muddle (crush) the raspberries together with the gin and the syrup/honey in the bottom of a Collins glass until well pulped!

Add the lemon juice and fill the glass with ice. Top with soda and then stir (very lightly) with a long spoon to distribute the fruit. Drop a raspberry or two dropped on top for a garnish.

Basil Grande

An easy to make drink with a fantastic fruity and herbaceous flavorachieved by combining naturally sweet strawberries and decadent Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur) with fresh metallic basil and black pepper.  The basil provides a mineral rich boost to the drink and when combined with the strawberries makes it as healthy as a cocktail is ever going to be.

To make ...

20ml Chambord (just under a measure)
30ml Grand Marnier (just over a measure)
4 strawberries
5 basil leaves (one a garnish)
25ml Cranberry juice
crack of pepper

Chill a martini glass in the freezer prior to use (if you forget stick some ice into the glass and top off with water to chill while you make the drink). Muddle your strawbs in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with four basil leaves and the Chambord until puréed. Add your Grand Marnier, the cranberry juice and fill the shaker three quarters full with ice.

Shake well and strain into a martini glass (having discarded the water and ice and shaken the glass dry). Garnish with a crack of black pepper followed by a basil leaf.   

Pineapple and Ginger Martini

An unusual and absolutely delicious combination of flavors. Fresh pineapple is not essential to the drink if you use good quality juice but it actually helps you when it comes to muddling the ginger so we’d combine a mix of fresh fruit and juice. Pineapple is a great juice for cocktails because it creates a creamy, foamy texture in the glass when shaken well but also because it is crammed full of vitamins and other essential nutrients. On top of this ginger is well-known to have wide number of health benefits and can aid digestion and nausea.

To make ...

50ml Vodka
2 strips of peeled fresh ginger (about 2cm long and 5mm thick)
1 slice fresh pineapple
25ml pineapple juice

Again chill your martini glass prior to making the drink. Grind your ginger in the bottom of your shaker (be aggressive) until it’s a lovely, spicy mush. Add the fresh pineapple and your juice and muddle together until well mixed. Add your vodka, shake vigorously and strain into the chilled glass.  

The Blueberry Mojito

This aromatic Cuban delight has become a familiar regular in cocktail lounges the all over the world.  The drink in its base form is not actually all that bad for you but by adding a bunch of your favourite fruit into the mix you can give it a health boost. The sweetness of the fruit will also negate some of the need for added sugar.

We would recommend using blueberries. Blueberries are one of the original “super foods” and are packed full of anti-oxidants as well as a number other nutrients which make them a healthy drinking dream.

To make ...

50ml of your favourite rum - though we would recommend a light Cuban variety to be in keeping with the spirit of the drink
25ml fresh lime juice
10 mint leaves
8-10 Blueberries
1 tsp sugar
Dash of soda

Mix the sugar and lime juice together in the bottom of your chosen glass and stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Add half of your blueberries and very lightly muddle into the mixture. Add a few cubes of a crushed ice, tear your mint leafs in two and drop them onto the ice along with one or two more unmuddled blueberries. Lightly stir and then add the rum. Finally fill your glass almost to the top with crushed ice, top with a dash of soda and then garnish with a sprig of mint and the last of your fruit. Stir gently to avoid knocking the carbonation out of the drink.

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