9 Immune-Boosting Cocktails That Pack Vitamins and Antioxidants
When you think of cocktails, your first thought probably isn't your immune system. But doing something good for your body may as well be a welcome byproduct of your happy hour or backyard party. The trick to turning your tipple into a wellness elixir is to use simple, natural mixers, like fresh fruits and herbs, and go easy on the sugar. These ingredients carry natural sweetness and a burst of flavor, but also pack some serious immune-boosting properties.
Think of immune-boosting drinks you'd normally turn to when you're feeling under the weather, like lemonade and ginger tea, and you'll notice they have a lot of ingredients in common with the most delicious alcoholic beverages. So no, you don't have to dust your rim with Emergen-C to get vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from your cocktails—just harness the power of nature's bounty with these simple immune-boosting cocktails.
When it comes to mixed drinks, the fewer the ingredients you use to flavor your spirit of choice, the closer you are to a wellness elixir. Not to mention, your waistline will benefit from the natural approach of no added sugar. This paloma recipe is stripped down to basics, and uses only freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and lime juice for flavor and sweetness. "Grapefruit is an excellent food to choose to boost your immune system. It is high in vitamin C (half a grapefruit has 68 percent of your recommended daily intake) which has antioxidant properties and can boost your cells in fighting off bacteria and viruses," notes Jessi Holden, MS, RDN, CSOWM. Bottoms up!
Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food.
Yes, you can easily picture muddled strawberries in a fresh fruity cocktail. Not only do they make an excellent mixer, but they're also going to add significant amounts of vitamin C to your drink. And it's an especially good choice during the time of seasonal viral infections. "There is evidence-based science that suggests boosting vitamin C can help support recovery from viral infections," says Jennifer Tyler Lee, a nutrition expert and co-author of Half the Sugar, All the Love. To that end, make sure you're choosing a drink that was made with the actual fruit, and not a strawberry concentrate filled with sugar. A simple way to turn fresh strawberries into a healthy mixer is to blend them with some lime juice and honey, which is why we highly recommend this margarita recipe.
Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
Cucumber Vodka Soda
The benefits of cucumber juice to overall health and wellness are well-documented. It's lauded for its 95 percent water content and contains a ton of electrolytes, which makes it highly hydrating and the perfect post-workout recovery drink. And lucky for you, it's also a beautifully refreshing addition to any healthy cocktail. We particularly love the idea of keeping things simple, like in this Cucumber Vodka Soda recipe, which is a true fridge-cleanout cocktail. If you want to make things even healthier, skip the simple syrup.
Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.
Orange-Infused Whiskey Ginger
Because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginger is a key ingredient for overall health. It has been shown to aid digestion, help protect against cancer, boost metabolism, and even improve circulation. Who wouldn't want to reap the benefits of this miracle root? Plus, its wonderful, spicy flavor can go a long way in adding some zing to your drinks. This whiskey cocktail is a lesson in simplicity and using ginger to quickly infuse flavor.
Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.
Matcha is a pure green tea powder, derived from tea leaves that have the highest amount of chlorophyll. It's known as a powerful antioxidant that can aid cardiovascular health by lowering the "bad" cholesterol and increasing the "good". While you know it better as an ingredient in your lattes, it's also an excellent hack to an immune-boosting cocktail in a pinch. A shot of gin will turn a simple matcha mocktail into a delicious, refreshing cocktail perfect for warm-weather brunches.
Get the recipe from The Tea Cup of Life.
Pineapple Basil Rum Fizz
Pineapple is highly hydrating and full of vitamin C. We recommend using the fresh version of the fruit in cocktails, because you'll reap the health benefits without high amounts of sugar that are usually packed into pineapple concentrates and juices. This recipe uses a whole fresh pineapple to make six servings, which is perfect if you're making a batched cocktail for a party. Pre-make the mixer and stir it with a shot of rum for individual cocktails. Then prance around like the hostess with the mostest that you are.
Get the recipe from A Beautiful Plate.
Aperitifs are herbal bitters usually consumed before food to whet one's appetite. Compared to digestifs, which are consumed for better digestion after a meal, aperitifs have less sugar and more pronounced herbal notes. All in all, they make for perfect low ABV drinks which are more refreshing than alcoholic, and can get your digestive juices flowing. Although aperitifs and digestifs are found in many cocktails, one of the simples examples of how to use them is an Aperol Spritz. A spritz can be anything that follows the formula of bitter liqueur + sparkling wine + fizzy water, but we just love the color and flavor of this tried and true classic.
Get the recipe from Feasting at Home.
A hot toddy needs no introduction. It's a beloved drink of whiskey, honey, and lemon juice, usually consumed in colder months. You'll find all three of its main ingredients on lists of home remedies for cold symptoms, but there's actually science behind it, too. First of all, lemon juice is full of vitamin C, honey carries antibacterial properties, and cinnamon is anti-inflammatory. A 2008 study out of Cardiff University has shown that drinking a hot fruit beverage has the ability to soothe a sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness connected to the common cold. A year-round Hot Toddy habit may not be the worst idea you've ever had, but you can reap its health benefits in a chilled cocktail using the same ingredients, too.
Get the recipe from Cookie and Kate.
They say red wine is the healthiest alcoholic beverage out there. Its health benefits have been the focus of much research and are well documented: consuming it in moderation can improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol levels, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. If you get your hands on a good quality bottle of red, or you're looking for a nice cheese or steak pairing, you'll want to drink it undiluted. But when you need a bit of whimsy, especially in the summer when so much delicious fruit is in season, turning your red wine into a refreshing sangria is a special treat. We love this Blackberry Sangria recipe inspired by Carraba's sangria, but you could also skip the brandy and extra sugar, if you're looking for a truly healthy sipper.
Get our recipe for Blackberry Sangria.