Today’s guest post was written by our Associate Acupuncturist Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. who blogs about health, nutrition and recipes at Sweet Beet & Green Bean.
Whether you don’t drink at all or you are just trying to cut back, mocktails are an alcohol-free, refreshing way to enjoy a drink with friends on a warm summer day. These incorporate ingredients like aloe juice, raw apple cider vinegar, and coconut water, which all have important health benefits. They’re super easy to make, too!
Are you a tired pregnant or nursing mom? Trying to conceive? Suffering from digestive problems or chronic pain? Alcoholic drinks may be off limits for you, but these mocktails can actually help you feel bright and shiny without any side effects.
Recipe 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint 1/2 a lime 1-2 tbsp sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave (to your taste) 2 oz aloe juice Sparkling water
A take on the classic mojito, the aloe-jito uses aloe juice in place of rum. Aloe Vera juice is a healing and soothing tonic in small amounts. It can detoxify, moisten and cool the body, clear skin, and soothe the digestive tract.
Drinking aloe can relieve constipation because it has a mild laxative effect, so don’t overdo it on the dosage. 1-2 ounces per day is a enough for most people; you may want to start with a smaller dose if you are prone to loose stools.
To make this mocktail, use a tall glass and add the lime (cut into smaller pieces) and mint leaves into the bottom and muddle them well. If you don’t have a muddler, you can use the handle of a wooden spoon. Once muddled well, add the sugar and mix well. I have used raw honey for this before, but it doesn’t mix in quite that well; I find maple or agave syrup work better. How much sugar you use will depend on your taste, I found 1 tablespoon to be plenty. Then add a few ice cubes and pour over the aloe juice, top with sparkling water and garnish with a lime wedge and another sprig of mint.
You can also make this recipe without the aloe and it is still quite refreshing.
Recipe 2-3 tbsp homemade strawberry shrub (see below) About 8 oz sparkling water Basic Shrub 1 part fruit 1 part vinegar 1 part sugar
Shrub is a traditional vinegar-based syrup that is often used to make soda. In Chinese Medicine, small amounts of sour foods like vinegar are beneficial to the Liver system. Especially healthy are the naturally fermented vinegars like raw apple cider vinegar which contains probiotics that support digestive health. When added into the diet in small amounts, apple cider vinegar can support digestive and immune health.
By making shrub with apple cider vinegar it becomes much more palatable because of the hint of fruit flavor and sweetness. Also, by mixing up a big batch of shrub it makes it much easier to incorporate into your daily diet or to serve to a big group of people.
The fruit for the shrub should be finely chopped up first and added in after the vinegar and sugars are mixed well; I find a mason jar is best for this. Once mixed together, the shrub needs to sit in the fridge for at least 1 day but up to 1 week, the fruit flavor will intensify the longer it sits. After a week, strain the mixture to remove the fruit. You can use the fruit in a smoothie if you don’t want to waste it, but it’s a little sour to eat on its own and you can’t leave it in the shrub indefinitely.
I used local raw honey as the sugar in this recipe, and the apple cider vinegar dissolves it well, but granulated cane sugar, maple syrup or agave syrup would all work. You can also try different variations of fruits and vinegars to see what you like the best!
I like to serve the shrub soda over a large ice cube and I find about 2-3 tablespoons of shrub per cup of sparkling water is the right balance. Obviously you can play around with it and find what ratio works best for you.
While we usually don’t recommend too many cold foods to our patients, an icy beverage is sometimes the only thing that feels refreshing when the weather gets really hot.
This recipe is more or less a traditional Piña Colada without the rum. Most traditional colada recipes just use coconut cream, which is a great source of healthy saturated fats and has anti-fungal properties, plus it serves as a delicious creamy alternative for those who are dairy sensitive. I’ve also included some coconut water in this recipe because it’s so high in electrolytes that it works well to keep us hydrated during those hot summer days. In addition to the usually pineapple and coconut ingredients, I’ve added in half a banana for a little extra sweetness and creaminess.
Preparation of this drink is as simple as blending all the ingredients together, and topping with a tropical drink umbrella if you have one on hand! You can add a few ice cubes to the mix if you want it to be thicker and colder, but I didn’t find it needed them.
Try these and let us know what you think in the comments section!