September 15, 2022 by Sonja Edridge
Are mocktails healthy? Excellent question, dear inquisitive reader. We love it when folks are clever enough to root around the surface of a booming trend like mocktails. It shows that you are a free thinker who wants to know the real deal before buying in. Good on you.
Hopping straight to it, the answer to your question is (maddingly, we realise) both yes, and no. It all depends on the drink in question, you see. Let’s take a look at what makes a healthy mocktail, shall we?
Should you replace your cocktails with mocktails?
First things first, what are mocktails? A mocktail is a non-alcoholic mixed drink that has all the flair of a cocktail, but none of the ABV (alcohol by volume). Basically, it’s a pretty and tasty drink without any booze in the mix.
These delicious beverages are often virgin versions of well-known drinks, such as the Margarita Mocktail. However, it can also be a thing in and of itself, such as the Shirley Temple.
The thing that is more difficult to define than mocktails meaning is the term ‘healthy’. See, healthy can mean one thing to one person, and quite another to their bestie. Between keto, intermittent fasting, vegetarianism, veganism, Paleo, Atkins, DASH, and raw foodism, there are so many schools of thought where diets are involved that the definition can get quite tangled.
So, let’s keep things simple. For the purpose of the vibe around mocktails, we are going to define ‘healthy’ as something that can boost your physical wellbeing when you enjoy it as a part of a balanced diet and lifestyle. Yes? Yes. Let’s do this.
The benefits of drinking mocktails VS cocktails
With all this in mind, here are five reasons why many people are choosing to enjoy mocktails instead of cocktails, both occasionally or as a rule.
1. Feeling fresh the morning after
When you have a big day the next day, or simply want to feel fresh when you get up after a night out or in with your mates, the mocktail route is a great way to go. You get to have a bunch of fun, and the next day you are still ready to tackle that presentation or hop on your bike to hit the trails without any lingering side effects.
2. Keeping things clean
Not everyone is well suited to drinks that contain alcohol. Some don’t like the way it makes them feel, while others may have addictive tendencies that make mocktails a better option for them. Whatever the case may be, non-alcoholic cocktails provide these fine humans with a grown-up drink option that looks fancier than a fizzy drink or a smoothie.
3. Boosting your diet with extra nutrients
When you choose mocktails with the right kind of ingredients (more on that below), you can actually boost your daily nutritional intake. At this point it has to be said, however, that while fruit is wonderful (LOVE that vitamin A and C journey for us!), fruit sugars are still sugars. Keep that in mind when you choose your non-alc cocktail.
4. Staying hydrated
Since alcohol is a diuretic (very simply, something that makes you go to the loo more often), it can be a bit of a hurdle if you’re trying to stay hydrated. Mocktails, on the other hand, can actually up your hydration levels if you enjoy the right kind.
5. Being budget-savvy on the town
Mocktails are also often quite a bit cheaper than their full-force cocktail counterparts since they do not contain any alcohol. This is a nice way to save a quid or two if you are trying to keep your budget nice and trim when you’re headed out, or making drinks for guests at home.
5 of the healthiest mocktail bases
Let’s look at what you need to build healthy mocktails. It all starts with your base. Once you have the right one in play, you can layer it with just about anything you want, depending on your dietary requirements and those of your friends. Here are five mocktail bases that work well if you want to keep things healthy:
1. Non-Alcoholic Spirits
There are a variety of non-alcoholic spirits like zero-alc gin and vodka on the market these days. Featuring herbaceous ingredients that impart the general vibe of the original spirit, these are super easy to incorporate in a mocktail since you simply switch out one ingredient for the other.
2. Iced Tea
Unsweetened herbal iced tea is very easy to make at home – you simply steep the loose-leaf tea or tea bags in hot water as you would usually do, and then allow it to cool down. At this stage you can even add slices of fruit to give it a naturally sweet taste. Some tea brands also have cold-brew options that can be brewed with room-temperature water.
The great thing about this option is that you can incorporate teas like Oolong, green tea, camomile, mint and rooibos in your mocktails and enjoy the proven antioxidant benefits of these age-old elixirs.
3. Fresh Juices
Freshly squeezed fruit juices like lime, lemon, grapefruit, oranges, and kiwi all contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, especially when it is cold-pressed. Just remember to use sweeter juices in moderation since it does also contain a fair amount of naturally occurring sugar.
Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black tea drink that makes a fragrant, effervescent base for a cocktail. It can also help to stimulate your digestion, rid your body of toxins, and boost your energy.
5. Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is a great way to add bubbles to a mocktail without adding any calories. Bonus points if you use sparkling mineral water that contains trace amounts of health-boosting minerals.
The Best ingredients for mocktails
Here are a few fun ingredients and garnishes you can add to your easy mocktails at home if you want to boost the health benefits thereof:
Pomegranate juice and pomegranate pips (also called rubies) alike are full of antioxidants that can help to support urinary health and keep inflammation at bay. It may also improve exercise endurance and boost heart health.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries all contain nice concentrations of high in fibre, vitamin C, and antioxidants that are associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They are also quite low in calories.
Ginger is an age-old remedy that is used in healing mixtures and tinctures around the globe. It contains a bioactive compound called gingerol that may help the body fend off day-to-day sicknesses, as well as chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy ageing.
Watermelon is an incredibly hydrating fruit that contains loads of fibre as well as nutrients like lycopene that can promote skin health and keep you nice and regular.
Cherries are also low in calories and contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a nice amount of fibre. Also, how lovely does it look draped over the rim of a mocktail glass, though?
Fresh herbs and flowers
Fresh herbs and flowers like mint, lavender, rose, rosemary, sage, and basil not only look pretty and smell divine, but they also impart essential oils into a drink that can be very beneficial in these small doses.
There you have it – what is a mocktail and is it healthy, asked and answered. No go forth and shake up some amazing alcohol-free creations of your own! Remember to tag us when you share those delicious pictures on your social pages!