5 Healthier Ingredients to Try in Your
(all photos from Google/stock images)
With the fall season upon us, it means sweater weather, lots of eating, and pumpkin-spiced everything around every corner. With modern advancements in winter wear and our disconnect from actually being bears, packing on pounds is something that's less than a necessity... and is a bit frowned upon. With people’s interest shifting to being healthier, how alcohol is being consumed is shifting as well.
Interest in healthier living overall, lower calorie, lower sugar and lower alcohol beverages are just the start. Bar and restaurant patrons are more consumer-conscious than in the past, taking time to be informed of what they’re purchasing, interested in the story behind the brand, the liquids inside the bottle and even the men, women and venues making them. With self -love and general health being top of mind for more than the average, and crafted food and beverage not even at their peaks, providing balanced, interesting, and healthier options on your menu is something that is a necessity for any venue.
Here are a few ingredients to consider for fall to winter as you update your cocktail menus - whether a weekly special or a permanent resident all season long.
This tangy and earthy root is one of the most widely used dietary condiment in the world today. It comes from the plant family that includes other health benefiting spices like turmeric and cardamom and grows underground It’s actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric and cardamom.
Flavor: Fresh ginger has a pungent, spicy smell. Ground ginger has a warm, spicy bite, is a little bit sweet, and is not as strongly flavored as fresh ginger.
Benefits: There are several health benefits associated with consumption of this superfood. Some include assisting with lower heart disease, infections, pain, inflammation and upset stomach or indigestion.
Try: Use fresh ginger, ginger powder or even a ginger tea to craft some interesting and spicy, earthy cocktails that will not only intrigue your guests’ palates, but will soothe and settle any internal imbalances. In my opinion, fresh is best - muddled or grated to finish but homemade teas or syrups made with honey can be just as nice.
Sake is a fermented rice beverage that is crafted most similarly to the beer. It’s packed with antioxidants, generally lower in ABV and higher quality sakes are pure with no additives, sugars and naturally gluten free. The versatility of this spirit and lower proof makes it a great option for full service bars to those only holding beer and wine license.
Flavor: flavors vary depending on the sake style and can offer unique notes to enhance and support the other ingredients included. Ranging from sweet, crisp and clean, subtle fruit aromas and flavors to sparkling, earthy or even a bit more pungent, the array of options you’ll find with sake are interesting and highly mixable.
Benefits: Sake is known to have many health rewards and used for it’s heightened antioxidants, amino acids and even some vitamin properties. Sake is also used for skincare and beauty care.
Try: Sake is a great substitute for any white spirit and can offer a lower ABV and well-balanced option to classics like martinis and white negronis. Finding fresh and subtle ingredients that enhance without overpowering the notes of the beverage can make for a warm, interesting cocktail that will spark curiosity of your customers’ palates and minds.
Milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains made with kefir "grains", a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter. As a result of the fermentation, very little lactose remains in kefir which makes it a more approachable option for people with lactose intolerances. It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is healthier than yogurt.
Benefits: Kefir is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health. This fermented beverage is packed with vitamins and nutrients, probiotics, antibacterial properties and has been said to aid in improving allergies.
Try: This high-powered liquid is a great replacement for classic creams and milks in classic cocktails like White Russians, or base to a seasonally-inspired pour. Try pairing with fresh spices like clove, cinnamon or nutmeg to bring to life a Fall-inspired cocktail packed with nutrients and void of empty calories galore.
4. FRESH, EARTHY HERBS & VEGETABLES
Fresh is best and can offer a variety of textures, tastes and flavors that will make any cocktail hearty and seasonally appropriate. Herbs as a garnish is a classic go-to and juices as mixers is standard. These will never get old.
Benefits: Fresh herbs and juices made from items from the garden not only provide better flavors, but are lower in sugars, additives and rank higher in vitamins and nutrients than their pre-bottled counterparts. A bit more labor intensive but worth the end result. The direct health benefits are endless and vary specifically but herbs and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients and promote better digestion, lower disease rates and improve overall health.
Try: Citrus is a standard, not only for freshness, but balance. Fall is the season for the earth. Explore more rooted, earthy flavors like sweet potato, beet, sage, rosemary and chicory. These highly herbaceous options will help you craft a cocktail that is a perfect partner for a Fall-Inspired food menu.
As the second most-consumed drink in the world and is made from the plant Camellia. With some varieties including black, green, oolong, white, and pu'erh. Tea is a complex and interesting beverage enjoyed by most people and readily available anywhere.
Benefits: Tea contains antioxidants, boosts immune system and is known to be associated with weight loss, reduced risks in heart disease cancer and caloric intake.
Try: Replace fresh brewed teas with bottled juices. Pair with herbs and citrus to create a variety of flavor options. Spices and natural sugars like honey make for a lower-calorie cocktail packed with flavor, body and health benefits.