In terms of ingredients, there’s a niche calling beyond the cries for ubiquitous leafy kale
and pressed juices toward more abstract additions like emerald-green chlorella powder and marine plankton extracts. Fashionable spots in New York City, like the perennially cool Chinatown restaurant Dimes, serves good-for-you booze alongside bowls of spiced quinoa, stewed chickpeas, broccolini, and pickled mushrooms. Its mixologist, Arley Marks, prepares whimsical wheatgrass margaritas and chlorella shrub creations with an old liquid extraction technique. “Herbalists have historically used alcohol to extract the medicinal and nutritional qualities from various ingredients to make tinctures,” he explains. “Adding ingredients with nutritional benefits such as chlorophyll provides a healthy boost.”
In Nolita, the beachy Montauk-inspired Seamore’s pairs sustainable fish tacos with light housemade aquas frescas like Cucumber Mint—spiked with tequila, vodka, or gin. In the West Village, the impossibly chic colonize at Cafe Clover for Johnny Swet’s seasonal Winter Tonic, a mingling of aromatic gin, rosemary, and aloe vera, and later for chef David Standridge’s nutritionist-approved menu of pasture-raised strip loin with an olive oil potato puree. A few blocks away, vegan chef and cookbook author Chloe Coscarelli’s cheery, bustling Greenwich Village namesake,by Chloe., whips up a Beet Bloody Mary with cold-pressed juice to commence before the Guac Burger starring a black bean–quinoa–sweet potato patty.
So, is it possible to devise a healthy cocktail of vegetable blends and elixirs with our favorite vodka? Perhaps. This answer lies in making tweaks like conscious ingredient swaps, authentic natural sugars, artisanal spirits, less potent pours, and slow sips. It’s obvious history plays a role. After all, alcohol has long been used to extract the medicinal qualities of herbs. Without the over-syrupy syrups and high-fructose content, Los Angeles–based nutritionist Kelly LeVeque says, “The good news is, bitter greens are known to help rejuvenate the liver cells you beat up when you drink. Adding kale, parsley, or cilantro to a cocktail would only benefit your liver’s ability to heal. Lean on the antioxidant-rich, detox-supporting green stuff like herbs, matcha, and chlorella.”
Can we, at the very least, think we’re drinking healthy? “Throughout the ages alcohol has been used as a purifier, so the mere addition of spirits doesn’t mean that other ingredients lose their health benefits,” Eisner says. “Matcha contains chlorophyll-rich leaves, and what matters most to health enthusiasts is its antioxidant content. If you’re going to imbibe, why not get some benefit to your well-being?”
Heather Tierney, behind the beloved vegetarian café and juice bar The Butcher’s Daughter (the freshly spawned Abbot Kinney locale, with other spots in New York and Los Angeles), champions her drinks. “Our cocktails are made with produce, which contain a natural sweetness and no added sugar,” says Tierney, referring to her beet cocktail. “Who said alcohol wasn’t healthy anyway?” And when you’re looking for something unfussy, LeVeque advises to “stick to clear, clean alcohols with hydrating sugar-free mixers like water or soda with a squeeze of lemon.” Or perhaps, as the old adage goes, maybe it’s just everything in moderation.
Here, five variations on cocktails to make at home:
Chlorella Shrub Recipe
By Arley Marks of Dimes, New York City
Serves approximately 10
First: Prepare the chlorella mixture in a container that can hold 1 quart of liquid.
4 oz. organic apple cider vinegar
2 oz. strained, fresh lemon juice
2 oz. wildflower honey plus 2 oz. hot water, mix and let cool before adding to mixture
1 tsp. chlorophyll powder
1 qt. spring water
Second: Prepare the apple garnish.
Cut Fuji apple in half, remove core and stem, then slice on mandolin or with sharp knife approximately 1/8-inch thick; place slices in bowl and squeeze fresh lime over slices to stop them from browning.
Third: Prepare the cocktail for your friends!
1.5 oz. Material Vodka
3 oz. chlorella mixture
Combine Material Vodka and chlorella mixture in an old-fashioned glass, stir quickly, then top with a generous amount of ice. Garnish with tart apple slices, and enjoy!
Thanks to: Vogue