Chlorella Powder, Kale, and Vodka: Can Cocktails Be Healthy?

These days, healthy restaurants are de rigueur on both coasts, catering to a devoted, conscious band who regularly order detox juices and smoothies; local seasonal produce; vegan dishes; and clean, grass-fed meats. So it comes as no surprise thagreen-smoothiet craft cocktails are now hyper-designed and “healthy,” touting nutritional and even medicinal benefits. “The days of syrupy, sugar-laden cocktails is over,” quips beverage director Jason Eisner, who slung a bevy of drinks at the Newport Beach, California, debut of Gratitude (an upscale iteration of its iconic, plant-based sibling, Café Gratitude, in Los Angeles). Using nontraditional, house-made mix-ins, Eisner will shake a range of drinks from tequila añejo, heirloom beet juice, carrot bitters, balsamic reduction, and Italian sweet vermouth; concoct a twist on the classic gin and tonic with botanical gin, house wild chamomile tea, and tea smoke; and, at West Hollywood’s meatless Mexican spot Gracias Madre, the wittingly titled “Matcha Ado About Nothing” will couple Japanese ceremonial-grade matcha with tequila.

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 approximatelgreen-smoothiey 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

 

About Bob McCauley

Bob McCauley, ND (Robert F., Jr.) was raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Michigan State University (BA, 1980 in Journalism). He is a naturopathic doctor, Master Herbalist and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. He has traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, visiting over 32 countries. He published Confessions of a Body Builder: Rejuvenating the Body with Spirulina, Chlorella, Raw Foods and Ionized Water (2000), Achieving Great Health (2005), The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, (2006) which is the only book on the market that exclusively addresses Ionized Water, Twelve (Fiction, 2007) and Honoring the Temple of God (2008). He considers himself a Naturalist, meaning he pursues health in the most natural way possible. He studies and promotes nature as the only way to true health. From 2002-2004 he hosted the radio program Achieving Great Health, which was heard by thousands of people each day. His guests included some of the most well-known and respected names in the natural health world. With the help of his father, Dr. Robert F. McCauley, Sr. (Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1953) they started Spartan Water Company in 1992, which sold vended water machines in supermarkets. Robert Jr. founded Spartan Enterprises, Inc. in 1993. He is a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. He is also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and has the certifications of S-5 and D-5. The McCauley family has a long history in the water industry. Bob's father pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953 for his thesis on removing radioactive strontium from water. He earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering in less than 2 years, one of the shortest doctoral studies in the history of MIT. He taught civil, sanitary and environmental engineering at Michigan State University for 18 years before retiring to run Wolverine Engineers & Surveyors of Mason, Michigan, for 17 years. His reputation throughout Michigan as a water quality expert was legendary. Bob worked for his father's company for 12 years learning the water business, which dealt primarily with municipalities, including water quality and sanitary sewer issues. After apprenticing with his father, Bob moved on to the bottled water business. He established greater Michigan's biggest selling bottled water: Michigan Mineral – Premium Natural Water. He was introduced to Ionized Water in 1995 and has done more to promote Ionized Water than anyone else in the industry. Bob often lectures and offers seminars on his Seven Component Natural Health Protocol . Bob is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Master Herbalist. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Songahm Taekwondo (American Taekwondo Association).
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