Hoera! We finally get to meet up with friends again after our winter of lockdown – a few drinks will definitely be okay.
Starting today, outdoor gatherings of six people or two households are allowed, and that means mini gatherings and selective garden parties.
For those of us who have been hibernating for months, alcohol may be just what we need to gently re-socialize.
Louise Atkinson tests quirky new cocktails that claim to be good for you as lockdown gets easier and many people socialize again
But if you’ve gained a little bit of weight and would like to limit your calorie intake, is there a less indulgent – even healthy – way to slip into the party mood?
Louise Atkinson tests a selection of quirky new cocktails that claim to be good for you – in more ways than one.
BOOZY PROBIOTICS: Blood Orange Negroni, 142 calories
Blood Orange Negroni, 142 calories
The classic Italian gin, sweet vermouth and Campari cocktail are given a high-calorie twist with sparkling blood orange-flavored kombucha.
Recipe: mix 25ml gin, 25ml Campari, 150ml Remedy Switchel Blood Orange (£ 29.99 for 24 cans, remedydrinks.com) over ice and garnish with an orange twist.
Health gain: Kombucha is a slightly effervescent fermented tea with a sour, yeasty taste. This fruit-flavored kombucha from Remedy is sugar-free and made from fermented raw apple cider vinegar and ginger, so it’s packed with antioxidants, live cultures, and organic acids that claim to aid digestion and support immunity.
FRUITY LOW-CAL FIZZ Slowbrero
Verdict: Deliciously fruity with a slightly bitter aftertaste – just like a real Negroni (which normally contains about 200 calories). The best way to take a probiotic daily. 5/5
FRUITY LOW-CAL FIZZ
Slowbrero, 150 calories
A low-calorie version of the tequila-based margarita, using a dragon fruit flavored sparkling mixer.
Recipe: mix 25ml tequila, 10ml vodka, 10ml citrus liqueur, such as triple sec, and the juice of half a lime with 50ml Slow Cow (£ 6.99 for four, amazon.co.uk) over ice and serve in a glass with a salty edge.
Health gain: Slow Cow is said to be the calming antithesis of energy drinks like Red Bull. Instead of caffeine, it contains herbal extracts to help relax, improve mood, concentration, memory and learning – in theory. It is light blue (to encourage calm) and has no calories.
Verdict: The blue color is shockingly medicinal, and while Slow Cow works well as a mixer, this elaborate cocktail looks little like a real margarita. A strong aftertaste of artificial sweetener. 2/5
SPARKLING CBD: Gin and Elderflower, 83 calories
Gin and Elderflower, 83 calories
A twist on the classic gin and tonic with a sparkling, low-calorie elderflower and mint blender.
Recipe: 25ml gin over ice with a can of Trip (£ 17.99 for six, drink-trip.com)
Health gain: Trip is a carbonated low-calorie mixer with 15 mg of CBD or cannabidiol. This is the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants that won’t give you a cannabis high, but is said to balance the body’s ‘endocannabinoid system’ that undermines sleep, stress, anxiety, immunity, pain and inflammation. keeps control. CBD supplements are also said to make you more creative, less anxious and stressed. Trip also contains plant compounds, such as ginseng and chamomile, to help the body deal with stress. And it only contains 19 calories in a can.
Verdict: The hint of mint completely dominates any elderflower flavor. The cocktail is surprisingly cloudy, with strongly spicy overtones that make it heartier than expected. 2/5
COLD BREW WITHOUT BOOZE: Espresso martini, 81 calories
COLD DOES NOT BOOZE
Espresso martini, 81 calories
An alcohol-free version of an espresso martini made with the herb-infused non-alcoholic spirit, Amplify.
Recipe: Shake 50ml of Amplify (£ 15 for 50cl, in supermarkets), 15ml of liquid honey, 60ml of cold brew coffee and a pinch of salt in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into a martini glass.
Health gain: By drinking this version, you’ll skip the alcohol and get hints of juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica, lemon zest, lemongrass, and ginseng root. Add to this the purported health boost of coffee (studies show that the polyphenols it contains may have anti-disease antioxidant properties), plus the beneficial micronutrients from the honey.
Verdict: Unfortunately, this doesn’t even come close to a real espresso martini in terms of taste or decadence. It tastes like sweet black coffee with top notes of lemony floor cleaner. 1/5
IMMUNITY BOOSTER: Pina Colada, 155 calories
Pina colada, 155 calories
A pina colada is usually off-limits to anyone watching their weight, but this lighter version uses coconut water instead of coconut cream, so it’s lower in sugar and fat.
Recipe: 50ml Aluna Coconut Rum (£ 25 for 70cl, waitrose.com), 50ml Vita Coco coconut water, 100ml pineapple juice, juice of half a lime on ice.
Health benefits Almost 50 percent fewer calories (a classic pina colada is about 270 calories) thanks to the use of coconut water instead of coconut cream, plus Aluna’s white rum has a lower sugar content compared to others. Coconut water contains potassium which can lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. You also get a burst of health-promoting antioxidants plus the enzyme bromelain (which can reduce inflammation, improve digestion and boost immunity) in the pineapple juice.
Verdict: A refreshing alternative to the sweet and creamy tropical cocktail. The coconut flavor really sings. 5/5
DELIVERY FRIENDLY G&T Gin with Cucumber and Mint, 118 calories
DELIVERY FRIENDLY G&T
Gin with cucumber and mint, 118 calories
A low-calorie garden party version of G&T.
Recipe: 25ml Gin on Ice with Cucumber and Mint Whisp (£ 10 for four from whispdrinks.co.uk)
Health gain: Whisp is a low-calorie, flavored carbonated water with four percent alcohol (fermented malt) and milk thistle, which is known to support liver function and target inflammation. In theory, this means it can prevent a hangover.
Verdict: Cucumber makes this a real summer drink. 5/5
ANTI-AGING WHISKEY: Whiskey tea high ball, 95 calories
Whiskey tea high ball, 95 calories
A long whiskey cocktail with carbonated green tea.
Recipe: 25ml whiskey, ice and Two Keys green tea blender (£ 2, Co-op)
Health gain: The Two Keys mixer (40 calories per bottle) is made from a blend of Japanese green teas, which contain bioactive compounds believed to protect the brain from aging.
Verdict: A refined, almost savory mixer. 4/5