Here’s the dilemma: weekend happy hour is calling… but a hangover isn’t. Sure, a boozy night out can derail your healthy diet and play havoc with your weekend workouts, but it doesn’t mean you have to stick to soda water all the time. Here’s some tasty ideas for cutting back on alcohol (and kilojoules!) at cocktail hour.
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Have a low-proof cocktail. Say, what? They’re made with lower-strength spirits, like vermouth or bitters. Or you can just slash the amount of the harder stuff, like bourbon. Ie, a mix of sweet vermouth, Campari, citrus juice and soda water makes a fresh party-season cocktail… just go heavier on the soda!
Add nutrient-rich ingredients. If you want to make the most of cocktail hour, add health-boosting ingredients to your mixes – think blended and juiced vegies. Eg, a mix of beetroot juice, splash of vodka, ice and soda is surprisingly tasty and will give you a dose of detoxifying betacyanin (detox while you retox!).
“Rinse” your cocktails. To get a subtle flavour of alcohol, sans the hangover (yes!), use harder liquor like bourbon as a rinse. Decoded: pour the spirit into a glass, swirl it along the bottom and sides of the glass, then pour it out. You can then top the glass up with a mix of crushed ice, sugar syrup and some bubbly, then add fresh mint, for a lighter bevvie.
Have a champagne cocktail. Champagne or sparkling wine is a lower-kilojoule option – one small glass (120ml) clocks up around 372kJ. If you lower the bubbly volume and mix in health-boosting OJ, you’ll slash the alcohol content, too.
Look at the label. Many wines are naturally lower in alcohol – because of either the variety of grape or the climate or altitude they’re grown in. Look for an alcohol volume below 12.5% - or slightly higher for reds. Our pick: either a German Riesling or a Semillon from our very own Hunter Valley.