5 Summer Cocktails That Are Actually (Almost) Good for You

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summer cocktails

Tequila doesn't exactly do a body good. But sipping a late-summer marg can be a good thing, giving you a much-needed moment or two to sit still, sip, and recharge.

When you do imbibe, why not spike your hootch with health-boosting ingredients that help counter some of the liquor's less-than-ideal effects, like antioxidant-packed berries or vitamin-heavy honeydew?

We went to the some of the city's hottest healthy restaurants to get recipes for refreshing summer cocktails you can make at home—all of which contain fresh, seasonal ingredients that, yes, you can feel totally good about. (Or scoot out of the office a little early, and let a pro make one for you.) —Lisa Elaine Held

 (Photo: Jillgordoncelebrate.com)


healthier cocktailsGreen Pea Mojito
Rouge Tomate

Fresh pea juice is the star of this mojito spin-off that's made with fruit-of-the-moment yuzu and better-for-you-than-white-sugar organic agave.


1 ½ ounces house-made lavender-infused rum (mix lavender and rum in a clean jar and let sit—infusions can take several hours or weeks; your call)
2 ounces fresh organic pea juice
1 ounce yuzu juice
¼ ounce organic agave
½ ounce Nikolaihof biodynamic elderflower syrup
1 ounce organic mint "juice" (a blend of mint and water)


1. In a mixing glass, add all ingredients except the mint juice.
2. Shake and pour in a highball glass over crushed ice.
3. Pour 1o ounces of mint juice on top of the crushed ice, which will have started to float.
4. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.


healthier cocktailsHot Melon
Pure Food and Wine

Sarma Melngailis' raw food landmark is known for its sake-based cocktails made with good-for-you ingredients. This sweet and spicy summer libation provides vitamins, minerals, and even some fiber thanks to its fresh melon base.


1 quart sake
3 jalapeños
1 honeydew melon
A few sprigs cilantro
Lemon or lime juice (to taste)
Agave, coconut nectar, or other sweetener


1. Cut the jalapeños open and place them in a glass container with the sake. Allow to infuse for at least 2 hours.
2. Blend the flesh of one honeydew melon with a tiny bit of water, a dash of lemon or lime juice, and a few sprigs of cilantro, yielding a smooth, runny puree. (It's best to do this in a Vitamix blender, so you don't end up with small specks of cilantro, but if you do, that's okay, too! They're only cocktails after all.) You may also want to add a touch of agave nectar, coconut nectar, or other sweetener, to taste.
3. Shake one-part sake to one-part melon mix, over ice. Pour, and serve! (Feeling extra fancy? At Pure, they salt the rim of a martini glass with a mix of pink himalayan salt and the dried, grated rind of yuzu, a meyer lemon, or lime.)


healthier cocktailsThe Sleepover
DBGB Kitchen And Bar

Leave it to a master chef like Daniel Boulud to come up with maybe the perfect late summer cocktail, full of watermelon, pineapple, lemon, and lime juice. It's like a refreshing, alcoholic multi-vitamin.


1 ½ ounces tequila
2 ounces watermelon juice
½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce lemon-juniper syrup
1 ounce pineapple juice
Candied watermelon rind (available at specialty food stores, or make your own)


1. In a shaker with ice, combine all liquids and stir.
2. Strain and pour over ice.
3. Garnish with watermelon rind!


summer cocktailSummer Spritzer

Make the most of all those berry baskets you got at the farmers' market with this antioxidant powerhouse of a cocktail. Bubbly bonus! The Cava adds a slight summer sparkle.


2 blackberries
6 blueberries
1 strawberry
1 ½ ounces gin
1 ounce basil syrup


1. Muddle berries in a mixing glass (you can use a long wooden spoon).
2. Add gin and basil syrup. Shake!
3. Top with a touch of Cava.


healthier cocktailsTres Verdes Margarita
Gotham Bar and Grill

Gotham is home to greenmarket-obsessed chef Alfred Portale, so it's no surprise that his twist on a margarita includes some green—in this case, avocado, giving it a dose of good, healthy fats.


1 ½ ounces jalapeño-infused tequila (Gotham uses Dulce Vida Blanco, and 1 jalapeño—with most seeds removed—per one 1-liter bottle of tequila. Let sit for several hours)
¾ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
¾ ounce Luxardo Triplum Triple Sec
2 spoons of muddled avocado juice (muddle with lime juice)


1. Add contents to a shaker with ice.
2. Shake and strain! (Gotham's big on serving this drink in Nick & Nora martini glasses, like the one shown here.)


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