Plant Based

De-Stress and Unwind in Seconds With This Delicious, Non-Alcoholic Herbal Cocktail

Erin Bunch

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Looking for a mocktail option that isn’t just juice and seltzer? Try this kava drink recipe to unwind after a stressful day.

The year 2020 will forever be remembered by most who experienced it as an intensely stressful time (to say the absolute least). Since being cryogenically frozen until it’s all over isn’t a possibility for any of us, the next best thing tends all too often to come from a bar cart. While there’s nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, Americans are leaning on it more than ever—and we could all stand to have some other stress coping mechanisms in our tool kit. On the latest episode of Plant-Based, our favorite herbalist and holistic health coach Rachelle Robinett offers an alternative far better for our well-being: a booze-free Old Fashioned made from (what else?) plants.

Robinett’s mocktail draws inspiration from the classic cocktail—lots of orange, cherry, and bitters flavors—but replaces alcohol with kava, an herb traditionally utilized for its relaxing properties. “This is my go-to,” says Robinett, who notes that she enjoys herbal mocktails every day.

Kava, Robinett says, has been used for thousands of years by native peoples of the South Pacific islands as a social lubricant and/or physical relaxant that does not impair your mind. (It more recently started to be adopted by U.S. wellness consumers.) “Depending on the strain of kava that you have, it may be more euphoric or more relaxing,” she says. “But overall, it’s something that is encouraging GABA production in the brain, and GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps us to relax.”

You don’t have to use kava specifically, or get as extra as Robinett does in concocting this drink—any liquid herbal extract, aka tincture, can be simply mixed with sparkling water to create a healthy cocktail alternative. When choosing the herb you want to utilize, Robinett recommends thinking about the way you use alcohol—to relax the body, calm the mind, for the culinary experience, to socialize, etc—and then seek out herbs that serve similar functions. “All the different ways we use that lubricant [alcohol] can be replaced by herbs that do the same thing,” she explains.

Color me converted, especially given that Old Fashioneds just so happen to be my favorite drink. Watch the video to steal Robinett’s recipe for your next outdoor dinner party, happy hour and/or/especially Twitter doomscroll. Cheers!

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