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Environmental Nutrition: Craft a healthier cocktail

Lori Zanteson, Environmental Nutrition on

Less is more

When a cocktail recipe is perfect just the way it is, the best way to kick up its health factor is to simply drink less of it. That may mean having one cocktail instead of two, or serving it in a smaller glass. Or, it might be a better fit to stretch out the volume by filling the glass with ice or ice cubes made with juice, or made by combining fruit, vegetable slices, or herbs with water in ice trays. Adding more sparkling water or an extra splash of lime juice, for example, works too. You can also go low- or zero-proof by lessening the typical two-ounce shot of alcohol by a half- or full-ounce, or by cutting it altogether and making it a true mocktail.

Keeping it classic

Some cocktails are clearly better than others when it comes to health. This is the case with many classic cocktails, which may be at least partly why they never go out of style. Made with few ingredients, low or no sugar, and often dressed up with a nutrient-rich slice of lime, squirt of lemon, or muddle of mint, here are a few classics that deserve a nod for being inherently healthier than most:

Bottom line


Health and happy hour typically don’t have a lot in common. But it doesn’t mean they can’t coexist. We can certainly shrink that health gap when mixing libations with these small, yet strategic adjustments: keeping alcohol at lower levels or skipping it altogether, minimizing added sugars, and choosing nutrient-rich ingredients to enhance flavor.

(Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition in clear, concise English. For more information, visit

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