healthy alcohol - low calorie cocktails

Healthy Alcohol?

The trend dominating the alcohol industry

For the past several years, consumers around the globe have turned towards healthier lifestyles. Growing your own food is more popular than ever, health food stores have seen a massive increase in customers, and regular exercise has become the new norm – so much so that athleisure wear tops trends in the fashion industry. The health-and-wellness industry not only focuses on the individual, but also the impact that individuals have as consumers. People are more interested than ever in how their products arrived at their local supermarket, and whether they were sustainably sourced and produced. Creeping slowly into the ethos of all industries, healthy alcohol has also become the next big thing.

Now, we all remember the strongly worded Public Service Announcements and the staunch warning labels spouting the dangers of alcohol for our health. So, is healthy alcohol an oxymoron? Can the two terms coexist? Many medical experts say that it’s complicated. Some studies have shown that limited intake of alcohol has little to no impact on health when compared to absolutely no intake of alcohol. Others argue that there are even some health benefits to drinking small amounts of alcohol.

Excessive intake is proven to have detrimental impacts on health, but finding the right balance may not be considered ‘unhealthy’ after all. But alcohol content is only the first consideration in the healthy alcohol trend.

Popular drinks in the niche are low-calorie and have little added sugar, to lessen the impact traditional alcoholic drinks like beers have on health. They are also produced by environmentally friendly companies aiming to capture the attention of a generation committed to sustainability and social responsibility. Emerging first as trends in America, these drinks are beginning to make their way into the South African market.

One of the most popular of these drinks is hard seltzer, a clear, carbonated water made with fermented sugar. Hard seltzer is considered a healthy alternative to other canned sugary drinks, with fewer calories and a low sugar content. Hard kombucha is another emerging trend, adding small amounts of alcohol to the already popular wellness drink.

Luckily, low-calorie, low-alcohol beverages are not limited to the trendy, difficult-to-pronounce drinks emerging as leaders in the market. Dry wines and the classic whiskey on the rocks are considered some of the healthiest alcoholic drinks you can consume (in moderation, of course). But you don’t need to limit yourself to the basics either; there are also a few classic cocktails that aren’t laden with sugar or packed with processed products. Try these recipes for a sundowner you shouldn’t feel guilty about:

Bloody Mary

Salt or pepper the rim of a tall glass and fill it with ice. In a mixer, combine 1 shot of vodka, tomato juice, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add some ice to chill and shake vigorously until combined. Pour into the glass and serve with a celery stalk.


Freshly squeeze the juice of half a large grapefruit and add to a glass. Add one shot of good-quality tequila and the juice of 1 lime. Fill the glass with ice and pour in sparkling water to fill the glass. Serve with an extra slice of lime.

The Gardener