As trends in the world of wellness go mainstream, you may notice that even bartenders are incorporating certain popular ingredients into their offerings. If you’ve noticed spices like turmeric or mushroom infusions on cocktail menus, you know that they’re taking cues from health food stores! However, a growing number of people are feeling inspired to give up alcohol altogether, or at the very least, cutting back on their consumption. They don’t want cocktails that just seem healthier—they want the health benefits that come from saying goodbye to booze. The good news is that the staff at your favorite bar might be responding accordingly. Mocktails are one of the biggest trends in the beverage industry this year, and they’re tastier than ever before.
Younger generations are more inclined to choose booze-free beverages over alcohol. In fact, 45% of millennials say that they would quit drinking to improve their health, and young women are currently the biggest consumers of mocktails. This might not be solely motivated by health concerns: millennials don’t have as much disposable income as older generations, and let’s face it, going out for drinks all the time can really eat into your budget.
It seems like people are genuinely becoming more and more aware of the reality that the typical American lifestyle puts us at an increased risk of disease. Furthermore, people are gravitating towards more personalized diets, which may not leave much room for alcohol in the first place. People who are committed to keto or paleo diets may not want to consume any refined sugar and limit their carb intake. Those who are eating a gluten-free diet will have to say goodbye to most beers. And even vegans have their concerns when it comes to alcohol consumption: not all beer, wine, and spirits are vegan, so sometimes, cutting them out is simpler than researching which varieties are processed (or include) animal products.
Overall, the effects of alcohol are far from health promoting. It’s dehydrating, it leaves you stumbling and feeling dizzy, it lowers your inhibitions until you do things you regret, it makes you nauseas, and if you drink too much, you could end up vomiting or passing out.
And while some bars may be trying to capitalize on the appeal of trendy health foods, the truth is that excessive alcohol consumption really has no place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A glass of wine or a cold beer here or there? Sure. But no matter how much turmeric and ginger is in that tasty new IPA, it’s still not going to provide any real benefits. On the other hand, abstaining from alcohol is always the healthiest option. Yes, there was some buzz about the potential health benefits of red wine over the past few years, but more recent research is calling those theories into question. The facts are in: alcohol in any form really can’t be considered a health food.
One of the most difficult aspects of giving up alcohol is socializing. Even as people become more health conscious, saying that you don’t drink is often met with unwanted comments and questions. But with more classy mocktail options available, it can be easy to hide it if you don’t want to hear unsolicited opinions. Plus, these new varieties look way more enticing than plain water or soda.
So, what’s on the mocktail menu these days? Bartenders are not just mixing fruit juice and sparkling water and calling it a day. Think fresh berries and herbs for infusions and garnishes, premium flavored waters, and high quality, organic spices and other ingredients that will appeal to the health conscious consumer. And the best part? You can drink as many as you want without dreading a hangover the next day. No more going home and chugging water, waking up feeling sick and tired, and hoping that someone else remembers exactly what you did last night. You can treat yourself and have a fun night out without paying for it the following morning.
Are mocktails suddenly going to be all the rage? Not quite—most people are still going to order an alcoholic beverage when they go to a bar. But overall, this trend is definitely a step in the right direction, and hopefully, it won’t just be a trend. There are plenty of people who still like going to bars with their friends just to socialize, even if they don’t drink. Having a wide ranging mocktail menu makes it a more inclusive environment for everyone, whether they want to indulge or abstain from alcohol.
Ready to make some yourself? Here are a few of our PD mocktail recipes.
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Photo: Mary Hood Luttrell; Molly Lansdowne