While drinking alcohol will in no way help you during a post-holiday detox, there are ingredients you can use to help you imbibe in healthier ways. Enter ginger, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and power to settle an upset stomach. And we’re not talking about sugary ginger beer or ale, but rather the fresh stuff that’s juiced, minced and muddled to add both flavor and a healthy(ish) kick to cocktails. We asked four bartenders to mix a drink with the root, and we got everything from a Negroni twist to a matcha-spiked Mule. Mix one up the next time you’re hankering for a drink but want to live your best life at the same time.
4 Ginger Cocktails to Help You Detox
“The ‘detox while retoxing’ trend has been on the rise in recent years as bars put more health-driven cocktails on the menu,” says Torrence Swain, head bartender at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. We can attest to the trend, as we saw more veggie cocktails last year than ever before. In his take on the classic Moscow Mule, Swain swaps sugary ginger beer for fresh ginger juice and doses the drink with an exotic Matcha Pennywort syrup for sweetness. Dry, bittersweet and bubbly—thanks to a topping of club soda—it’s a refreshing libation to enjoy whether you’re health-conscious or not.
Matcha Pennywort Syrup
We love a Negroni twist, especially when it involves different spirits or a dose of fresh herbs. This variation from Rice & Gold’s beverage director John Bush gets an update from both cooling mint and spicy minced ginger. “The Negroni is among the most popular cocktails, and our version stays close to the classic with its ingredients and proportions,” he says. “Fresh ginger has such an intense flavor that we only need to use a small amount to add to the classic Negroni flavor we wanted to honor here.” With two and a half ounces of gin, this version is also twice as strong as the classic recipe, so you’re in for a good buzz when you mix one up.
Nothing conjures thoughts of beach breezes quite like a cocktail made with rum and fresh pineapple juice. But the mix isn’t just a summertime drink, especially when you add ingredients that’ll spice it up. “Ginger and pineapple combined give cocktails a great texture, which is so crucial in the winter months,” says Samantha Safer of Brooklyn’s Otway. “Ginger is one of our favorite ingredients behind the bar because it complements most spirits and adds complexity while remaining fresh and not sweet.” The libation is finished with bitters and a skewer of brandied cherries, and we suggest sipping it by the fire while dreaming up your next tropical getaway.
Not only is beet juice unbelievably healthy, but its sweet-savory flavor makes it an ideal base for cocktails. At newly reopened NYC bar Ward III, head bartender Sarah Akromas spikes the deep purple juice with mezcal, Pimms, and tangy fresh ginger and lemon juices for a libation that’s unbelievably refreshing. “I chose mezcal for its tropical and salty notes, which makes this drink perfect for any season,” she says. The drink is topped with ginger beer for extra sweetness and spice. Serve it during cocktail hour at a dinner party or anytime you need a quick pick-me-up.