Lifestyle | 29 Feb 2020 | By Sun International
The health benefits of cocktails
Yes, you read that right: you can drink to and for your health with a cocktail! While alcohol has its downside, if you choose wisely, your next cocktail may boost your wellbeing.
Here’s why… Shaken or stirred, you wouldn’t normally associate cocktails with being hale and hearty. A hangover, possibly, but good health isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you see a bartender swinging those mixers. Maybe you should reconsider.
Mixers are often the number-one culprit when it comes to enlarging your waistline. But the right one can be good for you. Tonic water, for example, contains malaria-fighting quinine. In fact, that gin and tonic (G&T) you crave on a sweltering day is a British army invention devised to encourage troops to take their meds during the Indian conquest in the 1600s. To make the bitter tonic more palatable, they added citrus fruits and other botanicals.
Another good mixer ingredient is ginger, known for its anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and B, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Phew!
Try This: Ask our barmen at Union Bar to experiment with mixers to create a magic cocktail that packs a healthy punch.
Bitters is an alcoholic flavouring agent made from seeds, herbs, roots, and/or flowers. They’re used to spice up a cocktail. Many well-known brands, such as Angostura Bitters, were coveted for their medicinal properties – so the belief that bitters can be beneficial for your health is not far-fetched. Bitters can help with digestion, curb sugar cravings, boost your immune system and even ease stress.
Try This: A Smokey Rose, made with bourbon, Musgrave pink gin, and pineapple and lime juices, finished with aromatic bitters and a pineapple slice.
A side of salad
What’s a “gin salad”? The herbs, berries, and spices like nutmeg and lemongrass that are added to many gin-based cocktails have many health benefits. For example, a sprig of rosemary often used in a G&T is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. The herb has also been used to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, and boost the immune system. To reap the full benefits, ask your barman to lightly crush a sprig before putting it in your drink.
Fresh fruit and citrus peels are also great cocktail additions. They’re rich in polyphenols, which are stuffed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. In fact, just 1 tablespoon (6g) of orange peel provides 14% of your daily value of vitamin C — nearly 3 times more than the flesh of a single fruit!
Try This: A classic Bloody Mary, garnished with fresh mint leaves.
Cocktails may have health benefits, but be sure to choose wisely. Mixed drinks that use fresh fruit and herbs and don’t contain added sugar are the way to go. Drink a glass of water in-between cocktails to avoid dehydration and that dreaded hangover.
Here’s to your health at The Table Bay Hotel
Test, taste, and explore innovative cocktails at The Table Bay hotel during SA cocktail week from 29 February to 7 March. From the Union Bar, Lounge and Lounge Terrace, you can savour sweeping views of the V&A Waterfront, the harbour and Table Mountain, while enjoying special cocktails. From 17h00 to 19h00, a complimentary selection of chef’s canapés will be served with every cocktail.