Detoxify Your Cocktail Menu

Image: The Punch Room's Fiesta Punch, which features kombucha, beet ginger, and cilantro  ( The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte)

Cleaner living has obviously gone way past being a mere fad or trend. Living healthy is a way of life with its own fads, trends and economy. Bar owners and operators know that it takes more than just domestic light beers and light-calorie mixers to attract today’s health-conscious consumers to their establishments.

What can be more difficult to get a handle on is what healthy cocktail trends operators should try at their bars. We’ve discussed garden-to-glass programs in terms of viability and execution, but what else is exciting and worthwhile to today’s consumers that will help build your bottom line? Melissa Davis-Taylor, founder of Liquor Lady, believes one hot and healthy trend that will make both you and your guests happy is a detoxified (and detoxifying) cocktail menu.

House-made any- and everything has become an incredibly popular way to elevate any cocktail program. You can leverage the popularity of making your own mixers while also taking advantage of the desire for healthier ingredients and products by juicing fruits and vegetables in house. People, particularly the younger demographics, appreciate knowing the source of a venue’s ingredients. Juicing affords you the opportunity to share that information with your guests.

You’ll want a juicer to make juicing more convenient, and that means choosing what type you think will work best for your bar and employees. The four types of juicers you’ll want to consider are centrifugal, twin gear, masticating, and hydraulic press.

Centrifugal juicers are the most readily available and are commonly the most affordable electric juicers. They use a cutting blade to chop up whatever you’re looking to juice and then use centrifugal force to spin it at high speed. This type of juicer tends to be faster than other types of electric juicers and are usually easy to use and clean. However, they’re less efficient than twin gear juicers.

The twin gear type of juicer is widely considered to be the top of the range when it comes to juicing. As you’ve probably worked out already, twin gear juicers use two interlocked gears that rotate inward toward one another to crush produce and extract juice. There are several reasons this type of juicer is considered the best of the best. The low speed at which they operate produces no heat, they meticulously extract juice, prevent oxidation, preserve the maximum amount of nutrients, and they don’t produce any foam. Another benefit of twin gear juicing is the ability to juice just about anything, including leafy greens. The downside is the big price tag that accompanies twin gear juicers.

Hydraulic press juicers produce high quality juices by way of a two-stage process. Stage one is turning produce into pulp. Stage two is hydraulic pressure to extract juice, nutrients, enzymes and everything else healthy that produce contains. Use a hydraulic press juicer and you will produce more juice than you would with any other type. The reason twin gear juicers are considered the Cadillacs of the juicing world is that they’re better known than hydraulic presses. Of course, another reason may be the fact that they command prices even higher than twin gear juicers.

Finally, there are the masticating juicers. These are also referred to as slow juicers, and they utilize a single gear to crush produce and produce pulp. The result is a high yield of juice that may take longer than other juicers to produce but isn’t warm, foamy or oxidized. The drawback, clearly, is that these juicers are not fast.

Juice isn’t the only liquid mixer that can produce detoxified cocktails. Tea is already hot on the cocktail scene and speaks to both health-focused and adventurous guests. A stroll down the tea aisle of a grocery store or a visit to a specialty tea store reveals that there is an immense variety of tea available but there are four basic types of tea: black, green, oolong and white.

Black tea is a relatively common, and many breakfast teas and the well-known Darjeeling are varieties or flavors of this type of tea. The flavor profile is full and bold, with fruity, smoky, earthy and malty varieties available. While you’ll have to decide whether or not you believe it, black teas are thought to help with cholesterol and digestion and prevent tooth decay.

Green teas are often light and refreshing, with earthy or grassy characteristics. They also range in flavor from sweet to bitter, so you’ll have plenty of green varieties with which to experiment. Some believe that green tea fights cancer, high cholesterol, and arthritis, and that it boosts the immune system.

Oolong is commonly described as being in between black and green teas in terms of process, flavor and strength. It is thought that this type of tea cleanses the body, aids in digestion, and helps control weight.

White tea used to be much more difficult to find in the United States. The tea is described most often as having a smooth, sweet flavor, and many who seek it out believe it’s the healthiest type of tea. As far as health benefits, it’s believed that white tea boosts the immune system and has a high amount of anti-oxidants.

Beyond juice and tea, nut milk, aquafaba and turmeric are other ingredients you can use to build cocktails that have healthy, detoxifying qualities. Nut milk can be made rather simply in house, and some of the many benefits are the lack of cholesterol or lactose. You can use aquafaba (literally “water bean”) as a substitute for egg whites in cocktails. Turmeric, as some of you know, is a spice used in curry. It’s also used in ballpark mustard to give it that bright yellow appearance. As far as health benefits, turmeric has long been used as a powerful but safe anti-inflammatory.

Leveraging consumer interest in healthier living, healthier eating and healthier drinking can lead to a healthier bottom line for operators.

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