By using the right substitutes for sugar and other ingredients, you can rustle up a guilt-free glass of your favourite cocktail.
People are becoming more health conscious these days, which is why sugar free cocktails have gained a lot of popularity. The best way to consume these without feeling guilty is to sip in moderation. There are also many low-carb options out there for dieters who like to drink.
When cocktails were first born, sugar was a major trade item and in some places considered a luxury. Today, for good reason, people are concerned with what they are putting in their bodies and have started using some healthier alternatives to sugar. One of the best alternatives is Stevia, a plant-based herb with leaves that have a sweetness that is 30-45 times the sweetness of sugar. Another good alternative is honey. However, honey is a bit thick for a cocktail and even thicker when cooled with the cocktail’s ice, therefore, honey can be used for classic cocktails like Hot Toddy. One of the most cost efficient substitutes to sugar is a sugar free sweetener. The other alternative to sugar is Agave nectar. The nectar is taken directly from Blue Agave plant and has come into the cocktail scene very strongly.
One can also opt for healthier options of Mojito, Caipirinha and Caipiroska. Mojito (rum, mint, and lime wedges) with sugar free. Caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail, is made with cachaça, sugar and lime. Using a substitute to sugar, this drink can be made without hampering the real taste. Caipiroska is a form of Caipirinha prepared with vodka instead of the usual cachaça. It is also sometimes known as Caipivodka and Caipirodka.
It is also important to choose the right alcohol base to make your drink healthy. One of the best alcohol base for a sugar free cocktail is tequila. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant. Apart from being low on carbs, tequila can aid in digestion, lower cholesterol and help in weight loss as well.
Rum can also serve as a healthy base for a cocktail. Rum is made from sugar cane juice or its by-product called molasses. Distilled vodka and gin could also pair well with sugar free cocktails.
One common myth is that fruit juices for cocktails are healthier than soft drinks. One does not realise how much sugar they are consuming while drinking fruit juices. And even if they do, people are generally under the misconception that the sugar in fruit juice is healthier than the sugar in soft drinks. Although fruit juice might contain a few more vitamins than commercial soft drinks, the truth is fruit juice is loaded with the same unhealthy sugar and carbohydrates found in soda pop.
Also, while sugar free drinks may be a healthier option for many, however, drinks with no sugar can get you drunk faster. The best way to retain the taste and yet make the drink potent is getting the balance right. If you're drinking sugar free drinks they should be dry, crisp and clean.
Suren Joshi is the owner of Su Casa, Mumbai