8 Healthy Cocktail Recipes that Are the Closest You’ll Get to a Juice Cleanse this Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to imbibe (spiked eggnog, anyone?), but it doesn’t have to mean trouble for your body. There are healthful ways to sip your way to happiness. “There are alternatives to common holiday drink recipes, which are typically loaded with sugar and calories,” says naturopathic doctor Renata Taravski, who is based in Hamilton. Your cocktail can actually have health benefits.” If that means less of a hangover, too, we’re totally game.

But are “healthier” cocktails as delicious as their mischievous cousins? According to the mix masters behind Toronto’s Rush Lane Co., which opened its doors on Queen West this past July, they definitely are. Partner Jordan Bushell and bar manager Zak Doy created eight cocktails that feature some of our favourite festive, health-promoting ingredients. What we’re trying to say is enjoy one or two, guilt-free.

Now, follow these recipes to drink to your health. Cheers!


The Pumpkin Flip

Nutritional  bonus: “Pumpkin contains beta-carotene and vitamin A, which both help your body fight infections,” says Taravski. “Plus, it’s packed with vitamin C, which may help you recover from colds faster—this means better immunity, which is especially welcome around the holiday season.”


• 2 oz Lot 40 Rye
• 1 1/4 oz pumpkin purée
• 1 oz spiced lemon juice
• 3/4 oz pumpkin Orgeat
• 1 whole egg
• Finish with cinnamon and brown sugar brûlée

Method: Combine ingredients in a shaker tin. Cover and shake without ice. Open and add ice, then shake again. Strain and discard ice, cover and shake an additional time without ice. Fine-strain cocktail into a chilled coupe. Shave fresh cinnamon and sprinkle brown sugar over the top. And if you’re a culinary whiz, using a brûlée torch, lightly brown the top of the drink. (Or if you’re not handy with flames, skip this part.)


Nelsen’s Hall

Nutritional bonus: “The maple syrup in this drink features high levels of zinc and manganese, which is good for the immune system, while the Angostura Bitters are good for digestion,” says Taravski.


• 2 oz Wild Turkey bourbon
• 1/2 oz Aperol
• 1/2 oz smoked maple syrup
• 1 oz fresh lemon juice
• 1 tbsp apricot jam
• 5 dashes Angostura Bitters

Method: Add the components of the drink to a shaker tin, add ice and shake. Add ice and fine strain the cocktail into a rocks glass.


The Apple Shrub

Nutritional bonus: “Apple cider vinegar is an amazing health tonic that supports digestion and is great for your lymphatic system.”


• 1 3/4 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
• 3 tsp Calvados
• Dash Angostura Bitters
• 3 tsp apple cider gastrique *see below for the make-ahead gastrique recipe
• Grated cinnamon, cinnamon stick and apple fan for garnish

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish.

Gastrique: Add 250 g of brown sugar to 325 ml of water and bring to a boil. Add 200 g diced gala apples and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add 250 ml of organic apple cider vinegar and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let it cool and strain into a bottle for use.


Holiday Sauce

Nutritional Bonus: “Cranberries are great! Their health benefits include lowered risk of urinary tract infection and improved immune function. I would suggest making your own cranberry sauce; it can be quick and easy, and ensures there’s no refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup or other fillers.”


• 1 1/2 oz Hennessy V.S Cognac
• 1/2 oz lemon juice
• 1 tsp cranberry sauce (heaping)
• 1 dash cranberry bitters
• 3 fresh cranberries to garnish

Method: Coat the rim of a martini or coupe glass with a mixture of equal parts cinnamon and sugar, and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a skewer of fresh cranberries.


The Green Goddess

Nutritional Bonus:  “This cocktail is brimming with healthy ingredients. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These help boost your immune system and are great for digestion.”


• 2 oz Aviation Gin
• 1 oz fresh pressed ginger
• 1 oz fresh lime juice
• 1/2 oz honey
• 5 slices of cucumber
• 8 leaves of mint
• Finish with cold celery curls and cracked black pepper

Method: Combine components in a shaker tin. Add ice, shake and fine strain in to a rocks glass. Garnish with cold celery strips and cracked black pepper.


Punch Bowl: You got what I Mead

Nutritional Bonus: This one is pretty boozy….


• 1 bottle Rosewood Harvest gold
• 5 oz Absolut Elyx Vodka
• 5 oz Disaronno
• 8 oz apple juice
• 8 oz pear juice
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 7 oz soda water to top
• Mint leaves and pear slices to garnish

Method: For best results, prepare two hours before serving. Add all ingredients except soda to a pitcher or punch bowl and stir to dissolve honey. Once dissolved, add pear slices, mint leaves and any other fruit you enjoy. Leave in fridge until ready to serve. When ready to serve, fill with ice, top with soda and enjoy.


Avocado Fizz

Nutritional bonus: “A deliciously healthy alternative to an eggnog drink, avocado is packed with good-for-you nutrients. The high fat content can help you feel full faster and longer, making it a great tool to be mindful of overeating during the holiday season. The healthy fats also help improve skin health, which is always welcome in the winter.”


• 2 oz Plymouth Gin
• 1 oz avocado purée
• 1 oz pressed ginger
• 1 oz fresh lemon
• 5 slices of cucumber
• Egg white
• Top with soda and 5 spice

Method: Combine components in a shaker tin. Cover and shake without ice. Open and add ice, shake again. Strain and discard ice, cover and shake an additional time without ice. Fine strain cocktail into a chilled Collins glass. Top with soda slowly, allowing the foam to rise above the lip of the glass. Add a pinch of five spice and serve.


The Almond Affair

Nutritional bonus: “Almond milk is high in calcium and it’s cream-like consistency and great taste is ideal for people who are vegan or dairy-free. Almond milk also had a generous dose of vitamin E, which is great for skin, too.”

• 1 oz Hennessy V.S
• 1/2 oz Amaretto
• 1 bar spoon Maraschino
• 2 oz almond milk
• Cherry for garnish

Method: Half-fill rocks glass with crushed ice, add all liquid and top up glass with more crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry and serve.