Can a cocktail ever be healthy?
Certainly, one can try to steer clear of those sumptuous, mouth-watering concoctions laced with milk and cream that call so seductively from the sluttiest reaches of the cocktail menu, and opt instead for a more chaste, juice-based medley; one can indeed swap the tongue-tickling caloric heft of tonic water for its less adventurous, “diet” cousin; and one can also try to limit one’s cocktail intake to the rare but much-enjoyed monthly treat, rather than mainlining Old Fashioneds as a matter of daily course.
But the real question is: should a cocktail ever be healthy? By nature, these coddled, complex libations are the archetype of excess – their myriad ingredients, potent bite and noble heritage pointing decidedly to treat luxurious status. Cheap they are not, and should not be. Convenient? No. But healthy? With today’s focus on eating clean, should mixologists be attempting to tone down the indulgence?
It’s a struggle Pierre-Marie Bisson of London’s cocktail and dessert emporium Basement Sate knows only too well. “I wanted to make a healthy drink,” he explains of his creation, the Jessica Rabbit: a peppy, zingy number charged with healthful citrus and eye-brightening carrots.
“Then I added golden syrup and healthy went out the window. So damn tasty became the main focus instead.” A man after our own hearts. Screw healthy – let’s drink.
“The soft botanicals in Beefeater gin work beautifully with the delicate carrot and elderflower flavours in the drink,” assures Bisson. “The delicate flavours really come out when it’s ice cold.”
“It really is the perfect summer cocktail,” explains Bisson. “It’s long, refreshing and after a few, you can convince yourself that it’s one of your five a day.”
So remember what Mrs Rabbit herself said: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”
Jessica Rabbit (Serves 2)
30ml lime juice
30ml lemon juice
60ml carrot juice
40ml golden syrup
20ml elderflower cordial
90ml Beefeater gin
Chilled highball glass
A few julienned carrot sticks, to serve
“We use Bottle Green elderflower cordial. It has the best taste and lasts well. Beefeater gin works really well here, but you could easily substitute it for any neutral London dry style gins, such as Broker’s or Bombay Dry.”
- Add the lemon, lime and carrot juice, syrup, cordial and gin to a cocktail shaker and shake well until fully combined.
- Add the crushed ice to a highball glass.
- Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
- Add the julienned carrots and serve.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“Drink it outdoors! But make sure it stays as cold as possible. When the cocktail starts to warm, the delicate flavours don’t come through as clearly.”