How To Make Hydrating Cocktails

Restorative ingredients could take the edge off that hangover

After a night of heavy partying, smart drinkers usually chug water before they go to bed in an effort to prevent a debilitating hangover the next day. Even smarter ones consume water as they go along, switching off between the good and the bad. But while these practices are astute, they're also boring. Luckily, there's now a fun way to preventively bust that hangover: hydrating cocktails.

Across the country, bars, restaurants and party planners are including hydrating cocktails on their menus, helping patrons become healthier as they drink. In general, these concoctions include ingredients that help the body work better—even while alcohol hurts it. "A healthy cocktail is a balance of good and evil," Kevin D'Antonio, the director of food and beverage at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, says. "Obviously, alcohol is a dehydrating toxin, and our bodies work hard to process and break it down. But bumping up what is mixed with the spirit can assist at the same time."

The bars at D'Antonio's hotel offer cocktails made with ingredients that serve the body well. Fresh lemon and lime juices go a long way. So does aloe vera, natural coconut juice or water, and vegetable juice from root veggies high in vitamins like carrots and beets. His favorite cocktail, for instance, is A Beet Up Mule: beet juice (great for purifying the blood and liver), lime juice (a shot of vitamin C to boost the immune system), ginger (helps with blood flow and digestion) and Veev (an antioxidant-rich acai liquor). In fall, D'Antonio serves a healthy spin on a Bloody Mary, complete with carrots, golden beets and cucumbers. 

Making hydrating cocktails at home is easy; just add tequila or mescal to cold-pressed juices. Or combine cracked coconut, which has natural electrolytes, and rum. Savvier drink makers should experiment using seasonal, locally grown ingredients, which tend to retain more of their vitamins and nutrients than those flown in from afar. And be sure to manage your proportions; use more of the hydrating ingredients than the dehydrating ones (duh).

Adding on to the "liquor before beer, you're in the clear" adage, here's another tip: Start off the night with hydrating cocktails. "If you're drinking a healthy cocktail at the end of your night, it's probably too late," D'Antonio says. "Instead, grab a cold-pressed juice in the morning, then think about how vodka or gin might pair with it for your next dinner party."