Spirits in the Material World

Alex Ott's new cocktail guide may heal what ails you

Alex Ott's new book, Dr. Cocktail, gives new meaning to "drinking to your health."

The noted mixologist and organic chemist has developed cocktail menus for countless restaurants, and even consults with NASA. His new recipe collection ($17) takes a homeopathic approach to making drinks.

Ott's thinking? Rather than immediately turning to the pharmaceutical industry, people should use food and spices to help alleviate everything from low energy to stress to memory loss. And because alcohol has been around for a long time–and can be a mood stimulant–he sees nothing wrong with ingesting it responsibly.

Each of Ott's recipes contains a description of its "active ingredients." In the Gas Panic (see the recipe), a vodka concoction we tested, the special addition is green tea, rich with caffeine and theobromine.

Consider the cocktail a more natural alternative to a store-bought energy drink, without the artificial flavorings or jitters. Sweetness from mango nectar and tartness from fresh lemon juice create a smooth libation that is almost too easy to drink.

Almost.