How to Make a Clean Cocktail: A Guide to Building a Better-For-You Bar

Imagine a bar where there’s always a seat available and the drinks never disappoint. There’s never a line for the bathroom, you can drink in your pajamas and everybody knows your name. Where is this magical place? If you said Cheers, you’re close. It’s your home bar – that cozy little nook where you can pour a refreshing adult beverage right in the comfort of your own home.

This sounds so on trend right now.

Whether you are planning a cocktail party, entertaining unexpected company, or just stirring up a drink to celebrate the end of a long week, having a fully stocked home bar has plenty of perks. Like being trendy and lazy at the same time? Touché.  

Did you say healthy alcoholic drink? I’m listening…

Having a bar right in your very own home may also mean frequent access to non-nutritive spirits, high-calorie mixers, and sugary sweeteners. You can avoid sabotaging your clean eating efforts and give your mixology hobby a healthy makeover by stocking your home bar with mixers and garnishes you can feel good about.

How do I make said clean cocktail?

Read on for everything you need to shake (or stir) up the cleanest cocktails on the block.

Everything you need to build a healthy bar

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THE ALCOHOL: Most spirits have roughly 100 calories per shot (1.5 oz) so forget the clichés and just pick something you like. Purchase handles of your favorites when they’re on sale, pour them into the smaller bottles and store the embarrassingly large containers in the pantry. No judgement.

THE GLASSWARE: Serve clean cocktails in their proper glassware to ensure portion control (and feel classy). Keep 2-4 of each type of glass on hand for any occasion and source them from retailers where you easily purchase replacements if (and by if, I mean when) one breaks.

THE TOOLS: The right mix of bar tools will help you measure, mix and serve clean cocktails. But you’ll need more than just a shaker and a corkscrew. From a muddler and a fruit peeler to a citrus juicer and zester, these tools will help you turn fresh fruits and vegetables into tasty adult beverages. But please don’t mistake the boozy muddled fruit at the bottom of your cocktail glass for an actual serving of fruit…

THE MIXERS: Trade sugary mixers for carbonated water and nutrient-rich 100% fruit and vegetables juices. Think: brightly-colored veggie juices like tomato, carrot, and green juice or dark antioxidant-rich cherry, blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry juices.

THE SWEETENERS: Use natural sweeteners to sweeten your clean cocktails. Or combine one of them with water and bring to a boil to make flavored simple syrups. Hold the phone, that sounds fancy. Homemade simple syrup is actually much easier to make than you might think.

THE GARNISHES: Who doesn’t want a snack in their cocktail? For an added boost, garnish clean cocktails with herbs, spices, skewered fresh fruit and pickled vegetables.

THE RECIPES: Ready to take on the clean cocktail movement in your home bar? Get inspired with recipes from one of these clean cocktail cookbooks that feature creative combinations of low-calorie spirits, fresh juices and gentle sweeteners: Clean Cocktails, Shake, and The One-Bottle Cocktail.

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