With Christmastime calorie counting in the rearview mirror, it’s time to ring in the New Year with some liquid cheer!

Let’s talk turkey. Part of the art of mindful mixology is concocting crafted cocktails that — in moderation — are mostly mindful for the body and soul. That’s why I always use freshly squeezed citrus juice as opposed to any fructoseinfused mixer you can buy in a plastic bottle; sometimes the old ways are the best ways. And not for nothing, but low-sugar ingredients result in lower-caliber hangovers, trust me.

There’s enough of the sweet stuff in most snacks to spike your blood sugar by 8 am, so why not take it easy in that department as your night winds down? Many cocktails are loaded with unhealthy sugars — especially when prepared with the wrong (read: not fresh) ingredients.

It’s always healthier to get your sugar from natural sources whenever you can. That’s why fresh berries, honey, agave syrup, and maple syrup can all be found as organic sweeteners in the recipes below. And while ginger beer is known for being super sugary (often to the tune of 30g or more per serving), this is one of my favorite bartending ingredients to have on hand; there are plenty of low-sugar options if you know where to look. Fever-Tree’s Refreshingly Light Ginger Beer, for example, only has 9.6g of sugar per 8 oz. bottle, and you only need to use a few ounces per drink. Reed’s, Brooklyn Crafted, and Barritts all make low- or no-sugar ginger beer, too.

Bonus Tip: Always look for sediment in the bottle so you know it’s made from actual ginger, and not just ginger flavoring.

No low-sugar options nearby? No worries! Even the sweetest of ginger beers (or ginger ales) can be diluted with a little club soda, which is why you’ll find both ingredients in this recipe


Very Berry Thyme

  • 3 ounces green tea
  • 0.5 ounce maple syrup
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4 blackberries/strawberries/blueberries/cranberries
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • club soda (or ginger beer), to top
  • garnish: thyme sprig, berries, lemon wheel

Thoroughly muddle the mint, lemon slices, and berries of choice in a cocktail
shaker. Add the tea, maple syrup, and bitters; fill the shaker nearly to the top
with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds; double strain over clean ice
into a double rocks glass; top with club soda and/or ginger beer to taste.
Add the garnishes.

  • Note: bitters do contain a little alcohol, but since you’re only using a few
    drops at a time for flavoring, the amount is mostly negligible from a
    physiological perspective.

TJ Fink is a wellness-focused mixologist based in Brooklyn, New York / @the.Artisanal.Alchemist / theartisanalalchemist.com