The Rise of Medicinal Mixology: Cocktails that Treat 5 Symptoms

Increasingly, high-end cocktail lounges are making drinks with active ingredients. Meet you at the bar-macy. "We're serving cocktails that allow the well-heeled crowd to ingest medicinal ingredients in ways they like," says mixologist Neal Bodenheimer, co-owner of the aptly named Cure in New Orleans.

Photograph by Adam Voorhes

"We're serving cocktails that allow the well-heeled crowd to ingest medicinal ingredients in ways they like," says mixologist Neal Bodenheimer, co-owner of the aptly named Cure in New Orleans. A 2010 University of Texas study showed that one to two drinks a day could increase longevity, and infusing them with curative ingredients can improve immunity and alleviate many ailments, says Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ready to retire the hot toddy?

1. Beat a cold

The Drink: Farmer's Daughter from Teardrop Cocktail Lounge, Portland, Oregon

The Cure: Goldenseal extract, which Native Americans used to treat digestive ailments and skin problems, has anti-inflammatory properties that may improve immunity and digestive function and help curb cold symptoms.

The Ingredients

1 oz Banks 5 Island Rum

3/4 oz Plymouth Gin

1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Originale Liqueur

1 tsp cane-sugar syrup

6 to 8 drops Herb Pharm Goldenseal Extract

Combine ingredients in a rocks glass over ice and stir for 30 seconds. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

2. Lower blood pressure

The Drink: Sur la Mer from Pour Vous, Los Angeles

The Cure: This reimagined daiquiri contains E3Live algae, which may reduce blood pressure and promote energy, focus, and immunity.

The Ingredients

1 pinch of Lime Fresco salt

1/4 oz algae thawed at room temperature (try E3Live)

1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 oz evaporated cane syrup

2 oz Plantation 3 Stars Rum

Combine ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

3. Fight the flu

The Drink: The End Is Nigh from Cure, New Orleans

The Cure: While Varnelli Amaro Sibilla is no longer used as an antimalarial drug, its high concentrations of gentian, a bitter herb, and quinine, an alkaloid found naturally in cinchona-tree bark, may still reduce fever, curb pain, and ease digestion.

The Ingredients

11/2 oz Rittenhouse bonded rye

1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina aperitif wine

1/4 oz Varnelli Amaro Sibilla

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir 40 revolutions and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

4. Avoid impotence

The Drink: Johnny Utah from Polite Provisions, San Diego

The Cure: The tiny celery seeds in this paloma-like drink reportedly improve erectile function, and they've been shown to possibly decrease cholesterol and blood pressure in animal studies.

The Ingredients

2 oz Olmeca Altos Tequila Blanco

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 oz celery-seed syrup (Boil 2 cups water. Remove from heat and add 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup celery seeds. Allow to cool and strain.)

1 dash of Scrappy's Celery Bitters

1 pinch of salt

1 oz soda water

Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain into a double-old-fashioned glass over ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.

5. Relieve stress

The Drink: Bees Knees from Apothèke, New York City

The Cure: With a generous supply of amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins, the bee pollen in this drink may suppress your appetite, increase your energy, and help you decompress.

The Ingredients

2 oz Aylesbury Duck Vodka

2 dashes of Green Hour Immunity Tincture

1/2 tsp bee pollen

1 oz pink-guava juice

1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of guava and a pinch of bee pollen.

—K. Aleisha Fetters

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