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We love sweet, refreshing cocktails as much as the next person, but wow do they lead to the worst hangovers of all time. Pairing that much inflammatory-causing sugar with dehydrating alcohol is just a recipe for disaster — especially when one glass leads to another (and maybe another). But we don’t have to stick to seltzer water for the rest of our lives, compromising the flavors we love, to avoid making our hangovers worse than they have to be.
Below are three new styles of cocktail mixers we have a feeling will take off in 2018. They are the perfect swaps for the sweet mixers we crave most — cutting sugar, adding nutrients and even boosting the flavor profile of our favorite cocktails.
For our taste tests, we kept the recipes simple to see just how much the mixers mattered. We combined each option with white rum since it’s a naturally sweeter (and less harsh) alcohol that goes with almost any mixer out there. And after sipping one part rum and three parts mixers of multiple flavors, these drinks are the clear winners.
Love tropical choices like piña coladas? Try coconut water.
It’s time to trade those sugar-laden frozen drinks for something just as refreshing and far better for your body. We tried four different flavors of coconut water and deemed Vita Coco’s Coconut Water Lemonade the clear victor as a standalone mixer. It creates perfectly balanced spiked tropical lemonade vibes with an added boost of hydration and antioxidants. And 4.5 ounces of the coconut water (the amount needed for a single cocktail) has less than 40 calories and just over 8 grams of natural sugar. Not too shabby at all.
Love the fizzy, sweet effect of Coca-Cola? Try organic soda.
Gone are the days of rum ‘n’ Coke — there’s a new kid in town called Sipp and his sodas are organic, naturally sweetened and come in super creative flavor combinations. We especially loved blending rum with Sipp’s Ginger Blossom flavor, which is a crafty blend of spicy ginger, smooth vanilla and lime. It gives off all the vibes of a Moscow Mule without all of the sugar and calories. A 4.5-ounce serving of the soda brings in about 38 calories and less than 8 grams of sugar. Get that copper mug ready!
Love how OJ tames the flavor of alcohol? Try raw juice blends.
All the added sugar of orange juice is no competition for the bold flavors of raw fruit and veggie juice blends. RAW Generation has some particularly crafty combinations that nourish your body by day and healthify your cocktails by night. Our favorite blend for creating a refreshing adult beverage is the Heal & Hydrate, which includes cucumber, pineapple and aloe vera. You can sense all the cucumber and none of the rum, making it incredibly easy to drink. Plus, 4.5 ounces has less than 38 calories and just over 8 grams of sugar.
And our runner-up is one of the greenest juices RAW offers — Refresh & Revitalize, which blends green apple, cucumber, spinach, celery and lemon. You’ll definitely feel like the healthiest girl at the party with this mixer. And a 4.5-ounce serving has less than 38 calories and a measly 5 grams of sugar. Green juice is clearly where it’s at.
By Alena Hall