Photos by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
Jessicarobyn Keyser

Green Juice, But Make It Boozy

by 
Brooke Siem
July 28, 2021

Why is it that cocktails are loaded with so much simple syrup that even the sours are sweet? 

I brushed the thought off in pre-pandemic years when going to a bar for a drink was as easy as getting gas. But when the pandemic rendered me the bartender and my kitchen the bar, I gathered up all the booze, bought the fancy cocktail set, and began shaking and stirring and infusing syrups in my own home. Ginger simple syrup for Penicillins! Raspberry simple syrup for Clover Clubs! I sipped on the resulting concoctions with glee, my insulin spiking with each slurp. 

But one can only go through so many bags of white sugar before wondering about more health-conscious fare. So I switched to dirty martinis, an aggressive swap that satisfied my itch for a savory sip but also did a number on my blood alcohol levels. Though I drank daily during the pandemic, I never once got rip roarin’ drunk. Instead, I maintained a happy balance of tipsy productivity, just buzzed enough to take the edge of the global disaster while also keeping hangovers in check. It was going just dandy until the martinis. 

So, I set out on a quest to create a savory cocktail that’s actually good for you; an oasis in a glass both buzzy and hydrating.

No items found.

I started with hangover prevention. If hangovers are the primary result of dehydration, I figured I should pump the cocktail full of water and electrolytes. Gatorade isn’t craft cocktail worthy, so I opted for coconut water instead. And although the science is iffy on whether or not vitamins play a role in preventing hangovers, I figured it couldn’t hurt to pump the drink with the goodness found in veggies. Thus, Boozy Green Juice was born!

I began with the usual green juice culprits: leafy kale, a few ribs of celery, some cucumber, lemon, and half a green apple for a touch of natural sweetness. The juice itself was delicious, but when mixed with booze, I couldn’t get over the feeling of sipping a vodka salad. The drink begged for sugar, not just for sweetness to balance out the acidity, but to add a full mouthfeel. The concoction simply fell flat without it. 

I settled on adding just a teaspoon of agave syrup to counter the sour notes, but I refused to believe that there wasn’t some way around the mouthfeel predicament. The drink needed a hit of something that would create depth without muddying the refreshing flavors, in the way a little vanilla extract enhances baked goods without being overly vanilla...

...vanilla!

I splashed it into my drink. One sip, and I knew I was on the right track. No longer was the cocktail thin and acrid. The vanilla gave the green juice a foundation to rest upon and bulked up the mouthfeel. Still, it was missing something, so I skipped out into the Nevada desert and snipped some wild lavender. Simply crushing a few lavender pods into the shaker gently complemented the vanilla, and garnishing the cocktail with lavender sprigs created a gentle floral aroma that completed the craft cocktail experience — all with only a few grams of added sugar.

Boozy Green Juice

Prep time: 10 minutes
 | 
 | 
Makes 3-4 cocktails

Ingredients

For the green juice

3 leaves of curly kale, roughly chopped

1 handful/1 oz Fifth Season spinach

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 granny smith apple, roughly chopped

A splash of coconut water, if needed


For the cocktail

3 oz vodka

4 oz green juice

1/2 oz lemon juice

5 oz coconut water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 oz (1 tbsp) agave syrup

2 tsps lavender pods

Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Prep time: 10 minutes
 | 
 | 
Makes 3-4 cocktails

Ingredients

For the green juice

3 leaves of curly kale, roughly chopped

1 handful/1 oz Fifth Season spinach

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 granny smith apple, roughly chopped

A splash of coconut water, if needed


For the cocktail

3 oz vodka

4 oz green juice

1/2 oz lemon juice

5 oz coconut water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 oz (1 tbsp) agave syrup

2 tsps lavender pods

Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Ingredients

For the green juice

3 leaves of curly kale, roughly chopped

1 handful/1 oz Fifth Season spinach

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 granny smith apple, roughly chopped

A splash of coconut water, if needed


For the cocktail

3 oz vodka

4 oz green juice

1/2 oz lemon juice

5 oz coconut water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 oz (1 tbsp) agave syrup

2 tsps lavender pods

Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Directions

For the green juice:

If using a juicer, juice all the green juice ingredients except the coconut water and set the juice aside. If using a blender, add all the ingredients along with a splash of coconut water to get the blender moving. Blend on high, adding more coconut water as needed, until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Strain the mix into a bowl, using a spatula or spoon to help drain out all the juice. Discard the pulp or save it for another use.

For the cocktail:

In a pitcher or large container, combine the vodka, green juice, lemon juice, coconut water, vanilla extract, and agave syrup. Rub the lavender flowers through your fingers to release some of the aroma and add them to the container. Stir with a generous amount of ice, then pour over rocks. Straining the lavender is optional. Garnish with a lavender sprig and serve.

About the Author

Brooke Siem

Browse Additional Recipes

These Greens and Beans Make Me Feel Like a Member of The Buffalo Mob

by 
Kiki Dy
Read More

I Stole This Spinach Salad

by 
Elise Seyfried
Read More

When a Salad With Boiled Potato Is Not Potato Salad

by 
Elise Seyfried
Read More