The 21 Guidelines to Tasty Cocktails and What to Avoid
We’ve all been there. Those dreaded hangovers after a night out, and you just know it’s because you had not one, not two, not even three…but an endless amount of cocktails! But did you know you can avoid The Fear by knowing what cocktails not to order and which are the best for the morning after? Here are 21 tips to our fool proof guideline for your next night out, and of the tasty cocktails to ask your bartender to whip up!
#1 Hell No Marijuana!
This might seem a bit extreme to mention, but if you see marijuana as an ingredient in any cocktail anywhere – avoid it! It may be a controlled substance in some countries, but it’s still totally illegal to be sold in bars. That said, you may come across CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabis compound) that might seem ‘cool’ to include in a cocktail – but its potency is undetermined and no bartender will know exactly how much they’re administering. It’s dangerous and illegal so stay away.
Photo: Esther Tseng/The Times
#2 Eat a Hearty Meal Beforehand
It really should go without saying, but if you know you’re heading out for the night then you have got to get a good dinner into you! A hearty meal will help you in the long course of the night, not only soaking up your alcohol but also for processing the nasty byproducts of your drink. Red meat is best for this as it has a high concentration of amino acids and B vitamins, so order a burger or lasagna, and don’t forget the carbs!
#3 Slow It Down
Some of your mates might be able to chug their pint but if you’re on cocktails, wine, bubbly…actually if you’re drinking anything alcoholic; take your time. If you’re particularly thirsty, order water with your drink and sip on that instead.
#4 Tonic Water from the Bottle
If you’re a lover of the classic G&T then ensure your T is only coming from a bottle or a can. In general, tonic water should only be served in closed form as a homemade version can be extremely dangerous! The main flavouring agent of tonic is quinine, which is an ancient anti-malaria drug. And most of us don’t need this in our glass. Cinchonism (quinine overdose) is harmful to you and your body, and according to the NIH, it can also cause rashes, ringing of the ears or even blindness!
Photo: Sachin Powle/Schweppes
#5 Clear Spirits Are Top Notch
If you want fewer toxins and impurities in your system, then opt for cocktails that use vodka, white rum or gin, rather than whiskey or dark rum.
#6 Fresh Fruits Are Your Friends
Not only are cocktails more refreshing and tasty when made with fresh fruit or not from concentrate juice, they contain more vitamins than any fizzy pop.
#7 Opt for Ice
Although many of us may not like when our cocktail is loaded with ice, it’s actually healthier for us. You’ll technically be ingesting less alcohol, because the bartender only filled it to a certain level to make room for said ice, but also your drink will water down that little bit making more refreshing & hydrating.
#8 Bees to the Rescue
If you see a cocktail made with honey instead of a typical syrup – order it! We all know how honey has an insane amount of great healthy antioxidants, but it also will be a healthy sweetener than any syrup.
Photo: The Kitchy Kitchen
#9 Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots…!
Actually, just stick to the one shot. We tend to go OTT when we’re in a big group and buy rounds of shots, but in fact you should only have the one because that one shot is so strong and so quickly consumed that you’ll definitely feel the effects of it in the morning if you’re having multiple shots AND multiple cocktails or wine or beer, etc.
Photo: Lum Dim Sum
#10 Know Your Glasses
Every bar menu should come with an illustration of the glass your cocktail will be served in. Size matters when you’re drinking a specific type of alcohol, so never accept a martini in a tumbler glass or a whiskey sour in a wine glass. Get it? Good!
Photo: Drinks Recipes
#11 Splurge a Little!
This might sound a bit daft, but when you purchase a more expensive drink or branded alcohol, you’re more likely to drink it slowly to savour it. Smart drunky!
#12 Say Yes to Green Cocktails
If you’re lucky enough to find a bar that serves up healthy ingredients in your cocktail with a splash of good quality alcohol, then you’re onto a winner. Hard to find but definitely good for your body, if a cocktail includes cucumber, celery stalks, lettuce, fresh ginger, or green apples you should totally jump on it!
#13 Shaken, Not Stirred
Take a leaf from James Bond’s book and order a dry martini. It’s a clean drink with a lemon twist. Though delicious, you should only allow one of these per occasion.
Photo: MGM/Everett Collection
#14 Let Dry Ice Do Its Thing
Sometimes bars want to create a theatrical effect to their drinks, and who are we to blame them for wanting to give us a good show? That said, if your drink is being served up with dry ice for that mysterious foggy finish, allow it to completely evaporate before drinking. Intaking liquid nitrogen or dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) can be extremely harmful for your gastrointestinal tract, by causing frostbite or cryogenic burns to your stomach.
#15 Let the Flames Burn Off
Similarly, if your drink was put on fire for fun, let it completely burn off before taking a sip. If you have to, blow on it and give it a good stir because surely you don’t want to burn your insides and perforating any organ linings.
#16 Benefit from Beneficial Ingredients
The health buzz can continue after hours, by choosing cocktails with good ingredients. Ginger, green tea, lemon & lime, coffee and the aforementioned honey are all factors of cocktails to look out for that will taste and feel good. Though caffeine drinks should be more limited unless you’re doubling up with water.
Photo: Luci’s Morsels
#17 Choose Fresh Mojitos
Mojitos are one of the most classic of cocktails, and they should only ever be made freshly. Avoid any pre-made mixes or those coming from taps.
#18 Seltzer Water
When ordering a drink, opt for seltzer water instead of club soda to eliminate added sodium and other additives.
Photo: Spiked Seltzer
#19 Ask for Cranberry Juice
As mentioned, fresh fruit juice that’s not made from concentrate is best. And of those, cranberry juice is king due to its healthy benefits (UTIs be gone!) as well as adding colour, sweetness but giving a crisp finish too.
#20 If You Like Piña Coladas
Although this cocktail is eponymous of sunny holidays and sandy beaches, the Piña Colada is usually loaded with calories. If you can avoid them, do. But if you still want that tropical kick, then opt for one made with light coconut milk not cream, fresh fruit not juice, white rum and ice.
#21 Minty Madness
Herbs are also a great addition to cocktails, which also should be fresh. Mint cocktails with vodka, bourbon or white rum are easily the best to opt for. The herb is not only a great palate cleanser but is a quick and effective remedy for nausea, so you should be grand in the morning!