At first glance, it might seem odd – who wants to drink vegetables and booze together? Wait…of course, there’s the Bloody Mary! However, there are many more vegetable juices that can be combined with alcohol to create delicious drinks that will impress your friends and family.
Liquor with healthy juice is a perfect substitution for sugary mixed drinks. Vegetables are delicious and easy to incorporate into your favorite mixed drinks.
Even if you’re having a night in, these juices will bring a zesty change – and will be much healthier than wine or beer. Cocktails are a fun and refreshing way to get in your vegetables while still having a great time.
Take a look at the origin of veggie cocktails, and then create your own homemade vegetable juice cocktails with 6 delicious recipes!
The History of Classic Vegetable Juice Cocktails
You don’t always have to throw vegetables into a salad (boring!). Veggies have been added to classic cocktails for centuries. Take a looks at the most popular libations that practically every bar will serve on the menu (or if you ask for it).
The best-known vegetable juice cocktail is the Bloody Mary. Classically, this drink is made with:
While it was invented in the 1920’s or 1930’s, the origin of this tomato juice cocktail is unclear. The claim of the Bloody Mary lies with Fernand Petiot, who says he created it in 1921 while bartending in Paris. Petiot claims the drink only consisted of vodka and tomato juice originally. Many other bartenders and bars from the era claim to be the creators of the drink, but Petiot’s claim is the earliest.
The name Bloody Mary is generally associated with Queen Mary I of England, but could also be traced to Mary Pickford, a Hollywood Starlet. It could also be a reference to the Russian vodka originally used to prepare it.
Bloody Marys are most frequently consumed during brunch or as a hangover cure. The fresh vegetables and salt restore electrolytes and settle the stomach after a long night of drinking.
Best known for its appearance at the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep is a mixed drink containing:
- Fresh mint
The Mint Julep is usually associated with the American South, both because of the Derby and its bourbon base. The drink is simple to make and has a long, varied history in the Southern United States.
The drink was originally described in 1784 in various literature as a way to soothe a stomach ache. During the 17- and 1800’s, the julep has two forms, made with either bourbon or gin.
Since 1938, the julep has been associated with the Kentucky Derby. This is because of a contract arrangement between corporations and the Derby, naming the julep the official drink of the Derby. The julep’s popularity has only increased since then, as it has remained the official drink, and many other bars and restaurants in the South serve it as a menu item.
The martini is a classic cocktail known around the world. Served in a distinctive cocktail glass, a classic dirty martini consists of:
- Olive juice
A regular martini would consist of this combination, without the olive juice. The olive juice dulls the clarity of the gin and vermouth, thus giving it the “dirty” moniker. It can also be made with vodka, but classic is with gin.
As is common with cocktails, the origins of this drink are not known for certain. The name is thought to come from an Italian vermouth, also called Martini. Recipes first started appearing in the late 19th century, consisting of gin and vermouth. The martini saw a rise in popularity during the American Prohibition, since gin was relatively easy to illegally make. After the end of the Prohibition, better gin only increased the martini’s popularity.
6 Mouthwatering Vegetable Juice Cocktail Recipes
Think vegetable cocktails need an update? So do we. Check out six of our favorite updated vegetable juice cocktail recipes.
1. Gin Rocket
This cocktail created by Kate Bolton, a Portland-area bartender, is a spicy and delicious change from your average gin and tonic. The drink gets its light green color from arugula and fennel, which gives this drink its distinctive peppery flavor.
- 2 oz. gin
- ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, fronds on side
- ¼ cup packed arugula leaves
- ¾ oz. simple syrup
To create this cocktail, thinly slice a fennel bulb. Add a few fennel fronds and arugula leaves to a shaker. Combine with lime juice and simple syrup and muddle. When finished, add gin and ice. Shake vigorously. Serve in a martini glass and garnish with an arugula sprig and a slice of fresh lime.
Why it’s a healthy cocktail:
Arugula is rich with calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, which keeps the body strong and energized. The low-sugar mix and vegetable base for this juice will give you a fresh burst of energy to last the entire night.
Image source: Saveur
2. Ox Blood
The Ox Blood cocktail originates from the Ox restaurant in Portland, Oregon. This mix of vegetables, herbs, and bourbon is a refreshing and unusual mix to impress company at any event. The ruby drink gets its distinctive color from beet syrup, created from a beet juice reduction.
- 1 ½ oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. beet syrup
- ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon.
Why it’s a healthy juice cocktail:
Beet juice is known for its detoxifying properties, which is especially helpful after a night out. This juice does double duty: it flavors the drink and also detoxifies the liver, which works to process the bourbon.
3. Avocado Margarita
This delicious take on a classic margarita is inspired by the selection at Curra’s Grill in Austin, Texas. This margarita can be made frozen or chilled, and is super easy and quick to put together.
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 cups ice
- 4 ounces tequila
- 2 ounces Cointreau or other orange liqueur
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
- Pinch of salt
- 1-3 teaspoons agave nectar, optional
- 1-3 slices fresh jalapeno, optional
- Other garnishes: lime, cilantro, avocado slices
Add avocado, ice, tequila, liqueur, lime juice, cilantro, and salt to blender. Pulse until smooth. Add agave to sweeten or jalapeno, if desired, and pulse until smooth. Make this to your taste! Rim a glass with salt, fill with margarita, and garnish, if desired.
Why it’s healthy:
Avocados are known for their amazing health benefits. They help to lower cholesterol and contain potassium which promotes heart health. Be careful not to overdo this one, though, since a little goes a long way in terms of avocados, and they’re full of fatty acids. This is more of a sipping recipe!
4. Red Pepper Bloody Mary
If tomato juice alone sounds off-putting, don’t fear! There are other delicious vegetable juice alternatives to make the perfect Bloody Mary for you. This fall-inspired drink is a great change to the old tomato juice cocktail, and is perfect for an event as the weather turns cooler.
Due to cooking preparation, this recipe is best prepared in bulk.
- 4 large bell peppers
- 1 large jalapeno
- 1 pound grape/cherry tomatoes
- 4 celery stalks, tripped and chopped
- 2 dozen fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 cup vodka
- Kosher salt
Roast peppers (bell and jalapeno) on a grill or in the oven. Grill/roast tomatoes as well. Placing vegetables directly on the grill grate should give them a smoky flavor. Grill until skin is charred, turning as needed. Allow the peppers to rest in a covered bowl for fifteen minutes before peeling.
De-stem and rib peppers before combining with tomatoes, celery, and basil in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Put through a strainer to remove extra chunks. Stir in other ingredients, adding salt to taste.
Grilling the peppers and tomatoes gives them that extra flavor that regular Bloody Marys lack.
Why it’s a healthy cocktail:
This healthy juice cocktail is full of vitamins and nutrients, alcohol aside. Additionally, peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and antioxidants. Bell peppers and jalapenos help digestion and fight against headaches, which is especially useful when combined with alcohol.
5. Carrot Mimosas
This delicious, bright vegetable and alcohol drink is a perfect brunchy substitution for your average mimosa, or would make a great addition to any mimosa bar.
- 1/3 – ½ cup pure carrot juice, chilled
- ½ cup Prosecco or dry champagne/sparkling wine, chilled
Add carrot juice and Prosecco to champagne glass. Garnish with carrot stems or parsley sprigs.
This beautiful juice could not be any easier to make. With only two parts, it’s a great drink to keep sipping for a long brunch with your best friends, or for a recovery breakfast the morning after a night out. Using homemade vegetable juice makes the production even easier.
Why this is a healthy vegetable cocktail:
Carrot juice is especially good for your skin and hair, and helps to lower cholesterol and strengthen brain function. You won’t even feel bad for topping up this delicious, fizzy drink.
6. Rhubarb Mint Juleps
This updated version of the Kentucky classic is a beautiful, pink addition if you’d like to make your day drink a little classier – and healthier!
- Fresh mint leaves
- 1 ounce rhubarb syrup
- 2 ounces bourbon
- Splash of water
- Crushed ice
Muddle the mint leaves and rhubarb syrup in a cocktail glass. Add crushed ice, then bourbon and water. Garnish with mint and rhubarb.
Why this is healthy:
Despite its fruity taste, rhubarb is a vegetable with a tart flavor and celery-like stalk. Rhubarb syrup, made of reduced rhubarb juice, contains vitamins K and C, potassium, and manganese. Rhubarb helps to lower cholesterol levels and provides antioxidants.
Take your vegan cocktail game to the next level
Mixing alcohol with juice doesn’t mean you need to use sugary store-bought fruit juices, or that you’re stuck with soft drinks or tonic!
Fresh, flavorful vegetable juices are a wonderful solution to step up your cocktail game while still getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
What is your favorite vegetable juice cocktail?
Share in the comments below!