Your body is your temple.
Sure, you might build a shrine to it nightly with some ‘spirited’ prayers (maybe even one known as Willy Shine’s famous 212 cocktail: 2 parts Partida Reposado tequila, 1 part Aperol, 2 parts grapefruit juice), but if you’re doing this in moderation and with some thought about what you can take from the kitchen, you’re right on trend.
As consumers continue to be more focused on the health benefits of the food and drink they enjoy, bartenders are finding willing partners in chefs. These new cocktail teams work closely to create whole and healthy pairings. Why team up? Simply speaking, exploring the walk-in — and tying drinks to seasonal and super-food ingredients like acai — makes for a better beverage.
Shine, a long-time bartender and brand evangelist, knows that incorporating high quality, fresh ingredients delivers a healthier drinking experience without sacrificing alcohol content or taste. It’s also why he has teamed up with the newly re-formulated VEEV to challenge bartenders to create exciting and health conscious cocktails of their own and introduce them to the world via the “A Better Way to Drink” cocktail competition. (http://www.chilledmagazine.com/veev/)
Before you rush off to create your VEEV cocktail and enter the competition, see what Shine has to say about better drinking:
Chilled: Consumers are more mindful about what they are eating and drinking these days with a goal of greater health. How do bartenders create healthier cocktails without sacrificing alcohol content and taste?
Willy Shine: The number one way to create better drinks is to use better ingredients, because the drinks you make are only as good or good for you as the ingredients you use. Using better ingredients also means using better spirits. Going organic when possible and making sure to use fresh squeezed juices over juice from concentrate can help lower your sugar content and will always make the cocktail taste better.
Another example for lowering the sugar content and [getting rid of] empty calories in your cocktails would be to use agave nectar, maple syrup or local honey as a sweetener instead of white sugar. I like to make a lot of tea syrups like hibiscus, chamomile or green tea with honey or agave nectar and use those in cocktails, which allows you to add some sweetness to your drinks without compromising the flavor like artificial sweeteners do.
Another way to create healthier cocktails would be to use coconut water and ingredients like ginger with natural health benefits to your cocktails.
Chilled: Any tips for bartenders, who usually work long hours and drink often, to help keep up with their own health conscious lifestyle?
Willy Shine: Being a bartender working long hours on your feet and into the night really takes a toll on your body. We all strive for balance in our lives and especially as a bartender we need to pay extra attention to our bodies as well as our minds. Being a strong bartender not only takes knowledge, experience, patience and wisdom, but also dedication to your body, keeping it healthy and strong. The right shoes are extremely important as we are on our feet for sometimes up to 12 hours or more behind the bar. Bartenders need to focus in on using both hands equally as repetitive motions will ultimately get to your wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Not only do we need to be ambidextrous, but we also need to change the techniques up fairly often so the focus is distributed a bit more. I see bartending very much like being an athlete as it takes sound body and mind to their peak potential.
Chilled: Tell us how VEEV fits into the spirited wellness trend.
Willy Shine: VEEV was created to help consumers find “A Better Way to Drink.” The idea was born on a surf trip to Brazil and was meant to fill the gap in the spirits world between organic and delicious, high proof spirits. VEEV is both. Crafted with local Idaho Winter Wheat and Rocky Mountain water, VEEV is an all-natural 70 proof vodka alternative infused with acai, a super fruit, along with other all-natural ingredients.
Chilled: Any other advice for bartenders who want to mix up ‘healthy’ cocktails?
Willy Shine: Don’t be afraid to take risks with new, unexpected, and all-natural flavor combinations. Take it a step further and see just how your creation stacks up by participating in bartender challenges like VEEV’s “A Better Way to Drink” cocktail competition where your skills could earn you a mentorship with me at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, travel accommodations, and access to exclusive seminars, events, and tastings.
Chilled: What are some of your signature cocktails that incorporate healthier lifestyle drinking ingredients?
- 2 oz. VEEV Spirit
- 4 dials Ginger
- 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. Agave nectar (2-1, cut with water)
- 2 oz. Coconut water
- Candied ginger, for garnish
Preparation: Muddle ginger, add ingredients, shake and strain over fresh ice into a highball glass and garnish with skewered ginger candy.
Surfin’ On That Wood Watermelon
- 2 oz. VEEV Spirit
- 1 oz. Fresh pressed watermelon juice
- 1 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Basil leaf
Preparation: Lightly muddle basil in a shaker and add remainder of the ingredients with ice. Shake and strain into chilled coupe glass and garnish with a basil leaf.