The Best Alcohol Choices for the Silly Season & 5 Healthy Cocktail Ideas

Drinks/Smoothies, Healthy Recipes

Let’s be real, while alcohol is far from the healthiest choice, we all enjoy a cocktail here and there, especially one made with fresh ingredients. Yes, I am a health nut and understand how it compromises our bodies, specifically our liver. But I am a nutritionist who prides herself on a well balanced, non restrictive lifestyle. I believe all splurges can be done in a healthy way while giving into your cravings!


My personal rule is no more than 2 drinks in one sitting – and even then, I only drink on weekends or special occasions. I consider it a treat. I might order a glass of red wine at my favourite restaurant, then I savour each and every sip. I soak up the aroma and drink it slowly. If I have any more, I feel awful the next morning – and I love myself too much to wake up feeling like that!


So what are the best choices?

As for healthy spirit options: gin, vodka and whiskey are your cleanest option if mixed with soda water, fresh lemon/lime and mint. I also love using the juice from a grapefruit (fresh) and mint as a natural mixer.

Red wine is a better choice than white wine or champagne for its antioxidant value and it’s lower in sugar. In contrast, champagne and white winer are higher in sugar. Of course its best to go for a organic and biodynamic wine so is free from nasty additives and extra sulphites (which naturally occur in wine anyway)

The only issue with red wine is that it can cause people to feel terrible post drinking it – they wake up in the middle of the night/feel terribly headachy and congested the next day. This is due to the histamines in the wine that some people don’t tolerate well as well as the preservatives (if it’s not organic). However, even organic red wine is high in histamines which cause can an immune-like response in the body e.g. headaches/itchiness/sinus congestion/runny nose etc. I find that I personally do better with Pinot Noir than Shiraz for example (I  have heard Pinot is lower in sulphites)

If you still don’t tolerate red – swap to rosé 🙂 Seems to be well tolerated.


And what should you be avoiding?

Using cordials, juices or soft drinks as mixers is disastrous – avoid always!


One last personal rule: Always eat something small and protein-rich before drinking. You can find a bunch of my favourite high-protein snack options here.


I’ve created five healthy cocktail variations for you to make at your next party, or just to enjoy over a simple dinner for two.


Ideas for cocktails:


  • Carrot Ginger Margarita
  • Blueberry Mojito: Fresh blueberries, mint, organic rum and a little coconut sugar
  • Watermelon Spritzer: Fresh watermelon juice, sparkling water and organic vodka
  • Vitamin C Refresher: Agave, lime juice, organic tequila and ice
  • Cucumber Cooler: Mint leaves, fresh cucumbers, rum or vodka


I also love mixing gin/vodka with coconut water, crushed ice, fresh mint, fresh ginger and a dash of cayenne pepper. Or a simple mix of soda with Campari, fresh mint and fresh grapefruit juice – yum!


Hope you make these and love them!





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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.