Summer is nigh and with it the prospect of a cool, refreshing beverage. Hold the alcohol, though! As we all know, alcohol can seriously hamper immune function, which is a tad risky at the best of times and certainly this year.
So, as you contemplate cooling off after some strenuous lawnmowing or game of badminton, consider whipping up one of these delicious and healthy mocktails that support your immune system.
Lassis is a traditional Indian drink served with food to support digestion. The inclusion of probiotic yoghurt gives this mocktail another edge though, in that it can also support healthy immune function by supporting your microbiome to kick out bad bacteria and other potential pathogens.
Ingredients (makes 4 glasses)
500 mL (2 cups) probiotic coconut, cashew, or almond yoghurt
475 mL water
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro (or English mint)
If you have a milk frother, use this to whisk together the yoghurt and water until you have a frothy foam. Or just use a regular whisk or get vigorous with a fork. Chill some glasses while you’re frothing, then pour the mixture carefully into these glasses. Sprinkle the toasted cumin seeds on the top and garnish with fresh cilantro or mint, to your preference.
Ginger, Grapefruit, and Turmeric – AKA the GG & T!
This fruity and spicy mocktail has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients that really pack a punch. Turmeric also contains curcumin, which has been shown to have natural antimicrobial effects against a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.[i]
Ingredients (makes 2 highball glasses)
500 mL (2 cups) grapefruit juice (packaged or the juice of about 5-6 fresh grapefruits)
A 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled
A 1-inch knob of turmeric, peeled
Grapefruit slices (for garnish)
Sparkling water and honey (optional).
Grate the ginger and turmeric into a pitcher, then pour in the grapefruit juice. Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or other liquid sweetener if using. Mix everything together and let it sit for a few minutes so the flavours can mingle. Alternatively, throw all these ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Pour the mixture through a strainer to filter out the fibrous remnants of turmeric and ginger. Serve chilled right away or chill for later use.
When serving, consider adding a coconut sugar rim to the glasses, then add crushed ice. Pour the juice over the ice and tip up with sparkling water if using. Add a slice of grapefruit if desired.
Elderflower, blueberry, and lime mocktail
Nothing quite says summer like elderflower and elderberry (Sambuca nigra), so it’s fortunate that this flower also has impressive antiviral and inflammation- and immune-modulating properties that can keep summer bugs at bay.[ii]
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 312 airline passengers, passengers who took an elderberry extract had fewer cold episodes than those taking a placebo (12 vs. 17) and their symptoms were significantly shorter with elderberry extract (57 days total vs. 117 days).[iii]
The potential health benefits of elderflower (and blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants) are just a bonus, though, given how delicious this mocktail is! Easy to make and perfect for pairing with brunch, dinner, or just an afternoon refresher, this mocktail is also relatively inexpensive as a bottle of elderflower cordial will go a long way!
Ingredients (make 4 glasses)
8 tablespoons elderflower syrup
2-4 tablespoons lime juice (approx. one lime - fresh is best!)
1 ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
500 mL (2 cups) sparkling water or club soda
Fresh English mint (for garnish)
4 slices of lime (for garnish).
Add the blueberries, lime juice, and elderflower syrup to a pitcher and mash them together with a muddler or pestle. If the blueberries are frozen, let them thaw just a little to make mashing easier. It’s OK to leave some of the blueberries relatively intact; the key is getting them to release their delicious juices and colour.
Add the mineral water or club soda to the pitcher and mix lightly. Add ice to four glasses then pour the elderflower mixture into each glass. Top with mint leaves and a slice of lime. Use a reusable metal straw if desired, or sip away!
[i] Moghadamtousi, S. Z., Kadir, H. A., Hassandarvish, P., Tajik, H., Abubakar, S., & Zandi, K. (2014). A review on antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity of curcumin. BioMed research international, 2014, 186864. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/186864
[ii] Ho, G. T., Wangensteen, H., & Barsett, H. (2017). Elderberry and Elderflower Extracts, Phenolic Compounds, and Metabolites and Their Effect on Complement, RAW 264.7 Macrophages and Dendritic Cells. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(3), 584. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030584
[iii] Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S., & Lea, R. A. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8(4), 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8040182