There are healthiest choices to make when indulging.
Alcohol isn’t a healthy choice in general, but some alcohol is better for you than others. Opt for the healthiest alcohol to drink, among other options, when it comes to choosing what to drink if you don’t want to compromise your health.
According to the wine market analysis, the revenue in the wine market worldwide was forecast to increase from approximately 4.77 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to more than 14 billion U.S. dollars by 2027.
Moreover, the global organic wine market is expected to reach USD 21.1 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 10.5% from 2022 to 2030.
This blog post will explore the top 10 healthiest alcoholic beverages to try in 2024.
- Red Wine
- Organic Wine and Liquor
- Mulled Wine
- Blood Mary (Cocktail)
- Craft Beer
- White Wine
- Hard Kombucha
- Martini (Cocktail)
- Hard Cider
Before we dive into each, let’s first explore how we selected the healthiest alcoholic drinks and the emerging trends in the sector.
How We Selected the Healthiest Alcohol Drinks
- Lower Calorie Content: Opt for beverages with lower calorie counts to support weight management and reduce the risk of associated health issues, promoting a healthier drinking experience.
- Natural Ingredients: Choose drinks made from natural ingredients, as they often contain fewer additives and preservatives, minimizing potential adverse health effects associated with artificial substances.
- Potential Health Benefits: Consider beverages with potential health benefits, such as red wine’s antioxidants or certain spirits with reported cardiovascular benefits in moderate consumption, contributing to overall well-being.
- Low Sugar Content: Opt for beverages with lower sugar content to reduce the risk of weight gain, dental issues, and other health concerns associated with excessive sugar intake often found in some alcoholic drinks.
- Organic Certification: Consider drinks with organic certification, indicating the absence of synthetic pesticides and chemicals, potentially reducing the risk of exposure to harmful substances and supporting environmental sustainability.
- Fortified with Nutrients: Select beverages fortified with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, potentially providing added health benefits and contributing to nutritional intake during moderate consumption.
Emerging Trends in Healthier Drinking
The revenue in the non-alcoholic drinks market in the United States reached US$496.5 billion in 2023. The non-alcoholic drink market volume will reach 151.4bn L by 2027.
As global health food and beverage sales of the “organic” category reached 105 billion U.S. dollars, the demand for natural wines is increasing.
With increasing health consciousness, consumers are seeking alternatives that offer unique flavors without the adverse effects of traditional alcoholic drinks.
Innovations include botanical-infused spirits, alcohol-free beers, and sophisticated mocktails. Ingredients like adaptogens, functional herbs, and natural sweeteners are gaining popularity for their health benefits.
Additionally, advanced brewing and distillation methods create complex and satisfying alcohol alternatives. There has been an uptick in sales of non-alcoholic beverages, indicating a shift towards a more mindful approach to drinking.
Nowadays, wine producers are offering sustainable wines, appealing to the broader demand among consumers for healthier products.
Top 10 Healthiest Alcohol Drinks You Should Try
For those who enjoy an occasional drink and want to opt for healthier options, it can be challenging to find one. While there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, it is advisable to drink in moderation and prefer drinks that have some nutritional value.
Let’s explore the top 10 healthiest alcohol drinks.
1. Red Wine
Red wines are known for their diverse and complex flavors, ranging from fruity and floral to earthy and spicy.
Familiar taste notes include cherry, blackberry, plum, and sometimes chocolate, tobacco, or vanilla hints. The taste of red wine is influenced by factors such as grape variety, region, climate, and aging process.
The primary ingredient in red wine is red or black grapes. The red wine aging process can occur in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels, influencing the wine’s flavor and texture. Some red wines undergo malolactic fermentation, which can soften the acidity and add complexity to the wine.
Wine producers focus on making red wine a healthy alcoholic drink by crafting low-alcohol versions emphasizing taste and well-being using innovative fermentation techniques.
Moderate red wine consumption has been associated with potential health benefits, primarily attributed to antioxidants that prevent coronary artery disease.
Moreover, health-conscious consumers prioritize health, as red wine contains fewer additives and doesn’t put as much pressure on your liver.
2. Organic Wine and Liquor
Organic wine and liquor are products of natural alcoholic drinks made from ingredients grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. It is considered the healthiest alcoholic beverage and caters to consumers seeking environmentally friendly and sustainable choices.
Organic wines have a unique taste reflecting terroir, as the grapes grow more naturally pesticide-free. Organic liquors may offer a cleaner and more authentic flavor profile as they avoid synthetic additives.
While not significantly different nutritionally from conventional options, organic options have higher nutrient levels due to healthier soil.
Grapes used in organic wine and organic grains for liquor are cultivated without synthetic chemicals, promoting biodiversity and soil health. Organic production emphasizes sustainable practices, avoiding synthetic additives, and limiting environmental impact.
Organic wine and liquor contain fewer pesticide residues, potentially reducing health risks associated with pesticide exposure. The emphasis on environmentally friendly practices may appeal to those concerned about the impact on the health and ecosystems.
3. Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is known for its warm, spiced flavor profile, combining red wine with various spices like cinnamon, cloves, and citrus. It is also one of the healthiest types of alcohol drink due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Typical ingredients of mulled wine include red wine, spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise), citrus fruits (orange or lemon peel), and sweeteners (sugar, honey). The heating process allows the wine to absorb the aromatic qualities of the added ingredients.
Mulled wine is prepared by simmering the ingredients, allowing the flavors to meld. It is essential not to boil the wine to preserve the alcohol content.
The warmth of mulled wine can be comforting and is often associated with a cozy and festive atmosphere during colder seasons. Moreover, certified mulled wines have fewer sugar additives and may prevent headaches.
4. Blood Mary (Cocktail)
The Blood Mary cocktail is known for its bold and savory flavor, featuring a combination of tangy tomato juice, vodka, and a mix of spices. It often includes Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, and black pepper, creating a well-balanced and zesty profile.
The nutritional content varies based on specific ingredients, but tomato juice provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vodka contributes to alcohol calories but limits other nutrients.
Key ingredients include tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and various spices. It is used for wine pairing and typically mixed directly in the glass or shaker.
As a health benefit, tomato juice is a source of lycopene, an antioxidant associated with potential cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits. The moderate alcohol content in vodka may have cardiovascular effects, but excessive consumption poses health risks.
5. Craft Beer
Craft beer is known for its diverse and innovative flavors, often crafted with unique hops, malt, and yeast combinations. They can range from hoppy and bitter to malty, sour, or fruity, showcasing the creativity of small, independent breweries.
Some craft beers may include additional ingredients, such as fruits or spices, impacting nutritional value. Craft brewers often use high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, experimenting with different varieties of hops, malted grains, yeast strains, and adjuncts for distinct flavors.
Craft beer production emphasizes traditional brewing methods, often on a smaller scale, and focuses on techniques like dry hopping, barrel aging, and wild fermentation, which contribute to unique characteristics.
Moderate craft beer consumption has been linked to potential heart health benefits and may have higher antioxidant levels from diverse ingredients.
6. White Wine
White wines are known for their crisp, light, and refreshing taste, with flavors ranging from citrus and green apple to tropical fruits. Varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio offer diverse taste profiles.
The primary ingredient is white or green grapes, with specific grape varieties influencing the wine’s taste and aroma. The fermentation process involves converting grape sugars into alcohol, often with the addition of yeast.
White wine production involves minimal contact between the grape juice and skins, resulting in a lighter color.
White wines typically have fewer calories, so they are considered healthier alcoholic drinks than red wine, averaging around 120 calories per 5-ounce glass. It contains minimal to no fat or cholesterol and provides small amounts of minerals like potassium.
Moderate white wine consumption may have cardiovascular benefits, although individual health considerations are essential.
7. Hard Kombucha
Hard kombucha combines the tangy and effervescent qualities of traditional kombucha with the alcoholic content of beer. It often features diverse and adventurous flavors, including fruity, floral, and herbal notes.
Common ingredients include tea, sugar, live cultures, and added fruit, herbs, or spices for flavor.
Production involves brewing sweetened tea, fermenting with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and adding yeast for alcohol production. The beverage is processed for a second fermentation to achieve effervescence.
Hard kombucha maintains some of the probiotic benefits of traditional kombucha but also contains alcohol. The alcohol content varies, but nutritional content may include B vitamins, organic acids, and antioxidants from fermentation.
It is considered healthy due to its digestive benefits from probiotics, although alcohol consumption must be considered.
8. Martini (Cocktail)
The Martini is renowned for its simple and classic taste, typically featuring a blend of gin or vodka and dry vermouth. It is often garnished with a lemon or olive twist, developing a subtle citrus or briny note.
The Martini is a low-calorie cocktail, with the primary sources being alcohol from gin or vodka and minimal calories from vermouth. It contains no fat or cholesterol. Moderate alcohol consumption, as in a Martini, may have cardiovascular benefits.
Martinis are typically stirred or shaken with ice to chill and dilute the ingredients. The choice of gin or vodka and the ratio can be adjusted based on individual taste preferences.
Moreover, the choice of gin may introduce botanicals, some of which have antioxidant properties, contributing to potential health benefits.
9. Hard Cider
Honey cider, or hider cider, offers a unique taste by combining the sweetness of honey with the tartness of traditional apple cider. The flavor profile can vary, with some versions highlighting the floral notes of honey.
Primary ingredients include apples, honey, and yeast for fermentation. Production of hider cider involves fermenting apple juice with honey, yielding a beverage with both cider characteristics and sweetness.
Nutritional content varies, but cider typically contains calories from alcohol and sugars. Honey adds natural sweetness and may contribute small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The fermentation process and aging can influence the final taste.
Moreover, honey brings potential antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and the impact depends on the quantity consumed.
The Margarita is a classic cocktail celebrated for its refreshing and citrusy taste, typically featuring the tanginess of lime, the sweetness of orange liqueur, and the tequila kick. The salted rim adds a savory contrast to the overall flavor profile.
Margaritas are moderate in calories, primarily from alcohol and sweeteners. The lime juice contributes vitamin C, and the choice of ingredients can impact sugar content.
Core ingredients include tequila, triple sec or orange liqueur, and lime juice. Margaritas are usually shaken with ice to chill and mix the ingredients.
Lime juice provides a dose of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune health. Moderate alcohol consumption may have cardiovascular benefits, although excessive intake poses health risks.
As agritech evolves, the food and beverage industry will produce healthier alcoholic drinks, boosting heart, gut, and brain health.
Now that you know the healthiest alcohol to drink, you can choose one that suits your flavor and be mindful of what you drink. While drinks have no to very little nutritional value, avoiding alcohol content can quickly help you lower your daily calorie intake.
You can still enjoy your favorite alcoholic drink without adding too many calories. With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-improving effects, healthy liquor must also be consumed within limits.