Here’s Why These “Mocktails” Are Known as the Elixir of Life

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Elixers of Life: The Mocktail

Keep your health and fitness goals on track this summer with the help of uplifting herbal tonics and mocktails.

Summertime is here, which means outdoor barbeque and raucous rooftop party invites are in full force. Social obligations seem endless this season, and while each boasts a different guest list and special occasion, there always seems to be one common denominator: booze. But what if you can’t drink or simply don’t feel like it? Thankfully, sobriety is a look that’s always in, and there has never been a better time to explore an exciting range of herbal mocktails.

Let us not forget that plants can be medicine. With each herbal mocktail, sippers have a keen opportunity to kick-start their health while enjoying something fresh, exotic and delicious.

“Herbal tonics and natural foods do not imply a compromise on flavor, texture or aroma — quite the contrary,” attests Jill TrAshley, Founder of The NOHM Project, an organization whose mission is to encourage conscious consumption and conversation by facilitating experiences steeped in tradition. “By utilizing natural, local and living ingredients you can expand and explore your palate while activating all of your senses.”

TrAshley, a Folk Herbalist and “Village Witch” uses ingredients like Butterfly Pea Flower, Rosemary and Chlorophyll to create tasty guilt-free concoctions. Her herbal expertise can be experienced at The NOHM Elixir Bar at Envision Festival in Uvita, Costa Rica (, where infused tonics with exotic ingredient lists are served up to restore, revive and reinvigorate bodies and minds. This booze-free watering hole is changing the way festival goers interact with one another, one glass at a time.

“The largest benefit I witness when choosing non-alcoholic over alcoholic options is that it simply changes the energy of how you connect with others and yourself while in a social setting,” TrAshley says. “Citrus, for example, is an amazing and familiar genus that is known to alkalize your PH levels and naturally boost your mood. Hops, on the contrary, is a natural sedative we as herbalists consume to aid in deep uninterrupted sleep.” Knowing this, it’s easy to see how a citrus-infused tonic is the better option for people who plan to engage in lively conversation or high-energy activities like dancing on their big night out, rather than a hop-heavy alternative, like beer. “Once at home and looking to decompress,” she advises, “you can steep a sleepy time tea boosted with a couple bitter hops flowers to slip into an epic slumber.”

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Alcohol isn’t evil — in and of itself. After all, it is a powerful extraction agent that can be used to create the very herbal tinctures that add a healthy punch to tonics and mocktails. “Alcohol, being derived from plants, is also a carrier for driving the medicinal properties of plants deeper into the body on a cellular level,” the herbalist explains. However, the way average people tend to consume alcohol in social settings deserves a second look: In general, Americans are drinking far too much – approximately 9.5 drinks per week or 494 drinks per year. That’s according to Aaron White, senior scientific advisor to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Trading in a few of those alcoholic beverages for herbal tonics can have a dramatic impact on one’s overall health and well-being.

“Substitute alcoholic beverages with soda water, lime and bitters for a night out on the town with friends who are drinking,” TrAshley suggests. “Drink two or three of these tonics. Play around with the citrus, herbal simple syrups, fresh herbs and bitters with your bartender — while also drinking plenty of water. See how it feels to connect [while] sober and how you feel the following morning as you wake up and roll out of bed.”

Dehydration is a common side effect of drinking in excess. That‘s compounded when alcohol is consumed in combination with commercial mixers like juices and sodas that are high in sugar. “The common hangover varies person to person, but is rooted in ethanol intake from alcohol which metabolizes as a diuretic, meaning it causes one to ‘break the seal’and release excess vital fluids the body craves to stay hydrated,” TrAshley explains. However, you can slug back a few herbal mocktails and kiss those nasty hangovers goodbye.

TrAshley and her colleague Sarah Wu, Co-Founder of Envision Festival and a Clinical Herbalist, encourage anyone curious to look to no farther than their gardens for mocktail ideas. “Growing your own herbs or sourcing from your yard or farmers market is an empowering feeling and typically costs less over the long term,” Wu suggests. “By doing so, you can familiarize yourself with knowledge of your local environment and use those experiences to connect with friends and neighbors in a fun and interesting way. Plan a mocktail party and invite friends over to help harvest and process herbs before the party as a way to become connected with your food from start to finish.”

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Last modified: July 11, 2019