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Wellness Drinks: Deconstructing the Wellness Drink Trend

February 18, 2020 by Sophie Braybrook

Wellness drinks are one of the biggest 2020 beverage trends, and we don’t expect this craze to budge in the coming years. As more and more of our clients have requested wellness drinks at their cocktail, wedding, and corporate bars, we’ve become some of this movement’s biggest advocates.

From coconut water and juice cleanses to kombuchas and kefirs, wellness is infiltrating our diets, menus, and office coffee machine conversations. But what does ‘wellness’ actually mean?

Celery-juice-wellness-drink

We asked Rosh, Co-Founder of wellness drink brand humble warrior, what wellness means to her:

“Wellness as an approach to life is much broader than it used to be – it’s not a single idea or way of living, but more a consciousness about what consumers want to put in their bodies, and what they don’t,” explained Rosh. “We’re all trying to live well and look after ourselves; this is a 24/7 mindset now.”

Nicely said, Rosh.

So, if wellness is consumers’ constant desire for improved mental and physical health, even when not ‘unwell’, what makes a wellness drink?

Defining ‘Wellness Drinks’?

We caught up with Alex, MS, RD, CDN – a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and Vice President at wellness PR company, Pollock Communications – to gain her perspective.

“A wellness drink is one that has beneficial ingredients that can help support and boost health,” Alex told The Cocktail Service. “That said, drinks and ingredients may have healthful properties, but other ingredients may negate this healthfulness, such as large amounts of sugar or fats. Even water and sparkling water count as wellness drinks in my book as they are valuable sources of hydration.”

The wellness drink trend can be overwhelming, so we’re going to break it down for you. With the above definitions in mind, we’re taking a look at our favourite wellness drinks and how they target specific areas of health, be it gut health, brain function or blood pressure. And then finally, we dive into the ‘alcoholic wellness drink’ trend and take a look at some of the brands marketing themselves as wellness booze.

Table of contents:

Best Stress-Busting Wellness Beverages
Best Wellness Drinks for a Detox and Cleanse
The Most Hydrating Wellness Drinks
Our Favourite Wellness Drink for Gut Health
The Best Wellness Drink for Improved Brain Function
Best Wellness Beverage for Low Blood Pressure
Unpicking the ‘Alcoholic Wellness Drink’ Trend: Healthier Alcoholic Drinks

CBD-shots-by-Re+-CBD

Deconstructing Wellness Drinks

Best Stress-Busting Wellness Beverages
CBD

You’ve probably heard of CBD; be it from your office wellness junkie, or via an Instagram #ad. But what actually is CBD and what does it do to the body?

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, and it supports the body’s ability to produce and process one of our ‘happy hormones’, serotonin. As a result, CBD can significantly contribute to our physical and mental wellbeing; most notably, alleviating anxiety, pain, insomnia and stress.

Re+ CBD Wellness Shots

These potent little health shots are vegan as well as preservative-, sugar- and gluten-free. And it doesn’t stop there!

Containing 25mg of full-spectrum CBD, Re+ CBD wellness shots pack a real punch and allow consumers to genuinely feel the benefits.

Founders and alchemists Gabriel and Josh explain their inspiration behind the brand: “We both have first-hand experience of traumatic and high-stress situations, so created a product that is functional in dealing with that.”

CBD-shots-by-Re+-CBD

Best wellness drink for: Calm and clarity during stressful situations

Peppermint Tea

We’ve been wondering why we so often want to reach for a mojito amidst the mid-Monday morning work madness… and now we finally have our answer!

Menthol is renowned for its muscle relaxant properties, making it your best ally when it comes to natural means of beating stress. Alongside stress relief, it’s widely believed that menthol aids sleep, weight loss, digestion, helps cure an upset stomach and boosts immunity.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy way to relieve everyday stresses (and you’re not sure your boss would appreciate you sipping cocktails in the early hours), grab yourself a peppermint tea!

Best wellness drink for: Everyday stress-beater and sleep-easier

Peppermint-tea

Best Wellness Drinks for a Detox and Cleanse

Juice Cleanse Wellness Trend

For those who haven’t been exposed to the juice cleanse craze, this diet consists of consuming juice (and only juice) for up to seven days. People are quick to pass judgement on these juicy diets, often rinsing (or ‘juicing’) those who partake for falling victim to expensive ‘fad’.

But do critics of this wellness drink trend really know the ins and outs of it all?

Presscription’s Signature Cleanse

We caught up with Presscription to find out more about their range of delicious, nutrient-rich juices, shots and mylks.

The team here explained the benefits of their cleanses: “Our cleanse accelerates and enhances the natural detoxification process by resting the digestive system and flooding the body with nutrients and antioxidants.” Effectively, cleansing “Allows the digestive system to rest, re-boot and detoxify.”

Presscription-juice-cleanse-wellness-drink-trend

We know what you’re thinking. Why fork out £65 for Presscription’s 24-hour cleanse when you can down a 1.5L bottle of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference’s mouth-wateringly delicious OJ for a mere £3.25, and then simply avoid solids for the remainder of the day?

We thought the exact same! Until we found out more about Presscription’s juices:

With an expert team of nutritionists, homoeopathic and holistic practitioners to hand, these juices were created to deliver optimum health, fitness and beauty to the consumer.

Made up of five 500ml juices, one nut milk of the same size and two 30ml shots, Presscription’s Signature Cleanse package boasts a whole host of nutrients, like the memory-boosting miracles ginkgo biloba and ginseng.

According to Presscription: “Post-cleanse, users feel immediately lighter, extremely energised and experience tremendous mental clarity. Eyes glow brighter, skin appears clearer, and the hair and nails appear stronger and healthier.”

So, not only will this large selection of juices keep you energised all day and your tummy-rumbling at bay, but also, you’re just not going to find the same nutrients in a bottle of OJ.

Best wellness drink for: Full body cleanse

 

Plant-Based Tonics

Humble warrior’s Sparkling Botanical Drinks

humble-warrior-sparkling-tonic-wellness-drink

Humble warrior’s lightly sparkling botanical drinks are low calorie, light on the fruit juice front and contain no added sugar.

Inspired by the incredible roots, barks, leaves and spices Rosh grew up with in Sri Lanka, humble warrior’s Co-Founder told us how the idea for her brand developed.

“Andy and I were always asking ourselves why these incredible plants were relegated to the health aisle and packaged up in powders and tablets when half the world enjoys them every day in a much more ongoing, accessible way,” Rosh explained.

Containing turmeric, ginger and Indian gooseberry, humble warrior’s turmeric & mango wellness drink acts as an antioxidant (which means it helps to protect your cells) while also aiding digestion, energising and revitalising the body.

Humble warrior’s other wellness drinks include tulsi & pomegranate, which cleanses the body and aids gut health, and reishi & pineapple, which provides natural sources of energy.

Taking these incredibly powerful and complex plants out of the health aisle and into the everyday, humble warrior offers a range of genuinely healthy, undeniably punchy and sustainable drinks like no other.

Reishi-and-pineapple-sparkling-tonic-by-humble-warrior-being-poured

Best wellness drink for: Delicious everyday health

The Most Hydrating Wellness Drinks

In a study completed at St Andrews University, researchers compared the hydration responses of a selection of drinks; they found that those containing small amounts of sugars, proteins and fats are often more hydrating than water.

So, if you’re looking for an exceptionally hydrating post-treadmill tipple, try these alongside your trustworthy H2O:

Organic Cow’s Milk

That’s right, cow’s milk is more hydrating than water. Who’d have thought it?!

With high levels of sodium, the body can retain milk’s water content for longer than it can plain water.

Long dubbed ‘nature’s wellness drink’, cow’s milk is also naturally rich in nutrients. Containing phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, potassium and more, cow’s milk is not only king when it comes to hydration, but it has also been proven to help to regulate blood pressure, promote healthy muscle function and build strong bones.

Although undeniably hydrating, there are also a whole host of studies into our nation’s household favourite that have questioned the real health benefits behind human’s regular consumption of a liquid intended for calves. And it’s not all good. While organic cow’s milk guarantees no added hormones and no antibiotics, all cow’s milk contains natural hormones.

Best wellness drink for: A post-exercise replenish

 

Coconut Water

Coconut-water-by-The-Good-Life

On a dairy-free diet? This vegan drink might just be the answer to your post-workout sweat.

Two studies – one by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Department of Physiology and the other by the Sports Science Unit of the same university – advocate coconut water for its hydration qualities and claim that the drink replenishes electrolytes lost through a workout.

But, since everyone turned cuckoo for coconut water, there has been some deliberation over whether this wellness drink is as hydrating as formerly believed.

It turns out, coconut water doesn’t contain the same levels of carbohydrates and electrolytes as your high-electrolyte sugary sports drink, but, of course, these sugary energy drinks don’t contain the other nutrients this potassium powerhouse provides.

So, our suggestion is to bin the sports bev in favour of this natural replacement, but to also consider carbohydrate and electrolyte supplementation after high-endurance exercise.

Sold? So are we! And when we can’t escape to the tropics to grab a fresh one, London’s The Good Life Eatery’s and Vita Coco’s coconut water are our favourite alternatives.

Best wellness drink for: The recreational athlete

 

Our Favourite Wellness Drink for Gut Health

So, you’ve probably heard about gut health… Be it from that advert you can’t help but read every morning while waiting for your train, from Paul from IT who brings up his gut issues every time your computer fails.

Either way, you’re probably aware that you can consciously look after your gut. But what you might not know, is why gut heath is so important…

A healthy gut contributes to full-body health; it improves your immune system, general mood, heart, brain, sleep, digestion and more.

Impressive, right? And here’s the wellness drink that will help you do it all…

Real-Kombucha-non-alcoholic-drink-being-poured

Kombucha

This fermented tea is often the first wellness drink that springs to mind when nutritionists get down and dirty with gut health.

When Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian surveyed 1,200 RDNs and compiled their 2020 annual What’s Trending in Nutrition report, fermented foods were crowned first place.

What's-Trending-In-Nutrition-Survey-by-Pollock-Communicarions-and-Today's-Dietitian

Packed with probiotics (good for you bacteria), B vitamins and antioxidants, kombucha aids the digestion process and helps absorb vital vitamins and minerals. While it’s famed for its gut-protecting and immunity-boosting abilities, this fizzy, fermented sweet tea is also full of flavour. Find out more about the kombucha craze here.

Real Kombucha

Our favourite kombucha? Real Kombucha.

Created when the brand’s Founder, David Begg, was frustrated with Britain’s limited non-alcohol options, Real set out to produce a drink that provided the same complexity and depth of flavours as a fine wine. Today, Real has satisfied a number of the top sommeliers’ taste buds and is stocked in 50 Michelin star restaurants.

Real-Kombucha-fermented-wellness-drink-trend

Kombucha’s sometimes criticised for its high sugar content, but Real ensured us that they use minimal sugar in their wellness drinks, and ferment most of this sugar out anyway.

At only 50 calories a pop and packed with nutrients, this flavour-filled alcohol alternative is many sober socialisers’ favourite.

Best wellness drink for: Gut health (and remember, a healthy gut = a healthy you)

Best Wellness Drinks for Increased Immunity

Feeling a cold coming on? Kick that cough to the curb with these natural remedies…

Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

Another fermented wellness drink, apple cider vinegar is a firm favourite among nutritionists.

Containing prebiotics, beneficial bacteria and antibacterial properties, this wellness drink is famed for its positive impact on immune health.

Fire Cider is our go-to apple cider vinegar for its all-raw, all-organic ingredients list, which includes additional immunity-boosting foods like ginger and horseradish. Like all apple cider vinegar, Fire Cider isn’t the easiest to drink. Hold your nose and shot it or dilute it into your morning cuppa and it’ll go down a treat.

Apple-cider-vinegar-by-Fire-Cider

Alongside boosting the immune system, it is widely thought that apple cider vinegar aids weight loss, helps with digestion, and when applied to hair or skin, will ensure you’re silky smooth and glowing.

Best wellness drink for: A quick immunity boost when you’re feeling under the weather. Keep it at your desk and it’ll last you 18 months!

Water Kefir

Okay, so this is our last fermented beverage, and it’s a good one.

This wellness drink is a dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan wellness drink that’s rich in probiotics, a beneficial bacterium found in the gut. Probiotics play an integral role in almost every aspect of health, from immune function to cancer prevention.

Traditionally, it was thought that yoghurt was the best everyday source of probiotics; however, research into kefir has proven that the water kefir grain (a soft and gelatinous grain from the cactus) possesses a more diverse range of bacteria.

While you can find water kefir at wellness stores, it’s more cost-effective to make this four-part-ingredient wellness drink at home (although it is worth noting that it won’t be ready for a couple of days!).

Water Kefir Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes, cooking time: 36 hours

Ingredients:

2 tbsp hydrated water kefir grains (bought here)
850 ml water
50 g organic cane sugar

Directions:

Add the sugar and 150 ml of hot water to a mason jar and swirl the mixture until all sugar has dissolved.

Add 700 ml of tepid water and your water kefir grains and cover the mixture with a thin kitchen towel. Leave the jar in a warm room (20–30°C) to ferment for 24–48 hours.

Strain mixture, and ta-da!

Best wellness drink for: An affordable everyday health-boost

Celery Juice

We caught up with Caroline, Marketing Manager at Planet Organic – the UK’s biggest fully certified organic supermarket – to discover their bestselling wellness drinks. And we weren’t surprised to see that celery juice came out on top.

Wellness-drink-aisle-at-Planet-Organic

“We have a vast range of shots, juices, smoothies, kombuchas, water kefirs and CBD-infused drinks,” explained Caroline. “All of our stores have juice and smoothie bars too, where customers can order freshly-made drinks.”

When explaining why it’s the celery juices consumers are going crazy for, Caroline explained customers’ concerns about high sugar content.

Alongside its low sugar and calorie content, celery juice contains what feels like an entire alphabet of vitamins (K, A, B-2, B-6, C) alongside folate, potassium and, of course, our trusty old antioxidants.

So, what happens when you consume all of these nutrients? Alongside reduced inflammation and treatment for inflammatory diseases, celery juice lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, fights infection and more.

Best wellness drink for: Quick consumption of vital nutrients to pull you out of poor health

Turmeric Lattes

We simply can’t talk immunity without mentioning one of our favourite wellness drinks – turmeric lattes.

Linnaean's-turmeric-latte

A bestseller at London wellness restaurant Linnaean, the wellness restaurant’s Golden Latte is made from velvety oat milk, turmeric and espresso. This vegan wellness drink acts as an antioxidant that helps boost immunity and protect against heart disease and cancers.

Linnaean-wellness-cafe-and-restaurant-London

Best wellness drink for: The coffee-lover looking for an immunity-boost

The Best Wellness Drink for Improved Brain Function

Green Tea

Alongside their Golden Latte, Linnaean’s genmaicha green tea is highly popular. This flavoursome tea also made it onto the What’s Trending in Nutrition’s top 10 list. But why is this wellness drink so popular?

Scientific studies on caffeine have linked this stimulant with improved brain function, mood, reaction time and memory, and green tea’s caffeine levels are high enough to produce these responses.

Alongside caffeine, green tea contains L-theanine which has anti-anxiety effects, increases dopamine and the production of the brain’s alpha waves.

Well, that’s certainly food for thought.

We asked RDN Alex why she thought green tea made it onto her top 10 superfoods list: “Green tea has an impressive resume, including its link to cardiovascular, chemopreventive and cognitive health benefits,” Alex explained. “Tea consumption is also associated with lower body mass index (BMI) values, and non-caloric drinks, like unsweetened tea and coffee are among registered dietitian nutritionists’ top five recommendations for health and wellness in 2020.”

If it’s good enough for the experts, then this unsweetened brain- and body-boosting bevvy is good enough for us!

Healthy-green-tea-in-brown-tea-pot

Best wellness drink for: Decreasing anxiety, increasing dopamine

Best Wellness Beverage for Low Blood Pressure

Beetroot Juice

Beetroot has been wearing a health halo for several years now, and since it also made it onto the RDNs’ top 2020 superfoods suggestions, we’re assuming there’s more to this root than its incredible colour.

Studies in Nutrition Journal and Journal of Hypertension found that drinking beetroot juice reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension.

In their book, Healing Foods, DK Publishing attribute this lower blood pressure to the juice’s high levels of antioxidants. The book also argues that beetroot juice’s B vitamins help to maintain a regular and strong heartbeat as well as improving nerve function.

Other potential positive side effects of beetroot juice include cancer prevention, reduced cholesterol, and slowing the progression of dementia.

Best wellness drink for: Lowering blood pressure, improving nerve function, preventing cancers and more

Unpicking the ‘Alcoholic Wellness Drink’ Trend: Healthier Alcoholic Options

Given Rosh and Alex’s definition, it would be wrong to suggest that alcoholic drinks have a place within ‘wellness’.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom for the health-conscious consumer!

A growing number of wellness-focussed youths are going sober, wearing their teetotaller titles with pride and glamorising sobriety and this has led to an ‘alcoholic wellness drink’ epidemic. As a result, alcohol brands are trying to position themselves more favourably on the heath market by cutting sugars, adding beneficial nutrients and going organic.

If you’re going to drink alcohol (because let’s face it, you have to drink a lot of water kefirs to get the same effect as a beer), there are some great brands out there that offer healthier alcohol options:

Healthier Alcoholic Drinks

Healthier Beers

As beer consumption levels continue to drop, ‘beers with benefits’ are becoming more commonplace and beer brands are adding electrolytes, magnesium, chia seeds, bee pollen and other ‘wellness’ ingredients to their recipes.

Healther-beer-options

Sufferfest Beer Co.

Let’s take Sufferfest Beer Co. as an example. Claiming their bevs aid recovery, Sufferfest beer have branded and marketed themselves as a ‘post-sweat celebration’ for adventurers who have reached the mountain’s peak or finish line.

Boasting ingredients like electrolytes, magnesium, potassium and bee pollen, their low calorie, low ABV Repeat beer is better than most when it comes to replenishing hydration and protein levels.

While obviously not as healthy as coconut water, this brand is providing a healthier option for the gym bunnies who are reluctantly avoiding beer in favour of leg day.

Hard Seltzers

Alcopop-lover on a health kick? Hard seltzers may well hit the spot.

A success in the US, the hard seltzers category was worth $550m at the end of last year, and this figure is expected to rise to $2.5bn by 2021.

While they have ‘seltzer’ (which is German for ‘medicinal mineral water’) in their name, unfortunately hard seltzers aren’t wellness drinks. But, these fruity, low-calorie and moderate-ABV drinks are healthier than your standard alcohol options.

White Claw Hard Seltzer

Let’s take the popular hard seltzer brand White Claw as an example. At 5% ABV, a 355 ml can contains 100 calories and two grams of carbohydrates.

While they’ve been dubbed alcopops by sceptical Guardian journalist Zoe Williams, there are considerably more calories (128 more, for the numbers types) in a blue WKD than there are in a White Claw hard seltzer.

So, while they’re not exactly healthy, they are undeniably healthier!

Want to know how many calories are in your drink of choice? Use our complete guide to calories in alcohol to find out!

Organic and Sugar-Free Wines

Winemakers are jumping on the ‘health’ hype too!

Dry Farm Wines

Vineyards-in-Napa-Valley

Dry Farm Wines, a Napa Valley company, claims to offer high-quality, sustainable and natural wines that meet their ‘strict standard of health.’ With less than 1 g of sugar per litre, Dry Farm’s wines are touted as sugar-free, paleo- and keto-friendly, and low carb, as well as ‘pure, artisanal, and deliciously clean.’

The company also claims that their lower ABV wines (10-12.5%) give a ‘better, cleaner buzz.’

Chemical-free and low-sugar wines like Dry Farm Wines’ are everywhere, and they’re offering the wine-lover a healthier way of drinking.

Conclusion

With a world of wellness drinks and healthier alcohol alternatives at your fingertips, there’s an awful lot to digest (…if you’d pardon the pun).

So, how do you know which drinks are best for your bar or event?

We can help with that!

We’re more than a mobile bar hire service; we’re a team of forward-thinking, trend-setting cocktail magicians and bar consultants who embrace industry changes and take pride in implementing innovation in our clients’ projects. Our work includes shoot styling with Condé Nast’s Brides Magazine, launch parties with ASOS, branded parties with Volvo and we’re ready to take on our next project.

Looking for advice and answers to all-things-drinks? Contact us with your ideas and queries, no matter how big or small.

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