For Better Hydration, Take Stirred Cocktails Off The Menu

With the sun blazing, it is the perfect time to lounge by the pool with a cocktail in our hands. Whether you prefer a frozen pina colada or a boozy milkshake, there is something about lying around outside that makes poolside cocktails even more delicious as the ice-cold drink soothes your tongue.

However, hydration is just as, if not more important, than poolside cocktails, and there are a couple of pointers to choosing the right cocktail to keep yourself hydrated during a poolside excursion. To stay hydrated, you must avoid stirred drinks such as martinis, Manhattans, or old-fashioneds. These spirit-forward cocktails are not great choices for hydration because their high alcohol content would do the opposite, leaving you more dehydrated than before. Avoiding stirred and spirit-forward cocktails and replacing them with drinks with a lower alcohol content by volume will help preserve your hydration goals. 

Shaken versus stirred

To explain why stirred cocktails are bad for hydration, let's begin by defining what a stirred cocktail is. Stirred cocktails are drinks made by stirring ingredients in an ice-filled beaker with a cocktail spoon before being strained into a glass. They are often served without ice — also known as straight up — and are very spirit-forward. Notable examples of stirred drinks include Manhattans and the many variations of the martini. The reason that these drinks are stirred is that we want as little water to enter the drinks as possible in the process to chill them. Shaking the drink would have crushed the ice and allowed more water to dilute the drink.

So why are these drinks bad for hydration? Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it will dehydrate you by causing your body to expel more fluids than it takes in. Since stirred drinks have a much higher concentration of alcohol than shaken or mixed drinks, the higher alcohol concentration would increase the diuretic effect on your body, dehydrating you faster. Therefore, in order to provide adequate hydration, replace stirred drinks with mixed drinks that have less alcohol by volume, such as drinks served in tall ice-filled glasses mixed with a higher proportion of nonalcoholic ingredients.

Cocktails that are fun and hydrating

Since alcohol dehydrates you, the best cocktails to maintain hydration are ones that are made with a lot more nonalcoholic fluids than alcohol by volume. For example, club soda or seltzer water is a fantastic mixer for tall cocktails. A drink such as a vodka soda, served with ice, contains a lot more water by volume, and therefore a more hydrating drink compared to a much more spirit-forward stirred drink such as a vodka martini.

Another good addition to make a hydrating cocktail is fruit juices, which provide additional flavor to the drink in addition to sugars and other nutrients. Some of the fruits that are best for hydration include watermelons, pineapples, and strawberries; all of them make great cocktail mixers when juiced or pureed. For example, you can hollow out a pineapple, fill it with a mixture of rum, pineapple juice, mango puree, and lime juice for a tropical-flavored alcoholic drink that is tasty and hydrating.