From Detox to Retox

Flipping through this weekend’s New York Times Sunday Styles section, I was struck by a story about the ubiquity of freshly pressed juices at this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Besides engendering a deep and abiding respect for the article’s author, Eric Wilson, who spent the bulk of his article calling bullsh*t, the article also piqued my curiosity.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the slow creep of healthfulness into our drinking culture (a phenomenon that was, just this past week, given the status of certified trend by the NYT dining section). Even though it seems deeply counterintuitive, these health-driven juiceries are now selling themselves not only as the most disgusting way to skip lunch, but also as a healthy boost to your cocktail consumption.

Sure, they seem to be saying, vodka’s not the best thing for your liver, but if you mix it with our Pineapple-Mint-Ginger juice, you’re at least imbibing some anti-oxidants with all that nasty alcohol!

Another problem, addressed briefly in the article, of course, is that not all fresh-pressed juices are created equal and it’s easy to, as one fashionista put it, “juice your way into a bigger jean size.”

My first and last experience with fresh juices echoes this sentiment – the first time I tried a juicing diet I gained five pounds. The last time I went to a juicery, I walked out with a bottle of pineapple juice that had 50 grams of sugar to a bottle that I downed before looking at the nutritional info. The daily-recommended dose of sugar tops out at 25 grams. It took me two days to recover from the sugar high/crash of that juice.

Perhaps you can see why I’m wary of the approaching tidal wave of a trend towards “healthy libations” – drinking is not supposed to be healthy. If I’m ordering a cocktail, it’s not because I’m hoping to get some kind of added health benefits… its because it tastes good and it makes me feel good, too. And not in a yoga way, either.   I’m also just wary, period, of the fact that there’s a “healthy” way to get drunk. There’s certainly a healthy way to drink, but it traffics more in moderation than the added benefits of a parsley-carrot-apple puree in my whisky.

Did I mention how expensive it is? In a city where cocktails regularly cost upwards of $13, do we really need to add the exorbitant expense of fresh-pressed juices? That dangerously sugary pineapple juice I mentioned earlier? At $6.00/300ml bottle it is one of the less expensive options – the same store has prices that go up to $10.99/300ml bottle. You could get a half-decent bottle of wine for that!

Over the past few years, navigating a cocktail list has already become a complicated dance around trends, upcharges, and outsized ice balls/cubes. Let’s leave the quasi-healthy-very-expensive juices out of the equation for now, please?


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