How to Give Your Bar a Healthy Makeover 

Decades ago, little bar carts with a favorite bottle or two could be found tucked into corners of many homes, and sometimes even large rec rooms had built-in bar areas that quickly became the focal point for grown-up parties. But as entertaining has become more grab-and-go casual and there’s a bigger emphasis on quality craft drinks, this is the perfect era to give your bar a healthy makeover. 

Lots of adjectives get tossed around as part of the most recent changes in the craft beer, wine and cocktail scene: bubbly, light, low-carb, low-cal and minimalist are just a few. Clean and crisp are the go-to taste profiles. Heavy, syrupy and overly sweet are out. So if you find yourself needing to give your bar and your adult drink supplies a healthy once-over, here are some ways to get started. 

Give your alcohol offerings a healthy twist. Whether you want to thank millennials or just the latest health trends for pulling our bar supplies into lighter territory, there’s no denying there are a lot of new options on the market. With all the low-calorie, low-carb trends, the alcohol section in our area grocery and liquor stores are now jammed with new options. According to a recent article in Forbes, a recent study looking at beer, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink canned alcoholic beverages shows that consumption of these is forecast to increase by more than 30% by 2024 in 10 major markets, including the United States.  

For a lot of people who go beyond their favorite beer or wine, this means pre-packaged canned drinks that come in a multitude of flavors and styles. Some options that are good to stock for guests: 

  • Low-calorie, low-carb beer 
  • Low-calorie, low-carb seltzers (multiple flavors) 
  • Hard ciders 

Want to make traditional options a little lighter? Mix your favorite wine with some club soda and ice for a spritzer. Or instead of making a mixed drink, serve your favorite liquor with a splash of lemon or lime juice over ice for a cleaner drink without the sugary soda or mixer.  

Non-alcoholic options

Remember to stock non-alcoholic offerings beyond sparkling water or soda for mocktails that let guests, who don’t want to drink alcohol, enjoy a special craft drink in a festive atmosphere. This way they don’t feel left out or pressured to drink alcohol if they are trying to avoid it.  

Ingredients to add to your bar for healthier craft mocktails include no sugar added fruit juices, fresh limes and lemons, non-alcoholic lite ginger beer, muddled fruit, flavored sparkling waters and small amounts of natural sweeteners like honey. 

Snacks

Gone are the days when a lonely little bowl of mixed nuts or potato chips was the only food item displayed at the bar. These days, good hosts know a mix of tasty snacks not only is appreciated by guests, but it helps people fill up on things other than alcohol. And while nuts and chips are fine to add in, offer some healthy options, too. Charcuterie boards with a display of sliced meats, cheeses, olives and pickles are always a star attraction. But your bar food doesn’t have to be that fancy. Some ideas: 

  • Whole wheat pitas served with your favorite cheese spread 
  • Fresh veggies and dip 
  • Pretzels and peanut butter 
  • Sliced apples and chunks of cheese 
  • Salted popcorn 

Fresh fruit

Fruit at a bar? You bet. The popularity of today’s light wines, spritzers, seltzers and other fizzy pours make fruit a natural partner. You can cut up chunks of pineapple, melon, add in plump strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes on a platter, or tumble them together in a juicy sangria. Mini fruit kabobs on little skewers are great additions to any bar food spread. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

 

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