Cocktails for Athletes: 5 Drinks That Can Speed Recovery

Alcohol is no nutritionist’s ideal post-workout drink. But let’s be honest — if you’ve just battled through an after-work run or basketball game, it’s exactly what you want. And while drinking hard does not aid recovery, we know that one or two cocktails won’t prevent you from making gains. Better yet, if you use a few choice ingredients — like chrysanthemum tea or carrot juice, included in our cocktails below — your boozing can actually provide muscle-aiding benefits.

Hot Toddy
Good news, whiskey drinkers. This classic should have a place in your post-run rotation, especially as fall race season blows in. “I think some cocktails can help with being sick or making you feel better after a hard workout,” says Kevin Diedrich, legendary San Francisco barman and cocktailier. “For instance, a Hot Toddy with brandy, lemon, honey, and bitters can ease some pain or soothe a sore throat.” And Diedrich’s Hot Toddy is good for your most important muscle, too — your heart. It has a spike of Chrysanthemum tea, which is known for helping with hypertension and high blood pressure.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Yamazaki 12 Japanese Whisky
  • 1/2 oz Lemon
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
  • 3 oz Hot Chrysanthemum Tea
  • 2 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish Lemon Peel studded with cloves

Americano
This isn’t your typical barista-made Americano. This is Diedrich’s own boozy recipe. “I love an Americano — which is sweet vermouth, Campari, and soda — for afternoons after a workout,” he says. "It’s low-proof, refreshing, and won't make you tipsy."

Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 oz Campari
  • 1 1⁄2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Soda water to top
  • Orange for garnish

The Blue Mamontauk
If you’re vegan or have hopped on the coconut-water bandwagon to replace electrolytes lost during intense gym sessions and workouts, then this is the drink to order when you belly up to the bar. “Originating from The Surf Lodge in Montauk, this drink is vegan-friendly, fairly low in calories and carbs, and serves as the perfect recovery drink for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise,” author and Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award Nominee Warren Bobrow says. “They’re refreshing and are packed with antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Mamont Vodka
  • 3 oz Thai Coconut Water
  • 1 oz Sweetened Coconut Milk
  • 3 drops blue all-natural Butterfly Pea Extract
  • Garnish with an orange slice

Beet the Mammoth
Recent medical studies have shown beet juice to improve blood flow and increase muscle restoration. It’s a key ingredient to this drink, along with a protein-packed egg white — you’ve basically got yourself a post-gym shake. “Also, beets are one of the best foods to help with a natural ‘lift’ in sexual performance,” Bobrow says. “Packed with protein and a touch of citrus, the Beet the Mammoth is the perfect post-workout cocktail.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Mamont Vodka
  • Puff of Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 tbsp Beet Juice
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • Sprig of dill

Prep:

  • Boil the beets, let cool and juice, set aside.
  • Chill a coupe glass with ice and water; pour out when glass is frosty.
  • Spray the inside of the coupe with the Dry Vermouth.
  • Into a Boston Shaker, add the egg white and the lemon juice. Dry shake hard for 15 seconds.
  • Add ice to fill 3/4.
  • Add the Beet Juice and the Mamont Vodka to the Boston Shaker.
  • Re-cap and shake hard for at least 15 seconds.
  • Double strain into the pre-chilled, Dry Vermouth puffed coupe and garnish with the dill.

The Strong Siberian
This is the cooler older brother of the White Russian, and it could almost pass for inclusion in a juice cleanse. First off, it contains carrot juice, "a powerhouse for vitamin A and a crucial element for top performance,” Bobrow says. It also has ample amounts of vitamins C, D, E, and K, as well as many minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Mamont Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Raki – Turkish Anise liqueur
  • 4 oz Carrot Juice
  • Large cube ice

Prep:

  • Fill a Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice, add vodka, Raki, and carrot juice.
  • Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds.
  • Strain over 1 large cube of ice in an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with orange zest. Pro tip: “Hand cut always — never use a peeler!”