Cheers to your health

A tour of NYC cocktail haunts that serve up benefits along with the buzz.

Time to confess. Your drinks after work occasionally morph into drinner: drink/dinner. No judgment, it happens.

So we asked Jesse Schwartzman, Tier 4 trainer and registered dietician at Equinox, for a few pointers on what to drink for a regret-free night, if and when drinner should arise. His tips: Select clear liquors for fewer carbohydrates. Pick veggies over fruits for less sugar that can increase appetite, making you crave more drinks and be hungrier later. And beware of the salt; it can increase your thirst, causing you to drink more.

With that in mind, Q sought out some high quality power drinks at places worth visiting. These cocktails may never make the dieticians' list of meal replacements, but you’ll wake up guilt-free (if not famished). Behold, a tour of delicious drinner locales around the Big Apple:

cocktail bodega

The spot: Think Vitamix meets vodka. Brought to you by the masterminds of Sons of Essex, this newly opened Lower East Side bar offers a dozen spiked fresh juices and smoothies. The Cleanse Smoothie includes a cup of kale, an entire cucumber, kiwi, Anjou pear, aloe and Absolut Pear.

Drinner value: Schwartzman admired the “king of green superfoods” (kale). It wasn’t his first choice because of all the sugar from the fruits.
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king cole bar

The spot: Nestled in the St. Regis hotel, the bar originated the Bloody Mary in the States when a bartender who made the drink in Paris whipped it up for a regular in 1934. The bar didn’t approve of the name, so they dubbed it Red Snapper.

Drinner value: Schwartzman likes this option for the antioxidant lycopene-rich tomatoes, but he’s wary about the possible high salt content.
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The spot: This Chinatown hideaway features a marble bar surrounded by hundreds of antique medicine bottles and a menu that doubles as a prescription list. We love the idea of Root of the Earth under "Stress Relievers" — a mix of house made beet reduction, rum, vanilla essence, agave nectar and lime — which sounds too good to be true for drinner. Instead, we pick Fresh Start under "Health + Beauty", a combo of carrot, celery, gin oregano essence, ginger puree and lime.

Drinner value: We are right. Schwartzman dings the beet cocktail, calling it a “sugar monster.” While beet juice may be a big craze among athletes, beet reduction is all sugar. He likes our alternative for the veggies, ginger and the clear liquor.
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clover club

The spot: Under the menu’s “Drink Your Vegetables” section, you’ll find the best seller cocktail, The Green Giant. Inspired by a trip down the supermarket’s veggie aisles, the drink is gin-based with muddled sugar snap peas, a sprinkling of fresh tarragon and vermouth.

Drinner value: This even makes Schwartzman thirsty: “I can get behind that! Good find.” The tasty pluses: clear alcohol, fiber bonus with the pea muddling, and herbs.
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maison premiere

The spot: A mix of New Orleans, Paris and New York all rolled into one Brooklyn drinking establishment. Looking for an old school cocktail with some new twists? The St. Regis Fizz combines Barsol Pisco, Apry, cilantro syrup, lime and egg white. If you decide to actually chew something, the bar serves an extensive and popular menu of oysters.

Drinner value: Schwartzman gives a nod to the antioxidant-rich cilantro and deems the egg white a success for its protein boost.
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the nomad hotel bar

The spot: This boutique hotel, where Obama recently held a $40,000-a-plate fundraiser, has a posh bar with a menu rich in fresh flavors. The Clip Joint Cup includes an herbal digestif mixed with an Italian vermouth, ginger and tonic, and then shaken with cucumber. Digestifs have been used for hundreds of years as an aid for digestion and are still sold in pharmacies in Europe.

Drinner value: While Schwartzman says there’s no proof regarding digestifs, the drink is low in sugar and has ginger, which does aid digestion. He suspects it may make a better hangover cure than dinner substitute.
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