The newest power couple to hit the health scene? Beets and charcoal.
(This is the second installment of Drink to Your Health, a series of recipes for alcohol-free drinks. Each week for the month of January, we’ll feature a different drink developed for one of the various reasons that people abstain from the hard stuff.)
January is high season for the health and wellness community.
Suddenly there’s a wait for a treadmill at the gym, and the Whole Foods is out of kale. In recent years, it has also meant that everyone is on a juice cleanse, subsisting solely on the cold-pressed nectars of fruits and vegetables.
If you follow these movements—and hats off to you if you do: you have a healthier liver us—then you may have heard of the latest development in the juicing world, activated charcoal. New York City–based Juice Generation recently launched Beauty Bombs, a line of juice infused with the stuff, and Los Angeles’s Juice Served Here puts charcoal in its lemonade.
The trend caught our attention because activated charcoal has long been touted as a detox agent and hangover aid. It purportedly attaches to unwanted toxins in the body and helps dispel them.
Meet the latest detox trend: Activated charcoal.
Because the charcoal is tasteless, we started experimenting with it in drinks. We doctored our mocktails with glorified soot because, hey, it can’t hurt, right?
After a month of holiday parties, there were plenty of toxins in need of dispelling. We mixed it into lemonade like they do at Juice Served Here, but our favorite variation involved beet juice, with some lime juice to cut the sugar, aptly named Black Magic. The charcoal will turn anything and everything black, and beet juice was the one ingredient that sort of stood up to the charcoal, turning a very dark purple instead of an ominous ebony.
This is definitely a recipe you should wear an apron for: Both ingredients promise to leave stains. A small price to pay in the war against hangovers.
Kaitlyn Goalen is a writer, editor and cook based in Brooklyn and Raleigh, N.C. She is the editor and co-founder of Short Stack Editions, a series of single-subject, digest-size cookbooks, and has contributed to a variety of national publications.