The holidays can be troublesome for people with IBS. Beside all the rich, hearty food that can exacerbate digestive issues, holiday gatherings often mean more alcohol consumption. The American Addiction Centers suggest that a quarter of the spirit industry’s profits come from the month between Thanksgiving and the New Year. A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that people with IBS are more likely to experience diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion after a night of binge drinking.
Staying away from alcohol may seem prohibitive, restrictive, and just plain not fun during the holidays, but according to David Mor, this does not have to be the case. Mor is the beverage director at Robert et Fils restaurant in Chicago and founder of Mor Hospitality, a company that offers virtual bartending classes and consulting services for restaurants around the city. Spirit-free beverages (or cocktails without any alcohol) form a large part of his crafted menus.
“Personally, I opt for spirit-free drinking often, simply out of exhaustion and the feeling in the aftermath of a full bottle of Champagne [yes, you heard me right],” he said.
Mor reiterates the idea that the holidays can be a difficult time to find the right drink, especially for those with dietary restrictions. He encourages those with IBS to remain optimistic and open-minded when it comes to low-FODMAP beverage options. As for what to exactly to look for when shopping for these options, Mor suggests the following:
Find some non-alcoholic brands that make low-sugar alternatives (e.g., Lyre’s, Seedlip, Optimist Botanicals).
Create your own syrups with low-FODMAP ingredients to add a layer of flavor and nuance.
“Lengthen” drinks so they are effervescent, “gorgeous,” and rounded out. Great lengtheners include anything from Fever-Tree to Q mixers (found in the liquor aisle of retail stores like Target).
Taking these steps into account and using the creativity he and his hospitality company are known for, Mor developed these delicious spirit-free cocktail recipes exclusively for the IBS Life audience!
· 2 oz. Seedlip Spice 94
· 1 oz. fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
2. Add the tangerine juice first, then the spirit.
3. Top off the glass with the ginger ale, then stir gently.
Seedlip’s Spice 94 has seasonal notes of allspice and cardamom that work well with the rounder, sweeter flavors of tangerine, a low-FODMAP citrus. The spiced orange ginger ale only augments the flavors found within and add effervescence to “lengthen” the drink.
· 1.5 oz Lyre's White Cane Spirit
· 0.5 oz Lyre's Aperitif Rosso
· 0.75 oz blueberry syrup
· 0.25 oz lemon juice
· 3 oz Q Tonic
1. Create a classic simple syrup by boiling 2 cups of water, then adding 2 cups of white sugar. Let the syrup cool.
2. Blend 1/2 cup of blueberries with 2 cups of simple syrup.
3. Use a fine mesh strainer to fine-strain blueberry syrup into a separate container.
4. Fill a highball glass with ice.
5. Add 0.75 oz of blueberry syrup into the glass, then add the lemon juice and spirits.
6. Stir over ice, then top off with the tonic.
The White Cane Spirit is inspired by rum, whose sweetness is countered by the bitterness of the vermouth-like Aperitif Rosso. Low-FODMAP blueberries add fruity touch to this spritz, at the same time reducing the amount of sugar the drink requires. Although the blueberry syrup made before mixing the cocktail may be more than needed, Mor says the extra syrup can be used to develop fresh, new spirit-free cocktail ideas.
“I would avoid looking at spirit-free beverages as "restrictive" or "reduced" from what you're typically able to drink,” said Mor. “There are so many delicious ingredients and alternatives available to really find something for everyone.”