Comedian Patton Oswalt once asked, "Do you think you have a problem when you refer to all alcohol as 'pain-go-bye-bye-juice'?" It's a question that resonates with lushes world-round. Somewhere along the line it was decided that alcohol improves things; it makes your banter more witty, your date more attractive, your libido more active, your liver—well, let's just forget about the liver. But despite our societal obsession with self-medication, booze isn't always the best ingredient to cure whatever ails us. These fix-it, non-alcoholic elixirs might not get you (or Patton Oswalt) off the sauce for good, but they'll replenish your body, mind and soul enough to justify some more binge-drinking.
Go green at Kopi Cafe
Gym rats have been guzzling wheatgrass for years, but Roman gladiators preferred barley grass for a performance boost—no surprise considering that green barley juice packs five times the iron as spinach, seven times the vitamin C as oranges, eleven times the calcium in milk and an enormous wallop of B12.
For an easy dose of the stuff, get to guzzling the Antioxidant Green Juice Drink ($3.75) at Kopi. Twelve antioxidant-packed ounces of organic barley grass, amino acids and chlorophyll are sweetened with natural apple or pear cider in this healthful libation. Chlorophyll has been linked to cancer prevention and apple cider has been known to control blood pressure. Together, the ingredients in this powerful potion stimulate circulation, cleanse the body, inhibit disease and even counter body odor.
Get enlightened at Butterfly Social Club
Somewhere along the line, we all got in into our heads that a wild night out wasn't worth remembering if you could—er, remember it. But there's no reason that an all-night bender has to culminate in you paying homage to the muscular curves of the porcelain throne.
Butterfly Social Club offers an inspired menu of non-alcoholic tonics, but if you aren't ready to abandon all social lubrication, opt for the Enchanted Kava Kava ($6). Made of organic kava from Vanuatu, New Guinea, this drink is served on ice with organic Illinois apple cider and a touch of cinnamon. An anesthetic, kava is wildly popular in the Pacific Islands for its euphoric-inducing high. Earthy and full-bodied, the mild muscle relaxant will help you forget all of the little anxieties of life after each sip.
Get your daily boost at Karyn's Raw
A metropolitan mentality means rarely pounding the pavement without a latte, bubble tea or iced coffee in hand. But as far as commuter-friendly beverages are concerned, how did we collectively decide that diuretics are the way to go?
For a refreshing take-out tipple, try the Ginger Blaster ($6.99), a frothy concoction resembling the stuff that spewed out of your grade-school volcano, at Karyn's. Known to counter nausea, motion sickness and run-of-the mill bellyaches, ginger has been used for ages to quell uncomfortable eruptions, and it has also been lauded to help with arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Karyn's blend comes with a bite that makes the strongest sushi garnish seem like kid's stuff: The potent ginger is married with the raw-diet staple rejuvelac, a fermented wheat tonic loaded with enzymes and nutrients and revered for its extreme intestine-replenishing attributes. The Blaster is lightened up with antioxidant-loaded raw honey, a sweetener that wages jihad on free radicals, doles out flavonoids and helps counter allergies.
Get sexy at Cousin's Incredible Vitality
It's easy to get intimidated by the whole "living food" thing; hell, most people can't get past the 118 degree barrier. Good thing that this raw food restaurant's Magu Beauty Tea Elixir ($5) is on the warmer end of the spectrum. This tea is a complex brew of all the pungent herbs you'd have no problem eating if they didn't smell so bad. Lycium is the fancy-pants name for the plant that yields goji berries, a fruit that nurtures the yin, improves vision and nourishes the blood. Tibetan rhotiola improves the consumption of oxygen, reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. Siberian ginseng increases stamina and kick-starts your yang, while schizandra beautifies the skin, sharpens the mind and prevents eye fatigue.
The well-balanced blend is actually pretty tasty, reminiscent of a Ricola cough suppressant or a mild swig of Frenet Branca. And, together these herbs do wonders for the sex life, countering impotence, replenishing the sexual fluids and increasing the libido. That's balance, beauty and booty all rolled into one tepid tea.
Quench your thirsty soul at Bobtail Soda Fountain (Broadway)
For generations, desperate people have been searching for a concoction that'll anoint them with eternal youth. Despite all of the snake oil salesmen and overpriced topical creams, the masses have always aged—never suspecting that answer's been at an ice cream shop all along: Nursing a root beer float on a warm spring day makes you feel like a kid again.
At Bobtail, a can of Mug Root Beer comes poured over a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, crowned with a plastic dome and garnished with an extra-long spoon. The drink's familiar scent comes from safrole, a carcinogen-laden extract from the root-bark of the sassafras plant. Still illicitly used in the production of ecstasy and legally used as a primary ingredient in insecticide, the ingredient was banned by the FDA in the 1960s, but the aromatic legacy lives on in modern-day root beers. That means you get all the soul-nourishing benefits of sipping the nostalgic treat without the risk of cancer. It also beats the heat during the dog days of summer and bubbles like a witch's brew. Norman Rockwell eat your heart out.