As if I didn’t already sit at the feet of my friend Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage, to take in her knowledge of all things cheese, I will now be in the same position learning about cocktails. Recently she and her brother, Andre Darlington, a cocktail columnist for Isthmus, launched Sprig + Spirit, a website dedicated to cocktails for well-being.

The sister-brother team is creating nourishing cocktails with fresh ingredients, superfoods and quality spirits. I asked Tenaya what inspired this new project.

“We see a burgeoning audience of health-conscious cocktail enthusiasts who want to integrate mindfulness into all parts of their life, including mixed drinks,” said Tenaya. “Who wants to do yoga, then sling back empty calories and wake up the next morning feeling fuzzy? We're excited to share our recipes with anyone interested in creating a sustainable lifestyle that merges superfood ingredients and quality spirits — from yogis and fitness coaches to those who love cold-pressed juices and smoothies.”

The nourishing cocktails on Sprig + Spirit make use of superfoods such as spirulina (an algae), mushrooms, and papaya and combine them with fresh juices, organic fruits and vegetables, quality spirits and wholesome sweeteners. They avoid spirits and mixers with dyes and chemical flavorings. The results are totally new creations as well as re-imagined classic cocktails like the Chia-politan, a Cosmo 2.0. A simple-to-make chia gel turns this drink into “a boozy, drinkable lava lamp.”

Chia-politan cocktail


  • 1 1/2 oz citron vodka (Stolichnaya or Ketel One)
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 11/2 oz cranberry juice (unsweetened like Knudson's Just Cranberry)
  • 1 tbsp chia gel (see below)
  • 2 oz Champagne or Prosecco
  • Lemon or orange twist, for garnish
  1. Combine vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, and chia gel in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir.
  2. Pour, leaving the ice in the mixing glass, into a chilled coupe glass or Champagne flute. Top with Champagne or Prosecco.
  3. Garnish with a twist of lemon or orange. Serve straight away.
Chia gel instructions

Soak one tablespoon of chia seeds in one cup of cold water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork. It’s helpful to make this in a jar so you can give it a good shake. Refrigerate leftovers.

There are a half-dozen other nourishing cocktail recipes on Sprig + Spirit’s Recipe Lab right now, along with some tips and resources. New recipes will be added regularly. Coming soon, the site will also feature drink collaborations with bartenders from around the country, healthy cocktail city guides, animated cocktail recipes (they already have one for their Foraged Sour), and features on cleansing cocktails and immunity cocktails.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.