Natalie Vavricka
August 14, 2012

Ahhhh, summer in the city. Rooftop bars, clear skies, great friends, good music, and sinful concoctions. Drinking while the sun is out feels so deliciously naughty. Sipping cocktails while ingesting panoramic views of New York City makes you wish that summer would never end. Really, can it get much better?

Apparently it can—especially if said drinks are made with freshly squeezed juices—watermelon, peaches, and pears to name just a few—AND have no added sugar or preservatives. To the health-conscious New Yorker who happens to enjoy the occasional cocktail or two this is a dream come true!

‘Healthy’ guilty pleasures
As much as I love imbibing, I’ve also been known to be a stickler about what I pour down my gullet. I do my best to stick to clear-ish liquors (vodka, rum, dry white wine/champagne) and low-to-no sugar mixers (diet soda or club soda with a splash of antioxidant-packed cherry juice). To my French boyfriend’s horror, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is Pinot Grigio (sometimes with a screw-top cap) over ice with a spritz of club soda and a handful of raspberries. Low calorie and for the most part, hangover free, gluttony.

But mixing my own drinks at home with hand-picked ingredients makes this ‘healthy’ drinking easy—I can experiment with muddled fruit and an overwhelming selection of sugar-free soda varieties. When bar hopping? Not so much.

The staff at the Mondrian Soho’s new rooftop lounge, Soaked, understands the pain of the healthy drinker. They want us to enjoy our cocktails without being bored. They appreciate our desire to not be flooded with sugars and syrups just to catch a buzz. They want our taste buds to explode with fresh fruity goodness without consuming more calories than a chocolate bar.

Strawberry, rhubarb, and basil cocktails
There is a caveat. Soaked is only open Tuesdays through Thursdays by reservation only, so you need to work this one into your calendar. Truthfully, I don’t know if I would have been in a hurry to make reservations, but my friends and I were lucky enough to have stumbled upon this gem while perusing daily deal sites. Sixty dollars per person bought us one ticket to the top (for a closed Saturday event) and two hours of all-you-can drink fresh fruit cocktails.

Not cheap, but considering that some specialty cocktails in NYC can cost upwards of $15, not completely unreasonable either.

And after a few rounds of ‘Rhub Awakenings,' a refreshing mix of infused vodka, strawberries, rhubarb, and basil, I can almost guarantee that the last thing you’ll be thinking about is the cost. The only regret I have is not trying the popsicle cocktails, but hey, at least I have a good excuse to go back (especially since the $60 didn't come with a hangover).

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