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Healthier Alcohol That Won't Leave You with a Massive Hangover

Lower-Sugar Wine

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Love a glass of wine or two with your casual backyard dinner, but hate the sugar-induced headache the next day (sometimes even that same night)? Enter: FitVine, a wine company that was started by fitness enthusiasts. FitVine uses a proprietary extended fermentation process to lower the sugar level in their wines to just 0.2g per 5-ounce glass. Typical sugar content for a glass of white is 1.4g and reds have 0.9g per glass—not outrageous, but sugar grams add up quickly.

FitVine's white wines average 90 calories per glass, while their reds are 95 calories. This compares to 119 calories for typical white wines and 122 calories for reds. FitVine's fermentation process also boosts the antioxidant level in the wine, while also reducing the sulfites.

Photo: FitVine Wine

Mezcal with Benefits

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The word tequila might immediately conjure up a wild night of debauchery, followed by a raging hangover. But there is such a thing as a "clean" tequila, and it's called mezcal. First, it would help to think of mezcal and tequila as family members, with mezcal being the fit, clean-eating cousin of tequila. Most tequilas (like the "well" kind in your margarita) are a blend of the liquor, blue agave, sugar, and a slew of other potential additives.

Mezcal, such as Gem & Bolt's Mexican-made mezcal, is crafted with 100 percent organic, fair trade, and sustainably grown agave, ensuring a cleaner, purer liquor. It's also distilled with damiana, a flowering herb grown in Mexico that was used by the Aztecs to treat everything from stomach ailments to sore muscles. The damiana contributes herbaceous notes to the pleasantly smoky mezcal. Try sipping it straight up or in one of the brand's inventive cocktails.

Photo: Gem & Bolt

Beer Spritzer

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Combining the cult-level popularity of flavored seltzer with the feel-good vibes of beer, the Harpoon UFO Blueberry Lemonade Beer is made with Polar Seltzer. Each 12-ounce can is just 4.8 percent alcohol by volume, compared to the average of 5.9 percent in craft beers. Less alcohol per crack of a can means you're less likely to end up accidentally more drunk than you anticipated (moderation still important!). This refreshing beer is fizzier than most, with subtle berry and citrus notes—perfect for enjoying on your first grassy picnic or BYOB outdoor brunch.

Photo: Harpoon Brewery

Superdry Cider

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If you've ever overdone it on super-sweet hard cider that tasted more like a candy apple than like alcohol, you may have written off this drink category for good. Raging headaches are more likely with sugary alcoholic drinks after all. Good news: Golden State Cider is crafting apple ciders in Northern California that are decidedly unsweet and offer the crispness of the fresh fall fruit. Their Bay Brut is made with 100 percent fresh-pressed apples and Champagne yeast. It's fermented until literally all the sugar is gone, leaving you with a beverage that's bone dry but somehow still refreshing. It's also gluten-free and vegan, so everyone can enjoy it.

Photo: Golden State Cider

Table Beer

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No summer BBQ or party would be complete without a couple of cold ones. But everyone knows what happens when carbs and salty food (burgers, hot dogs, fries!) mix with beer—suddenly you're three hot dogs in and you've lost track of your beverage count. While Allagash brews some beer with ABVs of 9 percent, their latest offering is considerably less punchy at just 4.8 percent. The Hoppy Table Beer is a traditional Belgian-style "table beer," which means it's meant to be enjoyed throughout the course of a meal without putting you under the table. Coriander and extra hops are added for hints of melon and citrus.

Photo: Allagash Brewing Co.

Kombucha Hybrid

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With the epic growth in the kombucha market, it was only a matter of time before someone started mixing the fermented tea with beer. Enter Boochcraft, maker of organic, high-alcohol, gluten-free kombucha. They start with a typical batch of kombucha, then put it through a secondary fermentation with a proprietary yeast to increase the alcohol to 7 percent. (BTW, kombucha naturally has trace amounts of alcohol.) And Boochcraft contains live probiotics, so you can get your buzz on, boost your gut health, and still make sunrise yoga the next day.

Photo: Hale Production Studios

Clear Rum

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If you've ever been on a Booze Cruise, you know the underlying evils of rum. It's so deliciously drinkable—especially when mixed with sweet stuff—but one drink too many will leave you feeling seasick even when you're back on dry land. The secret ingredient that's responsible for the hangover: congeners. Congeners are naturally occurring compounds in alcohol that form during the distillation and fermentation process, and studies show that they play a role in making a hangover worse.

Dark-colored boozes, such as bourbon and scotch, are higher in congeners than clear liquor, such as rum and vodka. Batiste Rhum makes sure their distillation process is as clean as possible. They start with pure, non-GMO sugar cane juice that is sourced from a single plantation in the French Caribbean. It's then distilled just once, ensuring an end result that's both smooth and hangover-free. You can even go on a beach run the next morning.

Photo: Batiste

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