A cleansing kale and lemon drink…with a vodka kick? You better believe it!

It’s hard to ignore the SoulCycle elite’s affinity for all things green, especially when patrons increasingly saddle up to the bar looking for anything but sugar. While juiced kale may once have seemed undesirable in cocktails, a lot can be achieved with these earthy flavors in the hands of a skilled bartender. At Saxon & Parole in NYC, head bartender Maxime Belfand is all about these new flavors and places an emphasis on seasonality with the menu — his newly added Elyxir being about as cleansing as it gets.

Oregano from the local farmers’ market provides the impetus for Belfand’s approachable cooler, made with Absolut Elyx, a high-quality vodka distilled in copper and made with single-estate wheat. An herbal syrup made from the oregano and blended with mint and kale provides a strong backbone of flavor; it’s paired with lemon juice and an apple sharpness coming from several dashes of cider vinegar. Just a quarter ounce of fresh kale juice is added for color and grassiness. To add depth, Belfand uses Carpano Bianco vermouth, which carries enough weight to cut through the vinegar.

The overall flavor is more akin to what one would expect from a vegan juice joint than a cocktail bar, though the kale integrates perfectly into the drink, with no bitterness and several layers of herbal complexity hitting the nose as one sips. While ginger has long since crossed over as an ingredient in both cocktails and juicing, the Elyxir makes one wonder if we’ll soon see ingredients like chia seeds, maca powder and kelp — now the “new kale” — pop up in a new wave of healthful drinks. It’s doubtful that bartenders will be offering wheatgrass shots with their martinis anytime soon, but then again, it might not be a terrible idea.

The Elyxir

Servings: 1 cocktail

1 ounce Absolut Elyx
1 ounce Carpano Bianco vermouth
¾ ounce oregano-mint syrup*
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ ounce fresh kale juice
4 dashes apple-cider vinegar

*For the oregano-mint syrup:

  1. Blanch several bunches of fresh oregano, kale and mint.
  2. In a blender, combine herbs with 1:1 simple syrup.
  3. Add a few dashes of Absolut vodka and vanilla.
  4. Strain well and store for later use.


  1. In a chilled highball glass, add ingredients over ice and top with Perrier.
  2. Add a straw and garnish with a thin apple slice and oregano sprig.

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate