All Juice Everything: Exploring the Thirst for Drinkable Kale

Do you juice?

Juices at Melvin's Juice Box (photo: Liz Barclay)

Juices at Melvin's Juice Box (photo: Liz Barclay)

Juicing—the I-do-yoga-and-only-wear-hemp-and-eat-plants kind, not the steroid-induced-big-muscles kind—has taken over the country (or at least the I-do-yoga-and-listen-to-Taylor-Swift part of the country). Maybe that’s an overstatement, but it feels that way—there are an absurd number of stand alone juice bars popping up from NYC to L.A. Brands like BluePrintCleanse are even making their ways on to the shelves of your local Whole Foods.

The New York Times said it best in a big feature this week, pointing out juicing is no longer relegated only to “zealots from the raw-food fringe or Hollywood celebrities who believed that a ‘juice cleanse‘ would nudge their toned bodies even closer to radiant perfection.” While it is definitely healthy, and much more accessible to the average consumer, it is still quite expensive. Bottles from places likes BluePrintCleanse and Organic Avenue are typically anywhere from $12–$15. Unless you have the bank account of Gwyneth Paltrow, that ain’t chump change.

Most of the more popular brands have only been around for the past seven or so years, though the craze really started to take off on a mass scale much more recently. Some people like Melvin Major Jr, the man behind the Melvin’s Juice Bar in Soho, has been at it for more than 20 years. After all, it takes time to perfect the the art of making “kale, collard greens, beets, apple, lemon, ginger, red onions, garlic, red cabbage, green cabbage, tomatoes, [and] cayenne pepper” all taste good together, as he does in his “Real V8 Juice.”

You can now find kale and spinach juice cocktails mixed with your favorite liquors and finished with snap-pea syrup at your neighborhood cocktail bar.

Even big time chefs and restauranteurs are getting into the juice game. Danny Meyer has already opened Creative Juice within select Equinox Health Clubs. He insists that what sets apart his juices from the competition is that his focus isn’t simply on how many live enzymes he can pack into a cup of juice resembling pond water; instead,  Meyer is more interested in the flavor of his juices and is including ingredients such as cacao nibs and shiso leaves in the blends. He is hoping to create a juicing empire that can mimic the trajectory of his nouveau burger chain, Shake Shack.

Perhaps the best evidence of how pervasive the juicing craze really is comes from places you might least expect: You can now find kale and spinach juice cocktails mixed with your favorite liquors and finished with snap-pea syrup at your neighborhood cocktail bar, reports Grubstreet. Adding alcohol to cold-pressed juice is the nutritional equivalent of deep-frying sweet potatoes—it may taste great, but it negates most of the health benefits. That’s not stopping establishments such as the Living Room Bar & Terrace in NYC from offering drinks such as arugula-spiked margaritas.

If drinking a farm’s-worth of vegetables all day long (like this woman interviewed by Bon Appetit), isn’t your cup of tea (er, juice…), do not fret. Due to the relatively high cost, most people seem to use juice to replace the occasional meal or after a night of heavy indulgence. A wide range of home juicers are on the market, which can help reduce the cost of the juice lifestyle. Furthermore, places like Williams & Sonoma are even offering classes on juicing techniques—whatever those may be. Pretty sure getting your juice on is as easy as buying juicer, juicing produce, and trying not to focus on the fact that the result is a questionable shade of green.

 

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