The Fuss About Functional - A guide to adaptogens and nootropics for you bar program

Blue and Green nonalcoholic drinks mocktails with umbrellas

Step into a vibrant and buzzing bar or restaurant, where creativity flits through the air and chatter weaves a symphony of excitement. But tonight, there's a twist in the tale. Instead of the usual suspects lining the bar, folks are raising glasses brimming with enigmatic elixirs. It's as though someone waved a wand, adding a sprinkle of enchantment to the drinks menu. Adaptogen and nootropic concoctions are stealing the spotlight! As you settle into your seat, you can't help but ponder if you're on the brink of a cerebral escapade, where flavor collides with mind-bending marvels. Cheers to sipping on smarts and swirling in serenity! 

Sure, adaptogens and nootropics might ring a bell, but perhaps you're in the dark about what they truly are or how they're destined to waltz into your bar program. Brace yourself because the adaptogens market is poised to rocket to $20.3 billion by 2031, driven by the collective craving to tame stress and quell anxiety. Adaptogens are nature's secret agents, believed to help the body dance gracefully through stress and find harmony. Nootropics—known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers—the brainiac buddies, thought to sprinkle stardust on memory, creativity, and cognitive prowess.

Here are five sensational ingredients ready to rock your menu:

Ashwagandha: This ancient herb from Ayurvedic treasure troves knows something about reducing stress and anxiety. It's like a tranquility maestro, orchestrating cortisol levels and possibly bolstering sleep quality, cognitive prowess, and the immune system's shield. Bonus: You're forgiven if you occasionally stumble over its name!

Lion's Mane Mushroom: Imagine a mushroom with a wild, lion-like mane. Known to spark cognitive fireworks, it's like a memory wizard with a hint of mood magic. Consider it a potential ally against anxiety and a formidable foe to gloomy clouds.

Spirulina: This superfood algae offers an ancient lineage and a modern cult following. Packed with antioxidants, it's like a ninja squad against cell-damaging free radicals. Guess what? It might just be your detox partner, showing heavy metals the exit door.

L-theanine: This suave amino acid from green tea is your ticket to a cognitive carnival. Say goodbye to jitters as it partner with trace caffeine to whisk you into a calm, serene embrace. Lower stress, improved sleep, and a more chill you? Count us in!

Reishi Mushroom: This plant, hailing from traditional Chinese medicine, is the Gandalf of botanicals. It soothes stress, boosts brain power, and occasionally is referred to as "the herb of immortality." It's basically a one-way ticket to Zenville after a long day's journey.

Get ready because guests aren't just asking for non-alcoholic drinks anymore. The thirst for benefits, sans the after-effects of alcohol, is real and growing. With a myriad of adaptogens and nootropics out there and a parade of cocktail substitutes striding onto the scene, get a taste of beverages like De Soi Purple Lune, Hiyo Blackberry Lemon, Drømme Awake, and Little Saints’ St Mezcal. It's not just taste; it's taste with a twist of wellness.

Disclaimer: While adaptogens and nootropics hold exciting promises, they're like intriguing puzzle pieces whose complete picture is still forming. Results can vary, and the scientific jury is still out. The claims mentioned above have yet to earn the FDA's nod of approval. So, let curiosity guide you, but let caution hold the reins.

First Published in Pr%f the Magazine, Volume 3, Sept/Oct, pg 8

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