Migraine-Friendly Cocktails & Mocktails for Mother's Day


Many migraine sufferers report having migraine attacks that are set off by as little as one glass of wine. If you suffer from migraines, you might avoid drinking alcohol for this very reason.


However, the relationship between migraines and alcohol is very complex.


In this guide from Aculief, we explain why alcohol doesn’t necessarily trigger migraines in everyone and what you should drink if you suffer from migraine headaches.


And for some Mother’s Day fun, we finish off with five migraine-friendly cocktails and mocktails — so you can truly enjoy this special day.


Does Alcohol Really Cause Migraines?

The idea that certain foods and drinks can trigger migraines isn’t new. For some people, cheese can set off migraines. For others, it’s citric fruit. However, for many more, one major culprit is alcohol.


The International Headache Society defines two types of headaches that are caused by alcohol: Immediate alcohol-induced headache (which develops within three hours of drinking) and delayed alcohol-induced headache (which is essentially a hangover headache).


The above headache types are usually caused by drinking a large amount of alcohol. In those with migraines, however, a headache can be set off by as little as one cocktail.


Studies show that 30% of those who suffer from migraines report alcohol as an occasional trigger. About 10% of all migraine sufferers experience a migraine almost every time they drink.


While the relationship between alcohol and migraines clearly exists, researchers aren’t sure exactly why this is the case. It’s likely that different compounds found in alcohol — such as histamine, flavonoids, and sulphite — can trigger migraines in different people.


This theory best explains why only some types of alcohol trigger migraines in people. For instance, many people experience migraines after drinking red wine, while others only have their migraines triggered by hard liquors.


If you suffer from migraines, does this mean that you should avoid all alcohol? Absolutely not!


For most people, alcohol isn’t a trigger for migraine attacks. And even if you consider alcohol a trigger, it might be worth it to experiment with different alcoholic drinks to see if they have the same effect.


In the next section, we’ll go over some types of alcohol for you to consider.


Which Is the Best Alcohol for Migraines?



The best type of alcohol for migraines depends on the individual.


For many people, red wine is the most significant migraine trigger. This is  likely because red wine contains high amounts of histamine, which can trigger a headache in those who can’t break down histamine easily. Compared to white wine, red wine can contain up to 200 times as much histamine.


However, other migraine sufferers report no reaction to red wine, but some reaction to white wine or sparkling wine. A small number of people even get headaches from drinking clear spirits.


If you suffer from migraines, the best thing you can do is stay in-tune with your body and experiment with different types of alcohol. If you notice a correlation between a certain alcohol type and a migraine attack, then it’s best to steer clear of it.


It can also help to stick to “clean” versions of your favorite alcohol types. When it comes to wines, the clean versions are usually those grown without pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, they don’t have anything artificial — and potentially migraine-inducing — added to enhance their flavor.


As far as liquors go, it’s best to go for options that are distilled multiple times, which gets rid of impurities that can trigger migraines. In addition, it might also help to avoid liquors that are aged in oak barrels, as this technique is linked to migraines.


To give you some ideas for cocktails and mocktails that can help avoid triggering a migraine, head on over to the following section. 


5 Migraine-Friendly Mother’s Day Cocktails & Mocktails

1. Anti-Inflammatory Vodka-Soda



What’s In It?


  • 1 ounce “clean” vodka (triple-distilled vodka without any additives)
  • A handful of fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Seltzer water


To make this cocktail, muddle the blackberries with lemon juice and rosemary in a tall glass. Fill the cup with ice. Finally, pour in the vodka and seltzer water.


What Makes It Migraine-Friendly?


This cocktail uses vodka without any migraine-triggering additives. Plus, the flavorful blackberries in this cocktail contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Rosemary is another anti-inflammatory ingredient with many compounds shown to have a pain-reducing effect.


2. Espresso Martini



What’s In It?


  • 1 ounce “clean” vodka
  • 2 ounces chilled espresso
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener of choice


To make this cocktail, pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a martini glass and serve immediately.


What Makes It Migraine-Friendly?


While the relationship between caffeine and migraines is complicated, for some people, this ingredient can reduce headache pain. This ingredient constricts blood vessels, taking pressure off the surrounding nerves. If this is the case for you, then combining coffee with pure vodka can make for a migraine-friendly (and delicious) cocktail.


3. “Clean” Red Wine Spritzer



What’s In It?


  • ½ cup organic, biodynamic, and light-bodied wine
  • ½ sparkling water


To make this cocktail, combine the ingredients in a wine glass. If you wish, you can add some ice to cool it down. Garnish the cocktail with an orange slice.


What Makes It Migraine-Friendly?


We know that wine can be a trigger for some migraine sufferers. But what kind of wine you drink makes a huge difference.


Organic and biodynamic wines are those that use sustainable practices, which means no pesticides or fertilizers. Plus, these wines don’t have any additives to enhance their flavor, which could prevent a migraine for many people.


Last, going for a light-bodied wine means that it’s not aged in an oak barrel, which can be a significant trigger for some migraine sufferers.


4. Pear No-Jito



What’s In It?


  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 slices fresh lime
  • ¼ cup pear juice
  • Sparkling water


Muddle the mint, basil, lime, and pear juice in a tall glass. Try not to overdo it — about 10 light muddles is enough to release the flavors.


Next, fill the glass with ice and top it off with sparkling water. You garnish this cocktail with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.


What Makes It Migraine-Friendly?


This cocktail doesn’t use any alcohol, which is a great option for those who aren’t sure which alcohols trigger their migraines. In addition, this cocktail is full of delicious anti-inflammatory herbs.


5. Strawberry Spritzer (Non-Alcoholic)



What’s In It?


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup white cane sugar (or a sugar substitute of your choice)
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Sparkling water


To make this cocktail, you first have to make a strawberry simple syrup. This part is easy — Just combine the strawberries, ginger, and sugar with one cup of water. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and add the fennel seeds in the last five minutes.


Once your syrup has cooled down, strain it to get rid of the fruit.


Finally, pour some syrup into a glass filled with ice and top it off with sparkling water.


What Makes It Migraine-Friendly?


Similar to the cocktail above, this one doesn’t use any alcohol. However, if you wish to add a clean liquor, then it pairs perfectly well with vodka, gin, tequila, AND whiskey.

Happy Mother’s Day from Aculief

Having a cocktail on a holiday like Mother’s Day is all part of the fun. Just because you suffer from migraines, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a boozy libation on this special day. With these five cocktail & mocktail ideas from Aculief, you can unwind and enjoy yourself — with no migraine in sight.


Of course, drinking the right type of alcohol — or avoiding it altogether — is just one part of your migraine management strategy. For added relief, Aculief has a full selection of medication-free migraine relief products for you to discover.



Our Sources:
8.1.4 Alcohol-Induced headache | ICHD-3
Could Oak Be the Culprit Behind Wine Headaches? | The Seattle Times
Alcohol and Migraine: Trigger Factors, Consumption, and Mechanisms: A Review | PMC
The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment | PMC