Is there anything more iconic than a health potion? Dungeons & Dragons, The Witcher, Skyrim—doesn’t matter what you’re playing, no hero worth his XP leaves home without a whole sack of these little red lifesavers.

But this diversity means that there’s not just one way to recreate a health potion in real life. Are they supposed to be sweet? Sour? Bitter? Herby? All depends on what world you’re in—which gives me a great excuse to make four different drinks this week instead of just one!

Read more: How to make your own Witcher potions

Let’s paint the town red with these real life health potion recipes.

1. Sweet and Sour

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You’ll need:

  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 2 parts vodka
  • 0.5 parts lime juice
  • 0.5 parts raspberry cordial (optional)
  • Lemonade to taste

Method

  1. Fill a shaker half-full with ice and add all ingredients except the lemonade.
  2. Shake vigorously for 20 — 30 seconds.
  3. Strain neat into your potion vessel.
  4. Top up with lemonade.

This is the lightest red of the bunch colour-wise, and also the most accessible. The cranberry juice and cordial give it some lovely sweetness, which the lime juice and lemonade cut back before it becomes cloying.

Definitely a drink to have after a hot day adventuring; though for some reason I feel like this is a great match for a game like Prey or other sci-fi titles. Sharp zest makes me think of futuristic worlds filled with neon and plasma—or it might be that I’m currently in the middle of a new playthrough and I’m a bit obsessed. Moving on!

Inspired by: CookFiction

2. Sweet and… Sweet

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You’ll need:

  • 3 parts coconut rum
  • 1 part white rum
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • Raspberry cordial to taste

Method:

  1. Fill a shaker half-full with ice and add all ingredients.
  2. Shake vigorously for 20 — 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into your potion vessel.

Oh boy is this a sugar bomb. Some health potions heal wounds, others might cure poison too, but this one will do all that and give you a huge sugar rush as well. Flavour-wise, it reminds me a lot of a Vodka Sundowner, despite only sharing one ingredient (orange juice); though the coconut finish from the rum is enough to differentiate it nicely.

There’s no doubt about it: there’s no place for a drink this sweet and delicious in any grimdark RPG universe. I feel like these are the flavours of the health potions from Legend of Zelda, and the bright red of the potion would fit well with the LoZ aesthetic too!

If you want to really impress, try adding a little bit of pearl lustre dust for a cool spinning shimmer effect. You can find an example of this on the Gatling Laser recipe.

Inspired by: Redditor breadbasketcase

3. Thick and Fearsome

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You’ll need:

  • 1 part vodka
  • 2 parts tomato juice (preferably fresh)
  • 0.5 parts Herb simple syrup (recipe here)
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • dash Worcester sauce

Method:

  1. Fill a shaker half full with ice and add all ingredients.
  2. Either stir for 20 seconds or close shaker and pour from glass to glass gently: do not shake.
  3. Strain into your potion vessel.

Yes, it’s a Bloody Mary (and also a Swallow potion), but with a twist. By removing the Tobasco sauce and adding herbal simple syrup, you get a potion that is a little sweeter and a little more herbaceous: very apt for a drink that is usually crafted from random stuff found in an in-game forest.

This is a very adult health potion, and belongs in an equally adult game. The Witcher would be a good option. Personally, I absolutely detest tomato juice, but if you’re a Bloody Mary fan, this is a great way to experience some new flavour combos.

Inspired by: Bloody Mary

4. Dark and Fruity

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You’ll need:

  • 4 parts red wine
  • 1 part brandy
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 0.5 parts lemon juice
  • 1 part triple sec
  • Lemonade/Club soda to taste

Method:

  1. Fill shaker half-full with ice and add all ingredients except the lemonade or club soda
  2. Stir vigorously for 20 seconds.
  3. Strain into your potion vessel.
  4. Top up with lemonade or club soda.

This is essentially a simple sangria, what I like to call a cheater’s sangria. Normally, sangria is best made by letting the wine steep in sliced oranges and lemons and all kinds of fruit and spices. Because I’m lazy and I want my drink now, I skip that step and just add the juices directly. It’s a lot less subtle, but also a lot faster. Add some brandy and some triple sec into the mix, and you get a pretty potent brew that will get you back from death’s door in a hurry.

If I were to put this into a game, it would definitely be Skyrim. It’s got that balance between the maturity of the Thick and Ferocious and the sweetness of the Sweet and Sweet, as well as that intense dark red colour that fits the aesthetic of The Elder Scrolls in general. Who knew that red wine, fruit juice, triple sec and brandy all had Restore Health among their effects?

Inspired by: Sangria

I hope you’ve enjoyed these four health potion recipes! Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!

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