Slim Down Your Summer Cocktails

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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Slim Down Your Summer Cocktails

Who doesn’t love a cool cocktail by the pool in the summer? I sure do—in moderation, of course, but too many mid-afternoon margaritas will not only leave you feeling tipsy, they can also leave your scale tipping in the wrong direction. Switching to water after one or two is always best, but there are some easy ways to cut calories and still enjoy an adult beverage. Here are 5 easy tricks to lighten up some of those popular summertime cocktails:

When it comes to fruit juice, trade a glass for a splash Fruit juices are popular mixers—particularly for vodka drinks, but those concentrated sugars add up to extra calories. Instead of filling an entire glass with the sweet stuff (I’m looking at you, cranberry juice cocktail), opt for hydrating seltzer water and just a splash of juice instead. Calories saved per drink: 95

Make your own margarita mix Just one half-cup (or 4 ounces) of store-bought margarita mix can pack on 26 grams of sugar. This homemade skinny margarita made with fresh orange juice has only 8 grams—which just goes to show, fresh is best. Calories saved per drink: 72

Sip on a mimosa spritzer No champagne? No problem. Combine 1 ounce of orange juice and 4 ounces of white wine with 1 ounce of seltzer for crisp, low-cal mimosa this summer. Calories saved per glass: 25

Have a chocolate martini instead of a mudslide If you prefer your cool, summer dessert in a glass, opt for a chilled chocolate martini instead of 8 ounces of a traditional mudslide, which is typically made with whole milk or ice cream. Calories saved per drink: About 270

Lighten up your piña colada Traditional piña coladas can pack over 500 calories per drink. Try swapping out the coconut cream and coconut milk for hydrating coconut water, which has zero fat and fewer calories. To make your own lightened up piña, mix 2 ounces of coconut rum with 5 ounces of coconut water and 2 ounces of pineapple juice. Calories saved per cocktail: At least 300

Got a slimming trick for your favorite summer cocktail? Share it with us in the comments!

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

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16 responses to “Slim Down Your Summer Cocktails”

  1. Avatar Laura Rose says:

    Instead of juice, I’ll use a single packet of crystal light. (and mix with skinny margarita, for example) low cal and just as delicious!!

    • Avatar Kathee myers says:

      How is crystal light as a mixer with alcohol? I bought some fruit punch cl to mix with Malibu for poolside but I’m afraid it will be gross. Thoughts?

      • Avatar Megan Lewis says:

        I love drinking crystal light with my mixed drinks!! never hurts to try fun flavors either! most common i would say is lemonade and vodka!

  2. Avatar Mike Herbst says:

    Sounds trite, but learn to like Bourbon and Whiskey, preferably in Highball-style drinks. A conservatively-sized “Scotch & Soda” is ~60cal. A Whiskey-Sour is less than 100cal and if you substitute agave syrup is less than 80!

  3. Avatar 4lafz says:

    Orange juice for a margarita. Interesting. Gonna have to check out that change up

  4. Avatar Danielle Nicol says:

    I love to do vodka, soda water, with a splash of juice. Or instead of juice, I’ll throw some fresh fruit in. It’s a great refreshing summer drink!

  5. Avatar Kellypatridge says:

    Cucumber vodka (brand name Rain) and water with a lemon or like wedge. Very refreshing without all the calories of a mixer!

  6. Avatar Pam Pimentel says:

    Gin or vodka
    lemon crystal lite and fresh mint – the mint helps kill the artificial sweetener taste

  7. Avatar Pam Pimentel says:

    Basil gimlet – vodka or gin, Basil leaves, ice, fresh lime juice, Truvia and a splash of water shaken

  8. Avatar KellJ says:

    My fast-and-skinny margherita won’t be the best you’ve ever tasted, but the only calories are from the tequila. Use good old Fresca, punch it up with as much fresh lime juice as you like and then add tequila to liking….Play with your own proportions to get the flavor balance/imbalance/profile that you want.

  9. Avatar KellJ says:

    My fast-and-skinny margherita won’t be the best you’ve ever tasted, but the only calories are from the tequila. Use good old Fresca, punch it up with as much fresh lime juice as you like and then add tequila to liking….Play with your own proportions to get the flavor balance/imbalance/profile that you want.

  10. Avatar KellJ says:

    My fast-and-skinny margherita won’t be the best you’ve ever tasted, but the only calories are from the tequila. Use good old Fresca, punch it up with as much fresh lime juice as you like and then add tequila to liking….Play with your own proportions to get the flavor balance/imbalance/profile that you want.

  11. Avatar Megan Lewis says:

    I like blueberry flavored vodka (smirnoff) with ….. Just had a brain loss for what it is! not tonic….. but the other clear non-alcohol ugh when i think of it I will be back but it is yummy! flavored alcohol helps

  12. Avatar orca says:

    Gin and DIET TONIC. Zero total carbs or sugar! Save 124 calories and 32g sugar using diet tonic. Who knew?? You can drink 10 of these no sweat! As long as you’re walking home

  13. Avatar orca says:

    Try The Panda: Muddle cucumber. Gin or vodka. Club soda. Drop of Lille blanc or st Germaine. No carbs or sugar but for a tiny in the drop of sweet wine. Refreshing cucumber!

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