The summer is officially here which means the weekends are designated towards day drinking at the family BBQ, cottage weekends and patios galore! Unfortunately, while our first taste of summer might feel like a good excuse to power through a cheap keg, we still got a whole season of short shorts, bikinis and slinky dresses ahead. Yikes. Sounds like an unfortunate dilemma that calls for some awesome low calorie cocktails.
Low Calorie Cocktails 101
Let’s chat dos and don’ts for balanced boozing. Best we throw some solid ground rules down first.
DO: Use citrus flavoured or plain seltzer, sparkling water or club soda as a cocktail mixer.
DON’T: Use tonic or sweetened pop that’s loaded with added sugar.
DO: Use fresh or frozen no sugar added fruit, herbs and citrus to add a boost of flavour.
DON’T: Use fruit mixes or purees that are loaded with added sugar. No one needs a hangover and a sugar-rush.
DO: Pour your drinks into taller glasses with lots of ice.
DON’T: Pour your drinks into shorter wider glasses without any yummy ice. Research shows you can trick your mind into thinking your drinking more simply by switching your glassware and bulking up the portion with calorie-free ice!
DO: Limit the booze in your cocktail to 1 1/2 oz of liquor or 4 oz of wine.
DON’T: Decide to whip up a cocktail that involves the whole bar. It’s time consuming, probably will taste gross and will pack in the calories. Keep it simple, stupid.
Photo credit Bon Appetit
DO: Have a sip of water between each sip of alcohol and limit yourself to no more than 1 booze drink per lady and 2 drinks per man each day.
DON’T: Play beer pong. I know you want to pretend you’re in College again, but just don’t. You’re liver and waistline just don’t need that.
Alright, now let’s get to the low calorie cocktails themselves.
First up is my Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer. Spritzers are a great way to stretch the flavour as low calorie cocktails of your favourite white wine in a stunning and refreshing summer drink. I start with my go to wine Francois Lurton Pinot Grigio from Argentina because it has a big juicy fruit flavour of grapefruit and pineapple and a lively finish. It’s surprisingly a well-priced pick for sipping with dinner or for casual day drinking like we’re doing in this cocktail. For this cocktail, I use a melon baller to cut out pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon and freeze them on a baking tray until solid. They really help compliment the flavour of the wine, and keep your drink cool on a hot Summer day.
You can also let your guests get in on the fun by setting up a DIY spritzer bar of low calorie cocktails. Set out your favourite white wine like Francios Lurton Pinot Grigio, some sparkling water, and a variety of fresh herbs, citrus and fruit. Oh, and make sure you have some of those cute drink umbrellas. Love those.
If you’re a rum fan, you’ve got to try my Watermelon Mojito, which uses the natural sweetness of the watermelon to cut back on an excess of added sugar.
And finally, my Mango Kombucha Margarita – these are amazing low calorie cocktails. Kombucha is super trendy right now thanks to its probiotic benefits, which can aid in healthy digestion. Like the watermelon mojito, the mango here really helps you cut back on a ton of added sweetener, while the kombucha adds a tangy fizzy kick.
More of a visual person? Check out my YouTube video here where you can see the low calorie cocktails in all their glory!
Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer
- 3 oz Francois Lurton Pinot Grigio
- 1 oz Sparkling Water
- 1-2 Dashes of Lime Bitters
- Sliced Lime
- Handful of frozen melon balls
- 1 sprig Mint
- Mix together the Pinot Grigio, sparkling water, and lime bitters in a glass. Garnish with sliced lime, melon balls and mint.
- Juice of 1 lime
- Small handful of mint
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups seedless watermelon
- 1 oz rum
- Handful of ice
- 1-2 oz sparkling water
- In a tall glass, muddle together the juice of one lime with a small handful of mint and 1/2 tsp of sugar.
- Meanwhile, puree 1 1/2 cups of seedless watermelon with an ounce of rum, and a handful of ice.
- Pour the watermelon into the mint and lime mixture, and top with sparkling water.
Mango Kombucha Margarita
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen mango thawed
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 oz tequila
- Handful of ice
- 3 oz Mango Kombucha
- Puree the mango in a blender with honey, lime juice, tequila, and a handful of ice.
- Transfer to a tall glass and top with mango kombucha.
Disclaimer: The preceding video and blog post was created in paid partnership with Francois Lurton Pinto Grigio, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.