July 11, 2014
Summer. Images of pool parties, beach bonfires and backyard BBQs fill our minds. Combine all that socializing with an increase in thirst from sizzling hot temps and a cool, refreshing beverage is just the ticket. But most summer-themed drinks can wreck havoc on your waistline. Alcoholic beverages such as margaritas, piña coladas and mojitos are high in calories, sugar and alcohol, and even non-alcoholic beverages such as lemonade or virgin daiquiris are high in calories and sugar—which can quickly derail your healthy-eating efforts.
But all hope is not lost. You can still enjoy a refreshing summer drink without packing on the pounds. Here are our tricks and tips to make a delicious, nutritious and refreshing beverage. And if you want to take the healthy route and choose to pass on alcohol, look for the tips to make it a mocktail.
SKINNY COCKTAIL TIPS:
Avoid sugary bases for drinks, like simple syrup, added sugar, regular soda or fruit punch. Instead use fresh fruit juice. Try our Pineapple-tini. Combine 2 oz. coconut rum and 2 oz. pineapple juice in a shaker glass. Add a scoop of ice, cover and shake. Strain and pour into a martini glass.
Sparkling water (plain or fruit-flavored) - Watermelon Mint Gin Fizz (serves 4): Combine 4 cups of cubed watermelon, 3 mint leaves and 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and stir in 6 oz. gin and 1 liter of sparkling water. Place 3 cubes of frozen watermelon into each glass and top with the cocktail. Garnish with a mint leaf. (Omit the gin for an alcohol-free version.)
Use fruit puree - Peach Fizz. Blend 2 ripe peaches, 1 ripe mango and 1/2 cup of orange juice. Pour into 8 glasses; top each with 1 shot peach schnapps and 1 shot of sparkling wine (or ditch the alcohol and add orange-flavored sparkling water).
Sparkling wines- Raspberry Orange Sunrise. Blend 1 cup of orange juice and 1 oz. of organic raspberries; pour into 4 champagne glasses and top each with 4 oz. Prosecco or Cava (or sparkling water for alcohol free).
Fruit-filled ice-cubes - Place slices of fruit or whole berries in each opening of an ice cube tray and cover with water. Place in the freezer until frozen. Use in your drink for a pretty presentation.
Fresh herbs- Mint, rosemary and thyme add a big punch of flavor to any drink. Try our Blackberry Mojito. Use the end of a wooden spoon to gently crush together 1 cup of blackberries with 2 mint leaves. Add a shot of rum and top with sparkling water (omit the rum for a mocktail).
Blend it - Blending gives your drink more volume. For a Strawberry Margarita, blend 1 cup of frozen strawberries with one shot of tequila, the juice of 1/2 a lime and a splash of triple sec. The frozen berries takes the place of ice and the longer you blend the more air that gets whipped into the drink, yielding a berry big drink! (Use only juice and fruit for a virgin margarita.)
Use what's in season! Let fresh fruits (berries, peaches, mango, pineapple, watermelon) flavor your drink instead of sugar, as in this summer sangria. In a large pitcher, place 1 pint of organic strawberries, hulled and halved, 2 oranges, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch smiles, 2 fresh peaches, pitted and cut into chunks, and top with 3 bottles of white wine (dry, such as Pino Grigiot) and let sit at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, add 1 liter of sparkling water (orange essence) to the pitcher.
Try low-calorie alcohol bases- Shochu (Japenese) and soju (Korean) have only 35 calories per 2-ounce serving (compared to 120 calories for 2 oz. vodka). Try this Rockin' Cosmo: Mix 1 oz. shochu with 1 oz. Chambord, 1 oz. orange juice and the juice of 1/2 a lime. Shake in a martini shaker and pour.
Fewer ingredients means fewer calories.
U Rock Girl!Contributor
Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N., are the co-founders of U Rock Girl!, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life. They have just authored the rockin' breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast! available at www.URockGirl.com