How to Remix 6 Healthier Summer Cocktails

How to Remix 6 Healthier Summer Cocktails

You can still play hard, party even harder—and maintain your fitness—as long as you stick to one simple game plan: drink smart. Watch your snacking (or avoid eating entirely once you start drinking—that’s when will power starts to lag), eliminate high-calorie mixers from your glass, and don’t overindulge.

1. Gin and tonic

How bad can a simple gin and tonic be? Considering tonic water has almost as much sugary syrup as a soda, we’d say it’s pretty bad. The typical G&T has 150 calories and 14g of carbs. But by simply substituting diet tonic, you can save about a tablespoon of sugar per drink, says Marlene Koch, R.D., author of Low-Carb Cocktails: All the Fun and Taste Without the Carbs.

1 1/2 oz Tanqueray gin
5 oz sugar-free tonic water
1 lime wedge

Fill a glass with ice. Pour in gin, then add tonic. Squeeze lime wedge, and drop it into the drink.
Calories: 100 Carbs: 0.5 g


2. Margarita

A margarita made with just an ounce of sour mix can weigh in at 235 calories and 11g of carbs. Eliminate the sugar, though, and you’ll keep your drink mean and lean. Koch’s recipe:

2 oz tequila
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz lime juice
2 tsp Splenda Granular
1 lime wedge (optional)
Coarse salt (optional)

Pour tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice, and Splenda into a shaker 2/3 full of ice. Shake well. If desired, wet the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge and dip rim into salt. Strain drink into the ice-filled glass and garnish with lime.
Calories: 165 Carbs: 7g


3. Lynchburg lemonade

This Jack Daniel’s masterpiece can pack as many as 350 calories and 33g of carbs. By switching out the sour mix and lemon-lime soda for fresh lemon juice and Splenda, and by using orange extract and vodka instead of triple sec, you’ll save half the calories and 90% of the carbs, says Koch.

2 oz Jack Daniel’s
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz lemon juice
2 tsp Splenda Granular
1/8 tsp orange extract
3 oz diet lemon-lime soda
1 lemon slice

Fill a glass with ice. Pour all ingredients except soda into glass. Stir. Add soda and stir lightly. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Calories: 179 Carbs: 4g


4. Tequila sunrise

O.J. isn’t necessarily bad for you—in small doses. But if you’re slugging back three or four of these babies, the calories will pile up (try 174 in each, plus 18g of carbs). So finding a decent substitute is key. Trop50, for example, has 50% less sugar and calories. 

1 1/2 oz tequila
4 oz orange juice
1 tbsp maraschino cherry juice

Pour tequila and orange juice into a glass filled with ice. Float the cherry juice on top for a marbled effect.
Calories: 137 Carbs: 11g


5. Strawberry daquiri

You’re probably too manly to be seen with a pink drink and a paper umbrella, but whip up one of these for your girl and she’ll be counting the ways to thank you—without counting the whopping 430 calories and 51g of carbs. “It’s hard to believe,” notes Koch, “that a drink this luscious isn’t high in carbs.”

3 oz Bacardi light rum
1/2 oz lime juice
2 tbsp Splenda Granular
4 whole frozen strawberries
1/2 cup crushed ice

Pour all ingredients except ice into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add crushed ice and blend on high until thick. Pour into a large cocktail glass.
Calories: 227 Carbs: 8g


6. Kamikaze

Got a death wish? Then keep pouring these down your gullet, and they’ll kill your abs in no time. But use fresh limes and orange extract instead of Rose’s and triple sec, and you’ll save almost 40 calories a pop—and live to tell about it.

1 1/2 oz Reyka vodka
1/8 tsp orange extract
4-8 lime wedges

Fill a shaker half full with ice. Add vodka, orange extract, and lime wedges. Using a bar muddler (or a wooden spoon), crush ingredients together. Strain into an ice-filled rocks or martini glass.
Calories: 105 Carbs: 1g

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