Sugar-free Cocktails for Summer
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Summer is upon us and there’s nothing like sitting outside with friends and your favorite summertime cocktail. Unfortunately, in addition to being refreshing and delicious, these alcoholic beverages, such as margaritas, mojitos, and piña coladas, are often loaded with sugar, adding lots of extra calories to our day. But don’t worry! For those of you trying to limit added sugar this summer, I’ve got you covered. Here are a few different ways you can avoid extra sugar and calories and still enjoy a refreshing beverage this season. And for those of you who are looking to cut back on alcohol this summer, all of these cocktails are equally delicious and refreshing without the alcohol.
My trick for making cocktails that are low in sugar but still high in flavor is to use sparkling water. Whether you are a fan of LaCroix, Spindrift, or prefer to make your own sparkling water with a Soda Stream, your options are endless. This is less of a recipe and more of a formula that you can modify to make it just the way you like it. Here’s what I do. I combine in a glass over ice:
1 shot of alcohol of choice (optional)
Fresh fruit juice
Herbs and/or fruit to garnish
You can use this formula as a base for any delicious low-calorie cocktail you’d like to make. You can use any kind or flavor of sparkling water and change it up with the addition of different fruit juices and garnishes. If you prefer sweeter drinks and find that the tartness of lime, lemon, and cranberry juice is too much, you can always add a little stevia or light drizzle of honey or a pinch of raw sugar.
Some combination ideas –
Vodka, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water + fresh or frozen berries
Vodka, fresh lime juice, a splash of cranberry juice, and sparkling water + fresh mint leaves
Vodka or gin, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water + cucumber slices + fresh mint
Tequila, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water + fresh or frozen fruit (watermelon, mango, orange, and/or grapefruit sections)
Tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water
Gin, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water + sprig of rosemary
Gin or vodka, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water + basil
Rum, lime juice, sparkling water + fresh mint leaves
Tips and Tricks for Making Sugar-free Summertime Cocktails
Muddling the herbs, like mint and basil, will add a more intense flavor to your drink.
Experiment with adding fresh fruit whole, or try smashing the fruit a little to give your drink some color and a more fresh fruity flavor.
Frozen fruit, like berries, peaches, pineapple, and mango can replace some of the ice.
Sparkling water is not the same as club soda or tonic water. Sparkling water, which is the same as seltzer, is water that has been carbonated. Sparkling mineral water is often naturally carbonated - its bubbles come from a spring with naturally occurring carbonation, and it has naturally occurring minerals. Club soda is carbonated water that has been infused with added minerals. Tonic is carbonated water with added minerals, like club soda, but it also has quinine (which gives it a bitter taste) and added sugar (which gives it added calories).