You Had Me at Cocktail
Sunday brunches, Thursday date nights, Saturday barbecues—whatever activity or day of the week it is, the opportunity to indulge in a refreshing cocktail can be hard to resist. Instead of stressing over liquid calories and unwanted sodium effects, there are ways to enjoy alcoholic drinks at a healthier cost. Below are five health-conscious cocktail recipes that will excite your taste buds without blowing your diet.
The Bloody Mary is known for its delicious blend of tomato juice, vodka and a wide array of spices and flavorings. Even though tomato juice is loaded with vitamin C, it’s also packed with sodium. To stay on the healthy route, ditch the regular tomato juice for the low-sodium kind (if you happen to be making it yourself), and trade other salty ingredients with more nutritious items like green beans, asparagus, carrots—even okra. If you want to take it a step further, add protein to your drink with some turkey bacon, shrimp or crab meat.
- 1/4 cup low-sodium tomato juice
- 3 tablespoons vodka
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish
- 3 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 1 dash freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In an 11-ounce glass, combine the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, hot sauce and pepper. Fill the glass with ice, then pour mixture into another glass. Pour back and forth 3 to 4 times, then sprinkle with lemon juice. Garnish with proteins and vegetables of your choice.
A mojito can be a light, refreshing and low-calorie cocktail if you focus on the right ingredients. To avoid simple syrup or unnecessary sugars, use a spoon or wooden pestle to mash pieces of watermelon with fresh mint leaves (if you’re whipping it up yourself), or simply ask the friendly bartender to make the switch. It’s OK if you don’t happen to be a watermelon fanatic—we don’t judge—as you can always go for other favorable fruits like pineapple or strawberry. So, with fresh ingredients and zero-calorie club soda on the list, this mojito can be your new delicious and guilt-free mixed drink.
- 1/2 lime
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- 1.5 ounces white rum
- Club soda
- Pieces of watermelon (or fruit of your choice)
Use a spoon or wooden pestle to muddle the watermelon pieces with lime juice and mint leaves, then pour into a glass. Continue filling the glass with ice and top with white rum and club soda. Garnish with mint leaves and watermelon wedge if you please.
Rum and Diet Coke
The very classic and simple [white] rum and [diet] Coke is a good beverage choice if you’re trying to cut the calories. Add some lime and you’ve got yourself a Cuba Libre!
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- 4 1/2 diet Coke
- Lime wedge for garnish
Pour white rum and diet Coke into a highball glass on the rocks. Enjoy!
Vanilla Vodka and Diet Ginger Ale
What if I told you there was a way to taste the deliciousness of cake batter without having to consume the calories that come along with it? Yes, it’s true. A serving of this fizzy, mellow and slightly sweet cocktail is less than 80 calories—perfect!
- 1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
- 4 1/2 ounces diet ginger ale
Pour vanilla vodka and diet ginger ale into a highball glass with ice and serve.
Red Wine Spritzer With Raspberries
Why red wine over white wine? While both are tasteful and enjoyable, red wine has less natural sugar and slightly more iron, magnesium, choline and potassium. By adding raspberries, you’ll be able to consume more beneficial nutrients, like fiber and vitamins C, E and K. This beverage will also help you cut back on calories with the use of sparkling water.
- 5 oz. light red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Gamay)
- 5 oz. sparkling water
- Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
Pour ice in a glass with raspberries, following the wine and sparkling water. Sip and enjoy!
As you can see, maintaining a healthy diet among drinking affairs can be easy if you choose the right options. To wrap it up: Select low-sodium and fresh juices, and try club soda, seltzer water, sparkling water and diet soda instead of regular mixes and soft drinks. Avoid liqueurs and cream spirits because they double in calories—and if you’re stuck between red wine, white wine and sweet dessert wine, red wine is the way to go! We hope these recipes come in handy (no pun intended). Happy drinking!