10 Best Low-Calorie Cocktails Slideshow

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The Low-Cal Mojito
Description

Wonderfully minty and downright refreshing enough to beat any sizzling season, the classic Cuban mojito is a must-have to welcome the steamy summer months, but enough of these can put your beach-ready body to the test. Many recipes feature too much sugar and syrup, resulting in a drink packing on nearly 1,000 calories, but you don’t have to give up on this delicious treat. This skinnier version from dietician Rachel Berman highlights a natural sweetener, freshly squeezed lime juice, and soda water, which help keep calories down, all while preventing you from getting too tipsy. Sip, sip, enjoy.

Low-Cal Mojito

Calories: 111

Ingredients

1.5 ounces rum

1 teaspoons stevia

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Soda water

Preparation

Combine rum, stevia, and lime juice. Muddle in mint leaves. Add ice and soda water to fill glass.

Credit

Stephanie Nolasco

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Diet Tip #1
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"Be mindful of the amount of calories you consume through booze. Anything made with a drink mix, fruit juice, or soda can rack ‘em up. When you drink, your liver prioritizes metabolism of alcohol, and puts everything else on hold. Therefore, excess sugar consumed can then get converted to fat in your body. When using fruit juice as a mixer, choose 100 percent juice and keep it under 6 ounces."

— Rachel Berman, registered dietician and director of nutrition for CalorieCount.com

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viniq

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Mulled Wine
Description

During those frigid, rainy nights, there’s no need to stay huddled underneath the covers when you can open up a bottle and kick off a cozy get-together. Mulled wine is usually a signature drink of winter (and the late winter weather into spring), but it’s also a delightful alternative to the usual glass of red. Warm and inviting, mulled wine is a great way to light up those cold, dreary nights and inspire a celebration, even if it’s indoors. Along with a low-calorie mixer and plenty of spices, this recipe provides that familiar, lip-smacking flavor without excess calories.

Mulled Wine

Calories: 120

Ingredients

1 bottle of Skinnygirl Red Wine

3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

1 tablespoon of cloves

3 star anise

1 whole nutmeg cracked into two pieces

1 orange peel

Agave nectar (a low-calorie sweetener)

Preparation

Pour wine into pan and cook over low heat. Make a sachet with the spices. Put sachet in pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add agave nectar. Pour wine through strainer. Serve in a heatproof glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange peel.

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iStockphoto/ Thinkstock

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Diet Tip #2
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"If you’re going to have a drink, exercise ahead of time or afterward to burn off the calories from alcohol. It will take an average person about one hour of competitive basketball or a similar physical activity to burn off three standard drinks (300 calories). Think about how much effort it will take to burn off those extra drinks. Are those three last drinks really worth one hour of traditional exercise?"

— Dr. Fatoki, M.D., MPH., certified in family, bariatric, and substance addiction medicine

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Flickr/ lulumon athletica

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The skinny gin and tonic
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The classic gin and tonic may appear light, but beware, this summer staple can sneak in some unwanted pounds if your bartender uses the wrong ingredients. Tonic water is standard to create a gin and tonic, but it also has high-fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener. A standard serving of tonic water is 90 calories alone, which means there’s room for improvement without sacrificing on taste. In comparison to other spirits, gin has fewer calories, so feel free to splurge on a boutique brand, which will highlight a bolder blend of citrus notes without being dry. Skip the tonic for bubbly soda water, which is zero calories, a major win.

Skinny Gin and Tonic

Calories: 100

Ingredients

2 ounces gin

5 ounces soda water

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Preparation

Pour the gin and soda water in a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Garnish with lime wedge.

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Stephanie Nolasco

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Diet Tip #3
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“Try to infuse gin with herbs, which will freshen up your flavors as well as add depth without extra calories. Also, make sure to use larger ice cubes. This will dilute your drinks without you even noticing it. Finally, choosing to use vintage glasses will limit your ounces per drink, all while making your party seem fun and themed.”

— Gina Keatley, dietician and founder of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy

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Flickr/ Mr. T in DC

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The Spa Day Cocktail
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When a spirit is coined "the drink of the gods," you know it’s one worth indulging to kick off the weekend on a right note. The exotic and perfectly luscious sake can spice up any bland drink, but best of all, it’s relatively low in calories because it’s prepared with all-natural ingredients without adding sugar or preservatives. This season, expect mixologists to incorporate soju, recognized as a low-calorie Asian vodka-like spirit that, like sake, has fewer jean-busting elements than your standard spirit. The Spa Day is incredibly easy to make and it’s bursting with sun-kissed citrus fruits and fizzy club soda, ending with a smooth finish. Cocktail hour has never looked this good.

Spa Day

Calories: Less Than 100

Ingredients

2 ounces soju (We used TY KU Soju)

Squeeze and drop in wedge of lemon/lime/orange

Splash of club soda

1 orange peel

Preparation

Hard shake all ingredients with ice and pour in glass. Garnish with orange peel.

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Stephanie Nolasco

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Diet Tip #4
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"A sip is satisfying… end binge drinking by really tasting and enjoying your cocktail. If you need help adjusting to a slower pace, have a healthy spritzer in-between. I recommend a sparkling cranberry spritzer (sparkling water, cranberry juice, and lime wedge). Full of healthy antioxidants and vitamin C, cranberry juice concentrate is refreshing, delicious, and healthy!"

— Carol Cottrill, C.N.C., nutritional consultant and author of The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management

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prairie organic spirits

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The Shiso Slim Cocktail
Description

This sparkling skinny cocktail shakes things up with lemon-infused vodka for a hint of zest, a touch of St. Germain liqueur for sweetness from fragrant white elderflowers, tangy grapefruit juice, and shiso leaves for a faint whisper of basil-like flavor. Served at Haru Sushi in New York City, the Shiso Slim perfectly complements Japanese dishes for day or night.

Shiso Slim
Calories: 100

Ingredients

1 ¼ ounces Voli Lemon

¼ ounces St. Germain

2 ounces pink grapefruit juice

¼ ounces yuzu juice

2-3 shiso leaves

Splash of soda water

1 lemon twist

Preparation

Muddle the shiso with St. Germain. Then add all ingredients except soda to martini shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with a shiso leaf or lemon twist.

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Haru Sushi

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Diet Tip #5
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"Low blood sugar causes fatigue, headaches, moodiness, and impulses to grab the bar mix. Keep fresh fruit or raw almonds with you to avoid falling off the wagon."

— Lisa C. Cohn, nutritionist and dietician at Park Avenue Nutrition in New York City

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Flickr/ wot nxt

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The Watermelon Fizz
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The Watermelon Fizz, also found at Haru Sushi, not only features the sweet as honey treat, but it also includes a touch of savory lime and specks of bold cilantro, the ideal herb to give any concoction some heat without adding overpowering jalapeños. This diet-friendly concoction’s primary ingredient is bone-chilling, smooth-as-silk tequila, ensuring even the most skeptical social drinker that watermelons can be savored any time of the year, especially when good old fashion alcohol is involved.

Watermelon Fizz

Calories: 100

 

Ingredients

1 ounces Inocente Tequila

3 ounces watermelon

0.1 ounces simple syrup

0. 1 ounces soda water

5 cilantro pieces

Squeeze of lime

1 bamboo spike, to garnish

Preparation

Muddle watermelon with cilantro leaves. Add ice, simple syrup, and tequila. Shake vigorously and pour all contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with a piece of watermelon in a bamboo spike.

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Gypsy Rose Lee

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Diet Tip #6
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"Stay hydrated! Headaches can drain all your energy. Drink one glass of water after every cocktail to cleanse your system and keep you feeling well after heavier doses of sugars, oils, alcohol, and salt."

— Lisa C. Cohn, nutritionist and dietician at Park Avenue Nutrition in New York City

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Flickr/ faungg

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The Tomato Basil Martini
Description

Bloody Marys are often credited for being a tastier, healthier alternative to sugary mimosas for brunch, but what if you’re looking for a spiked, delectable delight after hours that will make fitting into the tightest couture a breeze? Meet the smoky, yet velvety smooth Tomato Basil Martini, a powerful libation made with only the finest herbs and spices. Created by mixologist Orson Salicetti of New York City’s new hot spot LIFT Mixology Bar at EVR, you can forget all about those pesky celery stalks and focus on a well-crafted cocktail that’s lighter and fresher (and dare we say even more tantalizing?) than its brunch brother.

Tomato Basil Martini

Calories: 115

Ingredients

2 ounces cherry tomato water

2 ounces basil-infused gin

1 ounce Lillet Blanc

½ ounce lime juice

¼ ounce agave nectar

A few dashes of habanero reduction

Himalayan salt

Flambéed salty back peppercorns

Preparation
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Shake and double-strain into a Himalayan salt-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with flambéed salty black peppercorns.

 

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Andrew Kist

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Diet Tip #7
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"Hosting an event at your home is my first tip on how you can enjoy cocktails this year without packing on the pounds. It will allow you to prepare the drinks yourself so you know what is in them. You can create healthy cocktails in moderation. My favorite choice is the Bloody Mary. Not only are they low in calories, but they are packed with vitamins C and A. If you can make it from fresh tomatoes all the better, but if you're going to go with a store-bought, try a low-sodium replacement."

— Gina Keatley, dietician and founder of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy

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Flickr/ kthread

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The Size 0 Cocktail
Description

On a blistering hot day, the ideal creamy treat any social drinker will opt for is the tempting piña colada, and while its dreamy taste is certain to please, gaining excess weight from too much fluff and little substance can be a major downer. Fortunately, there is another option to look and feel cool this spring or summer. Serendipity 3 in Miami (yes, the beloved dessert spot) insists they’re the go-to location for cocktails as well. And after taking a sip of The Size 0, we couldn’t agree more. Hint: this recipe reveals a fun, creative way to make use of Crystal Light.

The Size 0

Calories: 35

Ingredients

Cucumbers

Strawberries

Low-Calorie Crystal Light Lemonade

1.5 ounces vodka

Preparation

Dice up a few pieces of fresh cucumber and strawberries, pour both into tall cocktail glass, and mash with a muddler. Pour half of a single-serving packet of Low-Calorie Crystal Light Lemonade over muddled strawberries and cucumber. Add 1.5 ounces of your choice of vodka and then fill the rest of the glass with cold water. Stir the cocktail and add a few ice cubes. Garnish rim of glass with cucumber and strawberry.

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Serendipity 3

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Diet Tip #8
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"Remember it takes 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound. This is the equivalent of about 30 standard drinks or seven piña coladas."

— Dr. Fatoki, M.D., MPH., certified in family, bariatric, and substance addiction medicine

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Flickr/ rubeni

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The Bluegrass Cocktail
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Both tangy and sweet, blueberries are an ideal staple for transforming any cocktail without extra servings of sugar, which is why libationist Joyce Garrison’s Bluegrass from W Austin is the perfect pick for a low-calorie cocktail to savor. Made with fresh, local ingredients, it focuses on creating a thirst-quenching taste, all while keeping any patron satisfied. Garrison emphasizes using fresh, organic ingredients to produce a high-quality, low-calorie cocktail, which is why we’re admitting to swoon over Bluegrass.

Bluegrass

Calories: 131

Ingredients

6 blueberries

¼ ounce Monin blueberry

2 ounces vodka (we used Dripping Springs Vodka)

1/4 ounce lime juice

6 mint leaves

Preparation

Muddle blueberries, mint, and Monin lightly. Add liquids. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blueberry pick.

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Refinery Rooftop

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Diet Tip #9
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"The secret to low-calorie cocktails are soda water, which has no calories, and fresh fruits, like limes, lemons, and orange slices to avoid artificial sweeteners. Your body already has to process the toxic effects of alcohol, so it doesn’t make sense to add to this by mixing with diet sodas and other artificial additives. The other trick is moderation. Stick to one to two cocktails at the most and avoid back-to-back nightly outings."

— Justin Rundle, fitness professional

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Flickr/ gail45

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The Wild Rocket Cocktail
Description

If you really want to go green with your cocktails this year, we suggest picking out not overly talked about kale, but wild arugula. These leaves have a hint of spice, which enhances the flavors of any spirit, including refreshing gin. For something zesty, filling, and wonderfully spiked go for The Wild Rocket, created by Matthew Biancaniello from the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Biancaniello is also known for formulating cocktails based on farm-fresh ingredients and even incorporates honey from his own bee colony. For this particular recipe, he relies on natural sweeteners and fruit juice to beat the heat and keep taste buds happy.

The Wild Rocket

Calories: 120

Ingredients

1 ½ ounces gin

¾ ounce lime juice

6 drops liquid stevia

½ cup wild arugula

Preparation

Muddle lime juice and arugula. Add stevia and gin. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

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Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel

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Diet Tip #10
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Heavy alcohol consumption is a common cause of weight gain. Not only does alcohol contain empty calories, meaning it contributes nothing toward your nutrient intake or satisfying your appetite, it also stimulates appetite and can lower your resistance (depending on how much you drink)… Alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water will help you avoid overindulging, will keep you hydrated, and back on track the morning after a fun night out."

— Dr. James Stubbs, obesity research specialist at U.K.-based Slimming World weight loss program

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Flickr/ lpolinsky