10 Low Calorie Drink Recipes

Simple swaps can turn your sugary summer cocktail into a healthy treat.

photos via Shutterstock

photos via Shutterstock


A few warm days, budding trees, and the reflection pool re-filling over here at Boston headquarters made us realize that it’s true: Summer really is on the way. This weekend is the perfect time to sit outside and enjoy some nice weather—cocktail in hand. But most pre-made drinks and cocktail mixes are loaded with sugar and artificial junk. And honestly, they taste pretty disgusting. The better and healthier solution is to just make your own. With a few easy swaps you can slash calories and prevent a sugar hangover. Here are 10 light cocktails, perfect for the warm days ahead:

1. Cherry Bourbon Fizz 
via Honest Cooking

Sweet bing cherries peak in the middle of summer and when paired with a smooth bourbon, it makes for a terrific evening cocktail on the porch or roof deck. Each recipe calls for a little sugar, so be sure to taste the cherries first so you can adjust the  sweetness. You can also use a sugar substitute instead of sugar.

2. Strawberry Mojito
via White on Rice Couple blog

From derby day to labor day, there’s something about a mojito that cools down the hottest summer day. To cut down on the extra sugar, try using agave syrup or honey as a sweetener.

3. Watermelon Martini
via Glamour magazine

The perfect girl’s night in drink. Bright pink with bold flavors and barely the need for extra sugar, this cocktail is a breeze to make for a crowd.

4. Porch Swing
via Insatiable Critic

This classic cocktail pairs gin with the spiced fruit flavors of Pimm’s Cup stirred together with lemonade. Popular with summer alfresco dining, this could be your drink of choice for an at-home bistro night.

5. Orange-Ginger Margarita
via Delish

This frozen drink uses ginger with orange juice concentrate (look for low sugar brands), but you can swap that for fresh OJ instead.

6. Agave Margarita
via Bon Appetit

This is your basic recipe for a healthier, lower sugar margarita. Muddle blackberries, peaches, or pineapple and add pomegranate juice and ginger liquor to the shaker. Or you can muddle watermelon and mint. The possibilities are endless.

7. Skinny Colada
via Shape

Infused vodkas are a simple way to get the flavors of your favorite drinks without having to turn to sugary mixes. This recipes uses coconut and pineapple vodka with a splash of pineapple juice. Try swapping the club soda with coconut water for more “colada” flavor with the added hydrating benefits of coconut water.

8. Fennel + Orange Cocktail
via Bird and Cleaver

This twist on a gin martini uses the flavor of fennel (think licorice) and orange for a bright and light cocktail.

9. Mango-Raspberry Sangria
via Good Life Eats

This recipe lightens up a winter drink with rosé wine and fresh summer fruits. For more color and an added punch of flavor, add sliced strawberries or cucumbers.

10. Sparkling Rosemary Peach cocktail 
via Cooking Light

Here’s an herby twist on a classic Bellini. Champagne and peaches are sweet so you can skip the rosemary simply syrup. Start with half and taste the peach puree before serving.