Health experts unanimously agree that light or zero alcohol consumption is better than heavy or even moderate drinking, and we can’t argue with that. But for those of us content to live life by the “in moderation” mantra, the best we can do is steer clear of the true nutritional disasters: thick, creamy daiquiris and sickeningly sweet juice cocktails that pack half a day’s calories or more. On the other hand, light, effervescent drinks sweetened with whole fruit or homemade fruit juices will give you a buzz and a few additional nutrients. If you’re looking to get a little bit tipsy without going overboard, this is the way to drink — and we have a few cocktail recipes that will help keep happy-hour excess in check.
This glamorous pink cocktail is best suited for the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby, but it will fit in with grace and ease at any other summer soiree. To make it healthier, the chefs in Food Network Kitchen used honey in place of white processed sugar, and the gorgeous pink hue comes from a blend of watermelon, kiwi and lime juices.
Ellie Krieger’s refreshing sangria is a citrusy mix of white wine, orange liqueur and brandy plus orange juice and sliced fruit. A splash of club soda provides a touch of fizz.
Bobby Flay combines two of summer’s defining fruits, watermelon and strawberries, to create the ideal refresher for a light brunch or summer cocktail hour. Cold rosé and orange liqueur form the sangria’s crisp-sweet base, perfect on a balmy day.
Red Wine Spritzers
Rachael Ray adds bubbly seltzer water to dry Italian red wine and flavors her spritzer with seasonal berries for a low-calorie and effervescent summer drink.
Frozen Mango Margarita
Skip the neon, bottled margarita mix and whip up a fruity base for this classic tequila cocktail instead. Ellie achieves sunny yellow color by blending orange liqueur, tequila and lime with frozen mango pieces.
Cool off with more refreshing summer cocktails from our friends:
Devour: Get Bowled Over by These Spiked-Punch Recipes
Creative Culinary: Bourbon Peach Smash Cocktail
The Lemon Bowl: Strawberry Mojitos
A Mind “Full” Mom: Tipsy Orange Julius
Feed Me Phoebe: Watermelon-Cucumber Kombucha Coolers
Taste with the Eyes: Evolving Manhattan Cocktail with Luxardo Ice Sphere
The Fed Up Foodie: Rainbow Tequila Sangria
In Jennie’s Kitchen: 14 Drinks to Celebrate Summer
FN Dish: End-of-Summer Swigs You’ll Want to Make by the Pitcher