12 Refreshing, Low-Cal Cocktails to Try This Summer


Nothing says summer quite like chilling by the pool with a cool, low-calorie cocktail, right? Even though regular cocktails are delicious, these low-cal cocktails are just as tasty without all the extra calories that you don’t need. Check out a few refreshing, low-cal cocktails to try this summer. These cocktails are quick and easy to make, so get some friends together for a taste-off and have tons of fun. I also included some low-cal mocktails.

1. Ginger Fizz Cocktail

When you think of ginger it probably evokes thoughts of hot and spicy flavors, but ginger is also a perfect ingredient for a low calorie cocktail! Ginger has lots of health benefits and Ginger Fizz Cocktail is absolutely light, refreshing and satisfying all at about 155 calories! For cocktail you will need: 1-1/2 ounces ginger vodka, 1 ounce ginger syrup, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, soda water, and ginger slice, for garnish. For ginger syrup you will need: 2-1/2 cups water, 1 cup freshly grated ginger, and 1 cup fast-dissolving sugar.

Start with making ginger syrup. Bring the sugar, grated ginger, and water to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes and let it cool.

Now, it’s time to make cocktail! Combine ice, lime juice, ginger vodka, and ginger syrup in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously and pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Top off with soda and garnish with a ginger slice.

2. The Paloma

If you like the citrus and tequila combination in your basic margarita, you’ll love the tart refreshment of the Paloma. Simply pour a hefty shot of tequila reposado into a chilled cocktail shaker and add ½ cup fresh or bottled grapefruit juice, the juice of one small key lime, and 1 ½ teaspoons of agave nectar. Shake well and pour into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off with a ¼ cup of club soda and enjoy!

You can put a personal twist on the Paloma by replacing half of the grapefruit juice with fresh squeezed orange juice. Replace the agave nectar with a simple syrup flavored with a couple drops of orange extract and call the recipe your own.

More: 9 Types of Ice Cubes to Keep Your Drinks Tasty and Cold

3. Basil-Ade

You will need 2 to 3 basil leaves and some more for garnish, 2 to 3 strawberries, 1 ounce vodka, and fresh lemonade. Crush 2 to 3 strawberries in a glass, then add basil leaves and bruise gently. Add lemonade and vodka, stir, then add ice and garnish with some basil leaves. Sip on this 130-calorie cocktail while you lounge at the pool or after a long, hot day!

More: 7 Amazing Starbucks Drinks You Should Definitely Try

4. Slim and Sexy V

I love the name of this summer cocktail since it makes me feel more confident. There are under 150 calories and it’s a great companion to spend your summer afternoon. Take 1½ oz. Rémy Martin V, ½ oz. lime juice, 1 oz. pomegranate juice and lime wedge. Combine ingredients in a tall, ice-filled glass, stir and garnish with lime wedge.

More: 10 Long Summer Weekend Ideas

5. Mint Juleps

You don’t have to attend the Kentucky Derby to enjoy this southern classic. Pair with a classic southern-inspired menu for a dinner party sure to make an impression.

Boil 1 cup each white sugar and water over high heat to create a simple syrup. Allow to cool completely before continuing. (Simple syrup can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several weeks.) Place 3-4 mint leaves and a tablespoon of the syrup in the bottom of a Collins glass. Muddle gently until the mint releases its essential oils and becomes fragrant. Add a shot of your favorite bourbon whiskey and fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a mint leaf.

Switch from a southern classic to a Cuban one with Mojitos. Replace the bourbon with white rum, and add a splash of club soda and 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice.

More: 10 Refreshing Ways to Use Mint This Summer

6. Hemingway’s Daiquiri

Forget frozen cruise ship concoctions. The original daiquiri recipe that Papa Hemingway fell in love with has 3 simple ingredients. Elegant and versatile, it’s also ridiculously easy to make. Add a half tablespoon of simple syrup to a shaker with a shot of light rum and 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Daiquiris are truly a matter of personal taste, so adjust the amounts of lime and syrup until you have the flavor you like. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glasses.

Add some of summer’s best produce to make this tart cocktail a little sweeter. Make a strawberry puree by blending ½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped, with the simple syrup before adding it to the shaker. If seeds aren’t your cup of tea, strain the puree first.

More: 8 Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches

7. Sparkling Virgin Cosmo

If you don’t drink alcohol, this mocktail is right for you! The best thing about mocktails is that they are lower in sugar and calories, and they are so inexpensive to make. This mocktail comes in about 50 calories, but it depends on the ingredients you use. You will need: 2 ounces cranberry juice, ice, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 5 ounces seltzer or club soda, sugar for frosting and lime wedges for garnish.

Put ice into a tall glass or shaker. Add club soda, fresh lime juice and cranberry juice and shake vigorously. Rub the lime wedge on the outside rim of a chilled martini glass. Put sugar onto a small plate, and dip the rim of the martini glass into sugar. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with lime wedges.

More: 10 Money-Saving Ideas for a Summer BBQ

8. Mocktini

It’s non-alcoholic cocktail, but it’s so refreshing and tart, and it also has zero calories! You will need 3 ounces of diet tonic water, ice, 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. Add 3 ounces of diet tonic water, 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice to a shaker with ice. Now strain into a chilled martini glass.

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9. Virgin White Sangria

You will need 1 bottle sparkling apple cider, 3 cups white grape juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 cup canned or fresh pineapple chunks, 1 orange, sliced thin, 1 apple, 2 drops vanilla extract, ice, and extra fruit for garnish. In a large punch bowl or pitcher, combine juice, vanilla extract and cut fruit. Let chill for about 2 hours and add in sparkling cider. Serve in champagne flutes or wine glasses with ice and fruit for garnish.

More: 10 Healthy, Low-Calorie Summer Snacks

10. Tequila Bramble

This skinny cocktail, which comes in under 200 calories, uses fresh fruit juice instead of store-bought sugary juices so it’s an excellent warm weather cocktail to enjoy! You will need 5 blackberries, 1/2 ounce agave nectar, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila, 1/2 ounce crème de mure (blackberry-flavored liqueur), and crushed ice. Muddle blackberries with fresh lime juice. Put crushed ice in the glass, add remaining ingredients, stir to combine and serve with a straw.

More: 10 Quick and Easy Summer Brunch Recipes

11. Micheladas

Spicy and bold, this Mexican “beertail” pairs perfectly with grilled steaks, chops and ribs. Start with chilled beer mugs with salted rims. Add a slice of Serrano pepper to each glass, followed by 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Top with a cold Mexican lager, such as XX, Modelo or Pacifico and garnish with a lime wedge.

Depending on what part of Mexico you’re in, the recipes for Micheladas will vary quite a bit. For a different twist, omit Serrano pepper, add 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and replace lemon juice with the juice of one lime. Fill a tall beer much ¾ of the way with beer, and top off with spicy vegetable juice (like V8).

More: 10 Best Summer Fruit Salads

12. Caipirinha

The national drink of Brazil, fresh limes make the Caipirinha tart and refreshing. If your specialty liquor store doesn’t carry cachaca, dark rum substitutes well.

Start with a small key lime, quartered. Place half the lime in a tall rocks glass, and top with a teaspoon of granulated sugar. Muddle well and top with 2 shots of cachaca or dark rum. Fill glass with crushed ice and stir well. Drop remaining half of the lime into the glass before serving.

This potent Brazilian concoction is also quite versatile. For a tangy twist, reduce rum to 1 shot, add a tablespoon of orange liquor, and replace lime with quartered kumquats.

Which one of these low-cal cocktails are you going to try? Enjoy all the flavor of summer cocktails without the calories and guilt!