I love longer days, cooking outside, and that celebratory feeling that makes every summer night feel like Saturday. But too many Saturday nights can leave me feeling over-served and sporting a muffin top over my already tight white jeans. Cocktails are fattening!
At the Culinary Cure, I teach people how to take their habits and make them healthier. Summer sipping is no exception. When you drink sweet cocktails, like margaritas and daiquiris, the liquid sugars light up the pleasure centers in your brain. Basically, sugar is addictive, kind of like opium; so if you drink sweet, you crave sweet.
Processed sugar is bad for you; it is linked to both inflammation and weight gain. Artificial sweeteners are equally naughty, wreaking havoc in your gut and triggering a response that actually extracts more calories from the food you eat — adding unwanted pounds.
Let’s face it, we want to have our cocktail and drink it, too!
Use the right ingredients and you can create cocktails that are practically good for you!
Swap fattening, inflammation causing sugar for the natural sweetness of fruit and vegetable juices. This infuses your cocktails with vibrant flavors and wellness perks. Loaded with antioxidants, micronutrients and good stuff your body knows how to efficiently process, natural fruits and vegetables make happy hour sipping healthier.
You don’t have to be a mixologist to whip-up refreshing summer cocktails. These recipes are simple, healthy, and can be made with or without alcohol. Visit me at The Culinary Cure for wellness tips, delicious “better-for-you” wines, and recipes to help you live younger longer, and better.
A sassy drink with a little bite!
This is my house drink. Tequila is unique among alcohols because its sugars are agavins. These sugars are non-digestible and act as a dietary fiber in the gastrointestinal tract. Because they are non-digestible, they do not spike blood glucose levels and help to regulate insulin production. Yay tequila, you are my friend.
Low in calories, high in vitamin C, loaded with electrolytes, potassium and bioflavonoids, grapefruit juice is a delicious and nutritious addition to healthier cocktails. The spicy addition of a Serrano or Jalapeño slices add the health benefiting alkaloid compound, capsaicin. Capsaicin has antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. This simple cocktail is refreshing and complex, making it the perfect all-season sipper.
One Serving (para mi)
2 oz Blanco Tequila (organic if possible)
1 oz fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
2 oz seltzer water
1 slice of Jalapeño or Serrano chili
1 lime wedge squeezed
Mix first 3 ingredients in a glass with ice and stir.
Add chili pepper and lime. Enjoy!
Antioxidant Fruit Pops & Prosecco
Antioxidant-rich fruit pops turn Prosecco into a “healthyish” cocktail that makes you feel like a kid again.
1 bottle prosecco
2 cups fresh berries
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup water
In a blender, or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add berries of choice, lemon juice, and water. Puree until liquified.
Pour berry liquid into popsicle mold and freeze overnight.
Serve by pouring a glass of Prosecco and placing a popsicle in each glass.
Watermelon Mint Mojito
This super simple mojito cocktail never fails to please a crowd.
Watermelon provides natural sweetness while also being a nutrient dense food. It offers high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a small number of calories; and it’s also deliciously refreshing. Mint is no slacker in the health benefits department, and boasts one of the highest levels of antioxidants, while boosting digestion, strengthening the liver and actually helping to cool the body. That’s right, consuming mint can cause the body to slightly lower its temperature. Watermelon Mint Mojitos are the perfect antidote to hot summer nights.
2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup white rum (organic if possible)
2 cups ice
20 mint leaves muddled with a mortar and pestle or well chopped
Watermelon spears for garnish
Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender and blend until slushy.
Stir in mint.
Pour into 4 glasses and garnish with watermelon spears.
The Greentini is a detoxifying twist on the classic Martini. Cucumbers are low in calories, hydrating, and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Kale juice is an excellent source of the carotenoid Luten, a super nutrient for eye health. Granny Smith apple juice adds natural sweetness, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
You can either buy pre-made green juice with a flavor profile you like, or juice the ingredients yourself.
1 cup baby kale leaves juiced
4 Persian cucumbers juiced
1/2 Granny Smith apple juiced
(the first three ingredients may be substituted with 12 oz green juice)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup organic or good quality vodka
Cucumber slices for garnish
Combine the first 3 juices or the green juice with the vodka and the lemon juice.
Put half of the juice, vodka and lemon mixture in a Martini shaker and shake vigorously.
Pour into 2 martini glasses and garnish with a cucumber slice.
Repeat with remaining ingredients
Pineapple Ginger Margarita
Fresh pineapple is loaded with vitamin C, manganese, and bromelain. This makes pineapple a powerhouse for healthy cocktails.
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Reposado tequila
1 cup ice
1 Thumb size piece fresh ginger grated
Zest from 1 lime
1 tbsp Kosher salt optional
Combine lime zest and Kosher salt on a small plate
Wet the rims of 4 glasses with a lime wedge and dip in salt & zest mixture.
Place first 5 ingredients in blender and pulse until blended.
Pour into glasses and garnish with pineapple spears.
Smooth and refreshing Blonde Sangria makes the perfect summer sipping for lazy afternoons and warm evenings.
1 750-ml bottle of crisp white wine
1 cup plain seltzer water
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 pink grapefruit, thinly sliced into rounds
1 lemon thinly sliced into rounds
1 lime thinly sliced into rounds
2 peaches thinly sliced (grilling peach halves before slicing adds additional flavor)
1 cup sliced strawberries
Sliced fruit of choice for garnish
In a punch bowl or large pitcher, add grapefruit, lemon and lime slices, and maple syrup and muddle with a wooden spoon for a minute.
Add brandy and muddle for 30 more seconds.
Add remaining fruit and wine, stirring to incorporate.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
Before serving, add seltzer water and stir to combine.
Serve over ice and garnish with fruit slices
Avocado is the secret ingredient in this deliciously refreshing cocktail. Avocolada is the combination of avocado, pineapple, almond milk, and lime juice; and is a tasty way to up your summer sipping game.
4 ounces light rum
1-ounce fresh lemon juice
1-ounce fresh lime juice
1-ounce maple syrup
1/2 medium-ripe avocado peeled and pitted
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/4 cup Barista Style Almond Milk or nut milk
1.5 cups ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until just smooth, about 20 seconds.
Divide mixture between two cocktail glasses, garnish with a pineapple spear and toasted coconut, serve immediately.
Spiked fruit turns seltzer water into a stunning cocktail that is light on calories and big on fun.
1 each watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe
1-liter seltzer water
1 cup vodka
Using a melon baller, make a cup of melon balls (about 12) from each melon.
Place melon balls in a ziplock bag with vodka and let marinate 2-4 hours.
In a champagne flute or wine glass place one each of the marinated melon balls and top with seltzer.
What’s Up Doc? Healthy Veggie Cocktail
This gorgeous cocktail can be made with any combination of colorful beets and carrots.
Carrots play a starring role, delivering a powerful punch of beta-carotene, the vegetarian precursor of vitamin A; and beets help to detoxify the liver. If you don’t have a juicer, select one of the many beneficial fresh squeezed juice blends available at most grocery stores.
4 medium red carrots juiced
1 golden beet juiced
2 stalks celery with leaves juiced
(the first three ingredients may be replaced by 15 oz beet/carrot juice pre-squeezed juice)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup gin organic if possible
Beet slice for garnish
Combine first 3 ingredients, or juice mix, with lemon juice in a pitcher.
Stir well to combine.
Pour over ice and garnish with a beet slice.
Basil Infused Gin & Tonic
Serves 8 – 10
I do love a good gin and tonic! What single cocktail evokes the spirit of summer more than the classic Gin and Tonic? Gin has delicious herbal undertones, and gets taken to the next level of flavor with basil, mint, and lime infused ice cubes in this twist on the summer classic.
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4 limes juiced
1 cup of water
8 oz Gin
24 oz Tonic
Place basil, mint, lime juice and water in a blender, or bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and blend for a minute.
Strain lime, mint, basil mixture through a fine sieve and pour into a large, 4 cube, silicone ice cube tray. Place a fresh small basil leaf into each mold. Freeze overnight.
To make the cocktail, place 1 ice cube in each glass. Add 2 oz gin and 6oz tonic. Stir and enjoy.
Spiked Lemonade With Ginger-Mint Cubes
Dangerously delicious! This party punch goes perfectly with cookouts, beach blanket bingo and barbecued everything.
Ginger-Mint Ice Cubes
1 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup peeled chopped fresh ginger
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups water
Place mint ginger and water in a blender, or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and blend for 1 minute.
Strain liquid through fine-mesh sieve and add maple syrup to strained liquid.
Pour liquid into ice trays and freeze overnight.
1 750-ml bottle of citrus flavored vodka (I love Kettle One)
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 cups plain seltzer water
Mint sprigs for garnish
Combine vodka, lemon juice and seltzer in a punch bowl.
Place ginger-mint cubes in a glass and top with spiked lemonade.
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs
Kristen Coffield is an Author, Educator and Culinary Disruptor. Follow her on Instagram @kristencoffield and visit www.theculinarycure.com for wellness information for real people.