Warmer weather means many things. Sleeping with the windows open, evening strolls after work, lounging by the pool…and cold, refreshing cocktails. We suffer through long days at the office with the promise of an icy sip the only thing helping us survive until the end of the day. But many cocktails we order in bars—especially those that are blended or frozen—are often loaded with sugars and syrups that can threaten to derail our healthy habits. To the rescue: These healthier twists on our favorite spring and summer cocktails are sure to have you raising a glass.
Margaritas come in seemingly endless variations: frozen, on the rocks, salt, no salt, fruity, spicy. A classic margarita is actually quite simple to make, requiring just four ingredients: tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice. However, we often fall prey to the bottles of margarita mix lining liquor store shelves this time of year without bothering to check the ingredients list. It just feels easier to pour the mix into a blender, add tequila and ice and watch it whir away. But as far as this tart-sweet cocktail is concerned, the simple version that came before the slushy one is also the best for your waistline.
2 oz. reposado tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. lime juice
Add tequila, triple sec and lime juice to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Pour salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of a glass and dip it in the salt. Shake drink then pour into salt-rimmed glass and serve.
Also smart: If you’d like to add fruit to your margarita, opt for the fresh stuff, muddled in the glass. Or if you’re blending your cocktail, blend in some frozen fruit.
The drink of cruises and beachside cabanas, there’s nothing like the tropical taste of a piña colada. But it’s always-frozen nature means it’s almost always hiding excess sugar and juices that don’t deliver on flavor. The trick: Stick to whole pineapple, not pineapple juice, and real unsweetened coconut cream (think Thai Kitchen, not Coco Lopez). Coconut rum also contains more sugar than white rum, so it’s best to stick to the regular stuff. The result will be a cocktail that’s rich, creamy and bursting with tropical goodness.
Perfect Piña Colada
5 oz. very ripe peeled and chopped pineapple
2 oz. unsweetened coconut cream
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 ½ oz. white rum
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, a slice of fresh pineapple, or a floater of dark rum, if desired.
Also smart: If you can’t find fresh pineapple, choose canned over frozen, as long as it’s packed in water. The canned will deliver more fruity pineapple flavor.
Like margaritas, there are countless twists on rum punch, the differences coming mainly in the types and quantities of the rum and fruit juices. The key with a Rum Runner or a Hurricane, as deliciously refreshing as they may be, is that the more juices you add, the more blood sugar-spiking sugar you’re sipping. There are likely even some beach bars that add sugar or simple syrup in addition to the fruit juices. To fit this cocktail into your healthy lifestyle, stick to only one or two fresh juices or those with no added sugar and add a bit of something fizzy for body.
Waistline-Friendly Rum Punch
2 oz. light or dark rum
2 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 oz. no sugar-added pineapple juice
1 oz. club soda
½ oz. lime juice
Add rum, juices and club soda to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake drink then pour into a glass. Garnish with a paper umbrella.
Also smart: Using coconut water instead of club soda will also yield a smooth, not-too-sweet sip.
Do you have a favorite spring or summer cocktail? Tell us about it by commenting on our latest Instagram post @powerforlifefitness.