One of the best things about summer is enjoying a cold drink on the dock, or while sitting on a patio, lounging at the beach, in the backyard at a BBQ… You get the idea. The warm sunshine and a cold drink are the perfect combo. We’ve compiled a list of five of our favourite summer cocktails and how you can make them a little healthier with some equally delicious twists or substitutions!
1. Sangria – Sangria is a summer staple because it is so versatile. You can pair so many different liquors, wines, fruits and ingredients for an unlimited number of combinations. we love using fruit that is in season and purchased from a local farm market to help support our local economy. This time of year, berries are a great addition. they’re perfectly sweet and we like to think they bring some antioxidants into the mix! We also love citrus and it’s so refreshing in the summer heat! Plus, instead of using soda to get that bubbly quality, we suggest using a sparkling water. There are so many flavours, and it really reduces the calories and sugars or sweeteners!
2. Caesars – we’re Canadian so we’ll be honest. There’s nothing we love more than a good Caesar bar on a Sunday morning. Again, these drinks are so versatile so there’s an option to suit most any taste. Add spices, hot sauce, spicy beans, pickle juice and other fun ingredients; garnish with celery, lime, rimmer, pepperettes and whatever your heart desires; mix up the alcohol by swapping vodka for gin and changing up the flavor. We love choosing organic spices when possible (we love Simply Organic), and Walter Craft Caesar Mix is phenomenal in place of the usual Clamato because it’s all natural without added MSG and other nasty ingredients!
3. Mojitos – nothing will make the lake at your cottage feel like a Caribbean beach quite like having a mojito in hand! Rum, lime and mint are one of our favourite combinations and it’s so simple! We love to keep the ingredients to a minimum because knowing what we’re consuming is so important. That being said, we did love this blackberry basil mojito and have to say the added ingredients were worthwhile! Plus, like we’ve been suggesting, the recipe uses sparkling water in place of a soda base, so we’re pretty into it!
4. Gin and tonic – a classic G&T may seem a little boring, but it’s so crisp and refreshing in the heat! That being said, we won’t sugar coat it – tonic water is still soda, even if it says water in the name. The calories are comparable to Coke, it has added sugars and added quinine to give that slightly bitter taste. While a few ounces in the first G&T may seem ok, you’ll quickly rack up the calories and sugars if you keep drinking. We suggest using seltzer water or an ice cold Perrier instead, and squeezing in some lemon or lime. You can even add bitters as well to get that flavour the quinine provides. Looking to put a spin on the classic? We’re totally inspired by these fun twists, especially the lemon and rosemary!
5. Margaritas – who doesn’t love a good margarita? Tequila, triple sec and lemon or lime juice make a great, refreshing summer combo and because it doesn’t use pop or sugary juices as a base, we don’t feel quite as guilty when we indulge. On its own, the margarita is one of our preferred cocktails because of the reduced sugar. This summer, we’ve found a few twists on classic margaritas that we’re dying to try, including these strawberry margaritas (the option to add fresh strawberries was a no brainer for us) and this watermelon margarita recipe (it’s made inside the watermelon, guys)! While both do have extra ingredients like honey, agave or simple syrup, we feel they’re well balanced by the usual margaritas without the added sugars!
We’d love to hear your fav summer cocktails, and how you shake things up with flavours and healthier ingredients!