6 Better-for-You Cocktails That Taste Delicious

We won’t go so far as to call them 'healthy,' but these six drinks are definitely a step in the right direction.

Whatever the season, nothing is more relaxing than sipping a homemade cocktail. But all too often, sugary mixers plus booze can leave you feeling lackluster, drowsy, and anything but refreshed. Add in sweltering summertime temps or arid winter air and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for dehydration.

There are a few simple steps to start drinking responsibly. First, have at least one glass of water for every boozy beverage you drink. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach—keep a handful of healthy snacks nearby, or (better yet) match your drink to your dinner spread. And of course, pace yourself. According to nutrition expert Maggie Michalczyk, RD, we should also lean towards low- to no-sugar cocktails. Not only are they less likely to leave you with a migraine, but you'll sidestep the snooze-inducing blood sugar spike, too.

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Dry Prosecco With Fruit

As much as we love an Aperol Spritz, this bubbly concoction contains significantly less sugar and is equally refreshing. Any type of fruit works, but we're partial to peaches, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, or strawberries. For the ultimate summer refresher, freeze the fruit first to keep your cocktail cold (without watering it down).

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Tequila Soda

"I like the simplicity of this drink because it's just tequila, lime, and club soda—and it's super fresh tasting for summer," says Michalczyk. It's reminiscent of a margarita, but with way less sugar. "If you're making this at home and you like a sweeter drink, my recommendation is to add a spoonful of honey for natural sweetness that's pure and unprocessed," she adds.

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Use that mint you're growing in your backyard to whip up a batch of mojitos next time you're sitting outside. Typically made with rum, mint leaves, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and ice, it's a refreshing cocktail that highlights the flavors of summer. "When making it at home, you can cut back on the sugar for a tarter, healthier version."

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Spiked Seltzer

"Coming in at about 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving (lower than your typical can of beer), spiked seltzer is another smart option," explains Michalczyk. It's also a great choice for those following a gluten-free diet because it's made with fermented sugars—rather than fermented grains—like most beer. Find our favorite brands of spiked seltzer here.

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Wine Spritzers

Typically made from a basic blend of wine and soda water (with the potential to get zhuzhed up with fresh juices and fruit), the spritzer is a go-to cocktail for warmer months and weeknight happy hours because it's delicious, hydrating, and extraordinarily easy to make.

There are also thousands of ways to customize your creations based on the wine, liqueurs, mixers, and garnishes you have on hand. And because they're made from a simple combination of wine and sparkling water, wine spritzers are naturally light and low in sugar and alcohol.

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If you're a fan of gin, opt for a gimlet at happy hour. "A gimlet is simply gin, lime juice, and ice and comes out to be less than 200 calories," says Michalczyk. Some recipes call for simple syrup, but if you're looking to avoid the sugar high, skip it.

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  1. USDA FoodData Central. Mango Hard Seltzer Spiked Sparkling Water. Accessed March 23, 2023.

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