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

By Betty Gold
July 22, 2020

Summertime is all about staying hydrated, and it goes without saying that many love nothing more than sipping a crisp cocktail in warmer months. But all too often, sugary mixers plus booze can leave you feeling lackluster, drowsy, and anything but refreshed. Add in rays of sunshine, sweltering temps, and high humidity and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for dehydration.

There are a few simple steps to start drinking responsibly this season. 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 BBQ fare. And of course, pace yourself. According to registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, 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.

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).

“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.

Use that mint you're growing in your backyard to whip up a batch of mojitos this summer. 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.”

“Coming in at about 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving (lower than your typical can of beer), spiked seltzer is another good option when you're relaxing poolside this summer,” explains Michalczyk. It's also an option 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.

If you're a fan of gin, opt for a gimlet this summer. “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.