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Best Low-Calorie Cocktails for Summer

Rocket's Red Glare

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This pretty-in-pink drink is made with KU Soju, a distilled Korean liquor that has a smoother taste and half the calories of most vodkas.

Ingredients:

1 ounce TY KU Soju

1 ounce TY KU Liqueur

1 splash unsweetened cranberry juice

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a rocks glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 95 calories

Stars and Stripes

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Ideal for the Fourth of July, this is the perfect patriotic thirst-quencher, especially if you like a little fizziness (and a hint of blue!) in your cocktail.

Ingredients:

1 part TY KU Soju

1 part Blue Curacao

1 splash diet ginger ale

Directions:
Mix ingredients in a rocks glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 140 calories

1776 Sipper

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If you need something a little stronger than iced tea on a hot summer night, this flavorful, low-cal cocktail is right up your alley. Try it with green tea for an antioxidant boost.

Ingredients:

2 ounces TY KU Soju

2 ounces iced black or green tea

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then drain into a glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 115 calories

Farmers Market Margarita

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This fresh twist on the Mexican specialty takes advantage of healthy ingredients—including cucumber, cilantro, and spicy jalapeno—that are plentiful at your local farmers market this time of year.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 ounces Corzo Silver

2 sprigs cilantro

2 slices cucumber

2 slices jalapeno

1 ounce fresh lime juice

2 ounces distilled water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 lime wheel, for garnish

Directions:

Combine first seven ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake. Serve over the rocks and garnish with lime wheel.

Nutritional score per serving: 164 calories

Barbecued Bloody Mary

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Transform the classic brunch cocktail into a smoky, spicy sip.

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

2 cups course salt

6 lemons, halved

2 jalapenos, sliced thickly

1 milliliter Four Roses Bourbon

1 tablespoon crushed chipotle peppers

1 ounce molasses

2 ounces beef stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

12 ounces tomato juice

24 ounces bourbon

Directions:

1. Build a fire in a grill for indirect cooking by situating coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void.

2. Thinly spread salt on a disposable aluminum pan or aluminum foil. Place on grill over indirect heat and cover for at least 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature and store in a sealed container.

3. Place lemon halves on a disposable aluminum pan or aluminum foil. Place on the void side of the grill for at least 30 minutes with the lid covered, making sure to keep grill temperature at 225 degrees. Remove from grill and let cool. While lemons cool, place jalapenos on grill, turning once, until both sides are flame-kissed, 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

4. Juice cooled lemons to produce 2 ounces of juice. Reserve remaining smoked lemons to cut for garnish and use for rimming glasses with smoked salt. Combine lemon juice with bourbon, chipotle peppers, molasses, beef stock, onion powder, cayenne, and tomato juice in a large plastic container and mix well. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

5. Run a sliced smoked lemon wedge around the lip of a Collins glass. Dip and twist glass lip in smoked salt to rim. Combine 4 ounces drink mix and 2 ounces bourbon into glass. Garnish with smoked lemon wedge and jalapeno slice.

Nutritional score per serving: 167 calories

Recipe created by Josh Perry, mixologist at Picán restaurant (Oakland, CA)

Italian Summer Sipper

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Combine strawberries with classic Italian ingredients of fresh basil and balsamic vinegar to create this pretty drink.

Ingredients:

2 strawberries

3 sprigs fresh basil, divided

1 1/4 ounces Corzo Silver

4 drops balsamic vinegar

1 ounce fresh lime juice

2 ounces distilled water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

Muddle strawberries and 2 sprigs basil in a mixing glass. Add tequila, vinegar, lime juice, water, and sugar, shake and serve over the rocks. Garnish with remaining sprig basil.

Nutritional score per serving: 165 calories

Louisville Sangria

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This “grilled” version of the scrumptious Spanish drink is infused with smoky flavors and spicy chipotle, making it an ideal complement to a grilled chicken or shrimp dish.

Serves: 16

Ingredients:

6 oranges, halved

4 lemons, halved

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups water

6 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped

6 ounces Four Roses Bourbon

12 ounces Seghesio Zinfandel

12 ounces soda water

Directions:

1. Build a fire in a grill for indirect cooking by situating coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void.

2. To create smoked citrus juice, place oranges and lemons on a disposable aluminum pan or aluminum foil. Place on void side of grill for at least 30 minutes, making sure to keep grill temperature at 225 degrees with the lid closed. Remove fruit from grill and let cool. Juice to produce 4 ounces smoked orange juice and 2 ounces smoked lemon juice, reserving unsqueezed citrus for garnish.

3. Combine brown sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. (This can be done over direct heat on the grill.) When sugar is dissolved, add chipotle peppers and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Let cool.

4. Combine bourbon, zinfandel, 4 ounces smoked orange juice, 2 ounces smoked lemon juice, and 3 ounces brown sugar-chipotle syrup in a sealable container and shake well. Transfer to a pitcher filled with ice, add soda water, stir, and serve. Garnish with remaining slices of smoked oranges and lemons.

Nutritional score per serving: 185 calories

Recipe created by Josh Perry, mixologist at Picán restaurant (Oakland, CA)

Asian Mojito

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Get ready for bikini season with this low-calorie version of the mojito, which relies on healthy accents of fresh mint and a squeeze of lime to add flavor without sugar.

Ingredients:

2 ounces TY KU Sake

Fresh mint

1 splash citrus seltzer

1 squeeze citrus (lemon, lime, or orange)

Directions:

Combine first 3 ingredients in a glass over ice and add a squeeze of citrus.

Nutritional score per serving: 105 calories

Grilled Lemonade

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This drink combines two classic symbols of summer: a sizzling grill and an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

6 pounds (about 16) lemons, halved

Sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup honey

2 rosemary sprigs (optional)

1 cup Four Roses Bourbon

Ice

Directions:

1. Dip cut side of lemons in sugar. Set aside on a tray to be grilled.

2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, water, and honey in a saucepan or disposable aluminum tray. Add rosemary and heat grill to medium-high heat. (For additional rosemary flavor, throw a handful of rosemary sprigs on the hot coals just prior to grilling.) Grill lemons cut-side down until nice grill marks appear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside to cool.

3. While grilling lemons, place saucepan with honey syrup on the grill. Heat syrup until sugar and honey are fully dissolved and desired amount of rosemary flavor has been infused into the syrup.

4. When lemons are cool, squeeze juice into a pitcher. Add syrup and water to taste, bourbon, and ice. Stir well and serve.

Nutritional score per serving: 230 calories

Recipe created by Josh Perry, mixologist at Picán restaurant (Oakland, CA)

Sake Sunrise

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This Japanese-inspired mimosa has just the right amount of sweetness from the orange juice, but the calorie count stays low.

Ingredients:

2 ounces TY KU Sake

1 ounce orange juice

1 splash Champagne

1 orange peel, for garnish

Directions:

Combine sake with orange juice, add a splash of champagne, and garnish with orange peel.

Nutritional score per serving: 120 calories

Skinny Peach Tea

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This simple two-ingredient cocktail couldn’t be easier to make.

Ingredients:

2 ounces Van Gogh Vodka

4 ounces Honest Peach White Tea

Directions:

Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 149 calories

The Blue-Hoo

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It may not be the healthiest cocktail on our list, but as long as you stop after one, this chocolate treat is better than a milkshake.

Ingredients:

2 ounces Van Gogh BLUE Vodka

4 ounces Yoo-Hoo

Directions:

Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in shaker with ice. Strain into a glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 200 calories

Tokyo Tea

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This grown-up iced tea lacks the bite or calorie counts of the usual Long Island Iced Tea, which is one of the worst cocktails you can choose, with five different liquors (gin, vodka, tequila, rum, and triple sec) and a huge hit of high-fructose corn syrup.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces TY KU Soju

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened iced tea

1 squeeze lemon, lime, or orange

Directions:

Combine ingredients and shake vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into glass.

Nutritional score per serving: 70 calories

'Mary'-tini

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Made with Altar Restore, a mixer that contains more than 25 organic ingredients, including juice from tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, grapes, lemon, and goji berries, this healthy martini is like a boozy garden in a glass.

Ingredients:

1 slice peeled cucumber

3 ounces Altar Restore

1 ounce vodka

1 goji berry, for garnish

Directions:

Muddle cucumber. Pour into a cocktail shaker with Altar, vodka, and ice. Shake, strain, and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with goji berry. 

Nutritional score per serving: 97 calories

Mango Daiquiri Scandal

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No matter where you’re having cocktail hour, this exotic-tasting drink will make you feel like you’ve been instantly transported to a tropical paradise.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Mango Passion Fruit Smirnoff Sorbet Light

1 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 mango wedge or lime wheel, for garnish

Directions:

Place first three ingredients to a stem-less wine glass over ice. Garnish with mango wedge or lime wheel.

Nutritional score per serving: 131 calories

Royalton’s Sorrento Sunrise

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The beautiful bright orange hue of this citrusy drink, from the Royalton in New York City, looks like a summer sunrise in a glass.

Ingredients:

3 cubes cantaloupe

Juice of 1/2 blood orange

2 ounces Grey Goose Vodka

1/4 ounce Lillet Blanc

1/2 ounce lemon Juice

1 slice blood orange, for garnish

Directions:

Muddle cantaloupe with blood orange juice and vodka in a shaker. Add Lillet Blanc and lemon juice and shake. Strain into a classic cocktail coupe and garnish with blood orange slice.

Nutritional score per serving: 200 calories

Kappa Fresca

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Made with Pisco, a Peruvian brandy, this sparkling, orange-accented cocktail is a delicious take on the standard mimosa. Pair it with an alfresco brunch on a sunny day.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Kappa Pisco

3 ounces fresh orange juice

Soda water

1 orange peel, for garnish

Directions:

Pour Kappa Pisco and orange juice into an ice-filled mixing glass and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, top with soda, and garnish with orange peel.

Nutritional score per serving: 170 calories

Belvedere Lemon Iced Tea

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Step aside Arnold Palmer: The alcoholic version of the drink the golfer made famous is a low-calorie (only 100!) and palate-pleasing way to celebrate the season.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Belvedere Lemon Tea


3 ounces chilled black tea or earl grey tea

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1 lemon wedge, for garnish

Directions:

Combine first three ingredients over ice and garnish with lemon wedge.

Nutritional score per serving: 100 calories

Avión Watermelon Martini

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Few things are as refreshing as biting into crisp, chilled watermelon on a hot day. As temperatures rise, cool yourself off this sweet twist on a classic martini.

Ingredients:

2 ounces Avión Silver or Reposado

1 ounce fresh lime juice

4 1-inch cubes fresh watermelon

1 squeeze agave nectar

1 lemon wedge, for garnish (optional)

1 mint leaf, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Build ingredients in a Collins glass with ice and stir. Garnish with lemon wedge and mint leaf, if desired.

Nutritional score per serving: 182 calories

Tequila Park's Angry Rabbit Margarita

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Liven up the lazy dog days of summer with this spicy margarita from the Hudson Hotel's Tequila Park, a New York City mezcal bar.

Ingredients:

1 cup agave syrup

1 cup water

1/2 red Thai chili pepper, sliced (use 1 whole pepper for extra-spicy syrup)

Sea salt

1 1/2 ounces Don Julio Blanco Tequila

1 1/4 ounces St. Germain liqueur

1/2 ounce passion fruit juice

1 ounce fresh carrot juice

1/4 ounce lime juice

1 basil leaf, for garnish

1 Thai chili pepper, for garnish

Directions:

1. To make Thai chili syrup, bring agave, water, and Thai chili to a boil in a medium saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until mixed well. Strain through a sieve or fine-mesh strainer to remove chilies, repeating until all are removed. Discard peppers. Store syrup in the refrigerator.

2. Rim a glass with salt. Shake tequila, St. Germain, passion fruit juice, carrot juice, lime juice, and 1/3 ounce Thai chili syrup with ice until chilled. Strain over ice into prepared glass. Garnish with smacked basil leaf and Thai chili.

Nutritional score per serving: 200 calories

Recipe created by Julio Torres Barman, mixologist at Tequila Park

Kappa White Sangria

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This fruit-filled sangria, a summertime staple, combines three types of alcohol, fruit juices, and fresh apples in a fun drink that only looks complex—it’s actually very simple to make.

Ingredients:

1 ounce Kappa Pisco

1 1/2 ounces Lapostolle Casa Sauvignon Blanc

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

1 1/2 ounces apple juice

1/2 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce orange juice

1 ounce soda water (or lemon-lime soda)

Sliced apple, for garnish

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except soda and apple in a mixing glass with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a wine glass or goblet, top with soda water, and swirl. Garnish with apple.

Nutritional score per serving: 198 calories

The Best Bellini Ever

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This peachy-keen drink, created by the Cocktail Guru, Jonathan Pogash, works at both a backyard brunch or pool party.

Ingredients:

1/4 ripe peach*

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

3 ounce Prosecco

1 ounce Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka

1 peach slice, for garnish

Directions:

In a mixing glass, muddle peach, agave, and lemon juice. Add Prosecco and vodka with ice and gently fold ingredients (without stirring too much, as this will remove bubbles). Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top off with extra Prosecco and garnish with peach slice.

*If peaches are not in season, substitute ripe peach, agave, and lemon juice for 1 1/2 ounces canned peach nectar.

Nutritional score per serving: 176 calories

Cruzan Key Lime Sparkler

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This fizzy, citrusy drink is a lighter version of a rum punch that still tastes tropical without the unnecessary calories, so you can stay in bikini-season shape all summer long.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 parts Cruzan Key Lime Rum


1/2 parts John DeKuyper & Sons O3 Premium Orange Liqueur 

2 dashes bitters

1 part sparkling wine

1 orange twist, for garnish

Directions:

Combine rum, orange liqueur, and bitters over ice and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe and add sparkling wine. Garnish with orange twist.

Nutritional score per serving: 171 calories

The Clooney

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This cocktail, featuring the tequila brand started by its namesake (George Clooney), is served poolside at the Daylight Beach Club at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. With light citrus flavors of grapefruit and lime, this ruby-colored drink tastes as delicious as it looks.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila

2 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice

1/2 ounce pure agave nectar

1 splash freshly squeezed lime juice

1 splash San Pellegrino Pompelmo

1 grapefruit slice, for garnish

1 luxardo cherry, for garnish

Directions:

In a mixing glass, combine tequila, grapefruit juice, agave, and lime juice. Add ice, cover, shake, and strain over fresh ice in a 12-ounce highball glass.Top with San Pellegrino Pompelmo, stir, and garnish with grapefruit slice and cherry.

Nutritional score per serving: 171 calories

The Darby's Strawberry Blonde

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Maybe strawberry blondes have more fun. Find out when you sip this spicy yet refreshing cocktail from The Darby, Alex Guarnaschelli’s New York City restaurant.

Ingredients:

1 strawberry

2 ounces jalapeno tequila

3/4 ounce agave

1 ounce lime juice

1 strawberry, for garnish

1 jalapeno, for garnish

Directions:

In a shaker, muddle strawberry. Add tequila, agave, and lime juice. Shake and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with strawberry and jalapeño.

Nutritional score per serving: 200 calories

Green with Inn-vy

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Go green with this sweet, refreshing cocktail made with dessert wine.

Ingredients:

6 slices cucumber

5 pieces honeydew melon

5 mint leaves

3 ounces Inniskillin Vidal

1 cucumber wheel, for garnish

1 mint sprig, for garnish

Directions:

In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber, melon, and mint. Add Vidal and ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with cucumber wheel and mint sprig.

Nutritional score per serving: 180 calories

Wakaya Perfection Organic French 75

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Not only does this drink slash the calories and sugar of the classic cocktail, it’s also infused with the tangy taste of ginger, which pairs nicely with citrus flavors.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces simple syrup

1/4 ounce Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder

1 1/2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce lemon juice

3 ounces Champagne

Directions:

To make ginger syrup, combine 1 ounce simple syrup with ginger powder. Combine with remaining simple syrup, gin, and lemon juice. Strain into a champagne coupe and top off with champagne.

Nutritional score per serving: 200 calories

Negroni Sbagliato

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This bright version of the classic Negroni is a great option for those looking for a more delicate cocktail that’s full of flavor but light on calories.

Ingredients:

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce Cinzano Rosso Vermouth

1 ounce Cinzano Prosecco

1 orange wedge, for garnish

Directions:

Build first three ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange wedge.

Nutritional score per serving: 95 calories

Crushed Crown

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This cocktail is a delicious to sip as you take in the sunset on a warm night, whether you’re gazing from the deck of a sailboat or simply sitting on your back porch.

Ingredients:

2 ounces SKYY Infusions Moscato Grape

1/2 ounce Coco Lopez (or cream of coconut)

1/2 ounce sweetened passion fruit puree (or papaya puree)

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

5 dashses Angostura bitters

1 mint sprig, for garnish

Directions:

Gently shake vodka, Coco Lopez, passion fruit puree, and lime juice. Strain over crushed ice in a highball glass, top with bitters, and garnish with mint sprig.

Nutritional score per serving: 178 calories

Spiced Moscato Grape

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This gorgeous white drink combines the unique flavors of grape, hot pepper, and lemon to make an interesting and incredibly tasty cocktail.

Ingredients:

1 small slice Serrano pepper, seeds on

3/4 ounce Orgeat syrup

2 ounces SKYY Infusions Moscato Grape

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 edible orchid, for garnish

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle pepper slice in Orgeat. Add vodka and lemon juice, shake, and finely strain into a martini glass. Garnish with orchid.

Nutritional score per serving: 177 calories

Created by Mixologist Lindsay Nader of Elysium Craft Cocktail Services in Los Angeles