Why you should lighten your sugar load and sip these instead

By Jené Luciani
June 06, 2012

It may taste sweet, but what we've been hearing about sugar lately is leaving a sour taste in our mouths. Recently, a California doctor revealed in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes that the little bit of sweetness we're stirring in our coffee or sprinkling on our desserts might actually be "toxic." We already know that excessive sugar consumption can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. Shockingly, about 16-percent of the total calories in an American's diet come from added sugars, and many of those calories come in the form of liquids.

So before you sip that sugary margarita, there may be a ‘lighter' version that's just as sweet. According to the bartenders at Manhattan's Haru Sushi restaurants, there are some easy ways to keep your cocktails skinny, like using seltzer or coconut water as a mixer instead of fruit juice (it cuts the calorie count almost in half!), using fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and oranges to naturally sweeten the drink instead of high-calorie purees, and picking cocktails made with sake, shochu, or soju; these spirits tend to have fewer calories than the staple ones such as vodka, gin, and whiskey.

Here are eight sugar-free or low-sugar cocktails you can indulge in guilt-free this summer.

Watermelon Fizz


100 Calories

1.0 oz. Tequila (Haru uses Inocente Tequila)

3.0 oz. Watermelon

0.1 oz. Simple Syrup

0.1 oz. Soda water

5 Cilantro pieces

Squeeze of lime

1 Bamboo spike

Muddle watermelon with cilantro leaves. Add ice, simple syrup, and tequila. Shake vigorously and pour all contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with a piece of watermelon in a bamboo spike

Skinny Colada


170 Calories

2 oz. SKYY Infusions Coconut

¼ oz. SKYY Infusions Pineapple

2 oz. Club soda

Splash of pineapple juice

Squeeze of lemon

Mix over ice in a highball glass.

Garden Fresh Summerita


150 Calories

1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

1 oz. Cabo Wabo tequila

Juice of half a lime

3 sprigs fresh cilantro

3 thin slices of fresh cucumber

3 thin slices of a fresh jalapeño pepper

Cucumber wheel for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (except cucumber wheel) filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with cucumber wheel.

Skinny Bikini


138 Calories

1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

1 ½ oz. SKYY Infusions Coconut

1 oz. Diet lemon-lime soda

3 oz. Light cranberry juice

Shredded coconut

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine X-Rated, rum, and cranberry juice and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice cube filled glass and top with shredded coconut for garnish.

Summer Peach


150 Calories

2 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

4 oz. Peach Tea

Peach slice for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, peach tea, and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice cube filled highball glass and garnish with peach slice.



85 Calories

1.5 oz Voli Lyte

1/2 of a Fresh Lime

8 Mint Leaves

1 Packet Sweetener

Club Soda

Glass: Highball

Garnish: Mint Sprig

Muddle Lime, Mint and Sweetener. Add Voli, shake lightly and pour all ingredients in a glass. Top with club soda.

Go Cocktails! Signature Margarita


100 Calories

1 packet Go Cocktails! Sugar-free Margarita Mix

2 ounces Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila

4-6 ounces Water

Squeeze of lime

Mix ingredients and serve over ice.

Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo


100 Calories

We'd be remiss if we didn't include the original low-cal Cocktail Queen in our roundup of light summer sips. Bethenny Frankel started the trend with her signature Skinnygirl marg and has since expanded the line to include several other flavors, the newest being the White Cranberry Cosmo-which she describes as "a sassy take on a classic [drink], combining hints of orange essence, subtle lime, berry fruit notes, and cranberry into a natural, agave-sweetened wonder."

And because it's pre-mixed with actual white cranberries and premium vodka, you can finally enjoy a cosmo Sex and the City style-without the calories! This bottled concoction, available at liquor stores, has only 100 calories per serving.