Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › The Ultimate Guide to Summertime Drinks

Ah … summertime. With the hot weather comes the usual round of outdoor activities — and that includes picnics, barbecues and backyard parties made all the better by the longer days and lingering sunlight.

And summertime-friendly, refreshing cocktails are always a wonderful addition to the festivities, as well as a great complement to warm-weather menus.

However, summer is also the season of swimsuits, shorts, and sundresses — so those who are watching their figures (and that’s just about everyone, come bikini weather) are likely also watching the calories, carbs and overall nutritional content of the drinks they’re hoping to enjoy.

We won’t lie: Many summery cocktails rely on such diet-unfriendly additions as fruit and sugar to create the light and refreshing flavors so perfect on a warm evening. However, with some common sense and a few recipes on hand, it’s easy to whip up drinks that won’t completely kill your diet. Clocking in at around 160 to 220 calories each, these tasty cocktails will satisfy your summer soul. Just be sure to sip slowly and enjoy only one (or heck, maybe skip dessert and have two).

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Summertime Drinks
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  1. Blended Margarita: 1 1/2 oz tequila, 1 oz triple sec, 1/2 oz lime juice, 1/2 oz simple syrup, ice. Pinch of salt to the rim of the glass
  2. Mojito: 4 oz club soda, 1 1/2 oz white rum, 1 oz simple syrup, 1/2 lime, 4 small sprigs of mint.
  3. Sangria Cup: 4 oz wine, 1 oz orange liqueur or brandy, 1 oz club soda. Several slices of fresh fruit ( melon, citrus, berries, etc).
  4. Long Island Iced Tea: 3/4 oz lemon juice, 3/4 oz simple syrup, 1/2 oz vodka, 1/2 oz gin, 1/2 oz white rum, 1/2 oz tequila, 1/4 oz triple sec, splash of cola and ice.
  5. Bellini: 4 oz champagne, and 2 oz peach puree.
  6. Mint Julep: 2 1/2 oz bourbon, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 4 mint sprigs, leaves only.
  7. Moscow Mule: 6 oz ginger beer, 2 oz vodka, and 1/2 lime.
  8. Cuba Libre: 1 can of cola, 2 oz dark rum and 1/2 lime.
  9. Tipsy Arnold Palmer: 3 oz brewed black tea, 1 1/2 oz vodka, 1 1/2 oz simple syrup, 1 1/2 oz lemon juice and ice.
  10. Michelada: 12 oz Mexican lager or beer, 4 oz tomato juice, 2 dashes habanero pepper sauce, 1 dash worchtershire sauce, 1 lime wedge. Pinch of salt and ground chile for rim.
  11. Paloma: 6 oz grapefruit soda, 2 oz tequila, and 1/2 oz lime juice.

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Download the printable Summertime Drinks Guide here!

A Quick Liquor Primer

In general, when considering which cocktails will best fit into your diet, the first place to start is examining the calorie and carb count of the key ingredient — the booze, of course. Although a serving of most common alcohols (that’s 1.5 oz for the hard stuff, 5 oz for wine and 12 oz for beer) all weigh in at under 200 calories, some drinks pack a significantly bigger calorie whomp than others due to the mixers and additions to the overall drink.

Consider this basic list:

  • A 1.5 oz serving of 80-proof gin, rum, tequila, vodka or whiskey all contain roughly 100 calories
  • 12 oz light beer: 70-100 cal, 5 g carbs
  • 12 oz regular beer: 110-160 cal, 13 g carbs
  • 5 oz wine: 130 calories, 4 g carbs
  • 5 oz champagne: 110 cal, 3 g carbs
  • 1 Tbsp sugar: 9 calories, 2.3 g carbs


Putting It All Together

Another important element of the overall nutritional result of your drink is, of course, the additives. Probably the best diet drink available – which is still refreshing for a summer evening – is a simple vodka and club soda with a twist of lemon or lime, or a splash of cranberry juice. You can also try a gin and diet tonic or just stick with a crisp, chilled glass of white wine.

Looking for something a bit more festive? If you want to get the most buzz for your calorie bang, try cocktails that incorporate small amounts of different liquors (such as a Long Island Iced Tea), which can be reasonable in overall calorie count. Avoid calorie traps like full-calorie colas, overuse of sugary simple syrup and premade cocktail mixers. If you’re hankering for a drink with a heftier calorie punch — such as a margarita — try lots of ice and stick to just one.

You can also cut calories (and double your good karma as the designated driver for the evening) by eliminating alcohol altogether from your drink. Not all cocktails lend themselves to “virgin” versions, but you can whip up delicious family-friendly mocktails such as a virgin sangria, or try a fruity mimosa topped off with club soda instead of champagne!

Happy sipping on a summer night!

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Hi! I’m Maria, formerly the Social Media & Content Marketing Manager for ForRent.com. I was part of a dream team that is dedicated to running this awesome blog along with ForRent.com's social channels. If I am not busy writing blogs and socially sharing, you can find me working out, drinking cappuccinos, stylizing my apartment and doing DIY projects!

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