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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Refreshing and Guilt-free: Cutting the Calories in Summer Cocktails

It’s hot out. When it comes to libations at this time of year, most people turn to choices that are cold and refreshing. There are so many beautiful fruits in season, and Americans love their sugar. Unfortunately, a thirst-quenching, fruity cocktail can pack in the calories during a time when you are trying to maintain, achieve or show off a bikini body.

Summer cocktails create a dilemma—how can we have our cake and drink it, too? 

One of the easiest lo-cal cocktails is simply vodka with club soda and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. The caloric count of vodka is in the range of 70, depending on brand. It is a spirit that agrees with a range of mixers such as lo-cal and no-cal lemonades and Sparkling Ice flavored waters.

Purity Vodka from Sweden is distilled 34 times using a specially designed still made of copper and gold, creating a spirit so refined that no filtration is necessary. Packaged in a sophisticated design with a glass topper, it’s clean with a slight floral note. Purity is a nice choice for a dirty martini—talk about a low-calorie classic.

Tito’s Vodka has become an American-made fave. Its flavors are slightly more pronounced, but it’s still smooth and approachable, making it well suited for almost any mixer.

As simple and refreshing as a vodka soda is, this cocktail is not the most festive for beach and pool parties. While mixers are the calorie culprits for umbrella-like drinks, they are an important part of crafting a festive cocktail. 

As popular as a summer margarita is, the drink can be the kiss of death for your daily caloric intake; some estimates push 600, depending on the size of the glass. 

You can cut the mixer to a mere five calories by using Stirrings 5-Calorie Margarita Mix; the tequila will run you about 65 calories an ounce. Stirrings’ Ultimate Skinny Margarita recipe calls for three ounces of the mix, 1.5 ounces of Casamigos Blanco Tequila, shaken with ice and poured into a rocks glass. 

Club soda cuts the calories of white wine for a lovely afternoon spritzer. The key here is making sure both liquids are very cold, as ice can dilute flavors rather quickly. Fill a chilled glass three-quarters of the way with a wine such as Moobuzz Pinot Grigio and top with club soda and a slice of citrus or melon. This fruity pinot from Paso Robles is also quite nice on its own.
Try these lo-cal cocktails at you next summer soiree. 

Purity Berry H2O 

  • 4 parts Purity Vodka
  • 3 parts berry water 
Put one cup of mixed berries and one long piece of lemon zest into three parts of distilled or high-quality water. Combine ingredients in a glass pitcher and let sit, refrigerated, for at least four hours, or preferably overnight. Serve the vodka mixed with the berry water, either shaken and strained or simply poured over ice. (pictured above)

Lemon Drop Martini 

  • 1½ ounces Tito’s Vodka 
  • 3 ounces Stirrings Lemon Drop Martini Mix
  • Lemon twist for garnish


If using Stirrings Lemon Drop Rimmer, moisten the rim of a chilled glass with the lemon twist, then gently dip the glass in the Rimmer mix. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the mix and vodka. Shake and strain into the martini glass. Garnish with the twist and enjoy.

Spring Thyme 

  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce Botanist Gin
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 fresh thyme leaves


Lightly muddle thyme leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Add all remaining ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a coupe.

Pretty Girl 

  • 1½ ounces Barceló Gran Platinum Rum
  • 1½ ounces fresh watermelon juice
  • ¼ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce agave
  • 2 basil leaves ripped 
  • Splash of sparkling water or wine


Shake juices, rum and agave, then double strain over ice. Pour into a Collins glass and top with soda or cava. Garnish with basil leaf and an edible flower such as nasturtium or orchid.

Written by Gina Birch, a regular contributor, a lover of good food and drink, and a well-known media personality in Southwest Florida.