These breezy summer drinks contain less sugar and no alcohol—bottoms up!
Whether you never consume alcohol, or just want a break from booze, it’s almost universally accepted that NA drink options are a) loaded with sugar, b) all but nonexistent, or c) just not that tasty. But with so many fresh, juicy ingredients summer available now, this is the perfect time of year to break those stereotypes.
There are a few secrets for sipping success when it comes to nonalcoholic cocktails that won’t break your calorie bank. First, use fresh and ripe fruit to your advantage. You may find that it tastes so delicious, you don’t even need additional sugar to sweeten the deal.
Second, rely on no-calorie seltzer for the fizz factor. This fills the glass and allows you to use higher-sugar sodas and mixers sparingly. A splash adds flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with nontraditional flavors. Ingredients you may not traditionally think of in cocktails (think: herbs or spices) can add a big flavor punch without any additional fats, sugars, or cals.
RELATED: 11 Mocktail Recipes for Summer
Here are 4 breezy, light summer mocktails that taste so good, you might even convince your friends to trade in their wine coolers.
If You Have a Sweet Tooth…
Start by making a flavored simple syrup: Combine ¼ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup water, and 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar and honey, and remove from heat. Strain out rosemary, and let syrup cool.
Place a few ice in a highball glass, and add desired amount of syrup (you will have some left over; store in an airtight jar in the fridge). Top with seltzer water, and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.
Raspberry-Lime Rickey Slushie
Red raspberries' juicy, perfumey, sweet flavor peaks from late June through August and is just right for this summer cooler. View the recipe here, and omit the gin for a refreshing mocktail.
If You Like Bitter and Herbaceous Flavors…
Celery and Grapefruit Tonic
Add a few ice cubes to a rocks glass and pour in 4 ounces grapefruit juice. Add 2-3 ounces seltzer water, and top with a splash of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray (celery soda). Garnish with a half-moon slice of fresh grapefruit and a celery stalk with the leaves. Although the celery soda contains a small amount of sugar, you may further sweeten this by stirring in a small amount of simple syrup.
If You Like Things Spicy…
Spicy Mango Sipper
In a shallow, wide bowl combine sea salt, lime zest, and a small amount of cayenne pepper. Run a lime wedge around the lip of a rocks glass, then invert the glass and dip it in the spicy salt.
Add a few pieces of ripe chopped mango to the glass, and use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to mash up the fruit. Top with mango LaCroix sparkling water and enjoy. You may sweeten this further by adding 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar to the mango before muddling.
If You’re a Fan of Fruity and Creamy Drinks…
Add 1/3 cup ripe, hulled strawberries to a blender. Add 1/2 cup light coconut milk, 1 tablespoon agave syrup, and 4-5 ice cubes. Blend on high until frothy and creamy. Pour into a glass and sip through a straw.