5 Lighter-Than-Usual Cocktails Starring Summer Fruit

By: Emily Lee

Health experts unanimously agree that light or zero alcohol consumption is better than heavy or even moderate drinking, and we can’t argue with that. But for those of us content to live life by the “in moderation” mantra, the best we can do is steer clear of the true nutritional disasters: thick, creamy daiquiris and sickeningly sweet juice cocktails that pack half a day’s calories or more.

On the other hand, light, effervescent drinks sweetened with whole fruit or homemade fruit juices will give you a buzz and a few additional nutrients. If you’re looking to get a little bit tipsy without going overboard, this is the way to drink — and we have a few cocktail recipes that will help keep happy-hour excess in check.

This glamorous pink cocktail is best suited for the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby, but it will fit in with grace and ease at any other summer soiree. To make it healthier, the chefs in Food Network Kitchen used honey in place of white processed sugar, and the gorgeous pink hue comes from a blend of watermelon, kiwi and lime juices.

Ellie Krieger's White Sangria or Summer Healthy Grilling as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ellie Krieger’s refreshing sangria is a citrusy mix of white wine, orange liqueur and brandy plus orange juice and sliced fruit. A splash of club soda provides a touch of fizz.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime,WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bobby Flay combines two of summer’s defining fruits, watermelon and strawberries, to create the ideal refresher for a light brunch or summer cocktail hour. Cold rosé and orange liqueur form the sangria’s crisp-sweet base, perfect on a balmy day.

Red Wine Spritzers; Rachael Ray

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Rachael Ray adds bubbly seltzer water to dry Italian red wine and flavors her spritzer with seasonal berries for a low-calorie and effervescent summer drink.

Frozen Mango Margarita; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Skip the neon, bottled margarita mix and whip up a fruity base for this classic tequila cocktail instead. Ellie achieves sunny yellow color by blending orange liqueur, tequila and lime with frozen mango pieces.

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Classic Cocktails, Slimmed Down — Summer Soiree

Whether you prefer clear vodka or dark rum, here are a few classic cocktail recipes, slimmed down for your next summer party.

5 Tropical-Cocktail Calorie Bombs to Avoid This Summer

Some of your favorite cocktails can have as much as 800 calories per drink! Here are five tropical-cocktail calorie bombs that you may want to think twice about ordering.

Healthy Swaps: Summer Cocktails

There’s nothing wrong with sipping on a cocktail or two, just don't overdo it. Make smart choices for those alcoholic drinks – try our healthy swaps.

Ingrid's Summer Cocktails

Cooling drink recipes, plus tips for making the best cocktails

5 Ingredients: Five Summer Sauces

Liven up your summer menus! Here are five totally different sauces bursting with seasonal flavors.

Frozen Fruit 5 Ways

Now that winter is upon us, the fresh fruit of summer is a past memory. This is the perfect time to turn to frozen fruit – look for unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars. Here are 5 easy ways to use them.

5 Ingredients: Fruit Leather

Check the labels on many of those packaged fruit leathers and you’ll find upwards of 15 ingredients including corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. trans fats) preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors. Our homemade version has only three ingredients (okay, four if you count water), and fresh, satisfying flavor.