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.
By: Emily Lee

MINT_JULIP

Think twice before you reach for that tiki drink. When you consider that one standard shot (1 1/2 fluid ounces) of 80-proof vodka, rum or gin contains roughly 100 calories, you’re likely throwing back more calories than you bargained for on a typical night out, especially if you’re combining a few of these with sugary mixers. One way to take control of your caloric intake is to skip the bar all together and mix your drinks at home. For a lighter version of your favorite cocktail, start by measuring out the hard stuff. Choose 100 percent juice or use fresh fruits and herbs to flavor your drink in place of overly sweetened bottled mixers. And remember: Size matters. Keep the calorie count under control by pouring your cocktails into 8-ounce glasses, or smaller. Whether you prefer clear vodka or dark rum, here are a few classic cocktail recipes, slimmed down for your next summer party.

Mint Julep

As far as cocktails go, mint juleps are far from the worst. Bobby Flay sticks to the classic combination of bourbon whiskey, mint, sugar and shaved ice when preparing his old-fashioned   Mint Julep (pictured at top).

Frozen Mango Margarita; Ellie Krieger

Frozen Mango Margarita; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Margarita

If you've been searching for a new summer brunch cocktail, look no further. Ellie Krieger uses real mango in these  Frozen Mango Margaritas to create a refreshing drink with tropical flair. Real mango is lighter than store-bought mango juice, but it's still plenty sweet. Blend the orange liqueur, tequila and lime with the frozen mango pieces; limit servings to about 1 cup to keep calories in check.

Pink Passion Hurricane

Pink Passion Hurricane

Hurricane

Poolside lounging is even better with this  Passion Fruit Hurricane, a sweet summer cocktail with a tart edge. Ted Allen gives the New Orleans classic a frosty makeover by combining rum, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and passion fruit puree with ice in a blender. With four tablespoons of dark rum per drink, one will probably get you more than just a buzz.

Chef Name: Ina Garten

Full Recipe Name: Lemon Drop Cocktail

Talent Recipe: Ina Gartenâ  s Lemon Drop Cocktail, as seen on Barefoot Contessa

FNK Recipe: 

Project: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOS

Show Name: Barefoot Contessa

Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

InaGarten_LemonDropCocktail_H

Chef Name: Ina Garten Full Recipe Name: Lemon Drop Cocktail Talent Recipe: Ina Garten’s Lemon Drop Cocktail, as seen on Barefoot Contessa FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOS Show Name: Barefoot Contessa Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Martini

Ina Garten's Lemon Drop Cocktail is a summery riff on a classic "straight-up" martini. Generally speaking, a petite cocktail with a short list of ingredients will contain fewer calories than a tall monstrosity brimming with artificial mixers. This recipe keeps it simple with just three ingredients: vodka, lemon and a little bit of sugar.

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

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

Sangria

Ellie's  White Sangria takes only five minutes to assemble in a large pitcher and, better yet, contains just 143 calories per serving. Add orange juice and club soda to balance out the perfume-y combination of white wine, brandy and orange liqueur. Take the time to prepare it in the morning so the sangria has several hours to develop its fruity flavor; pull it out when dinner is ready to serve that evening.

For more refreshing summer cocktails, check out these recipes from friends and family.

Virtually Homemade: Strawberry Swirl Pina Colada
Daisy at Home: Frozen Watermelon-ade
Homemade Delish: Summer Cocktail Delight
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Prosecco & Chambord Cocktail

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