6 Nutritionist-Approved Summer Cocktails

Our resident dietitian says these are the adult bevies to sip this summer.



Photo by: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

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Want to beat the summertime heat with a tasty cocktail, but don’t want to break the calorie bank? With some alcoholic bevies tipping the scales at more than 600 sugary calories, there are plenty of reasons to be weary. Stay cool and cocktail fueled at your summer shindigs with these nutritionist green light picks.


Enjoy the bounty of summer fruit in your seasonal cocktail. “Sangria is a welcomed side to summer BBQs at my house. So light, fruity and refreshing” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table. “You can make a traditional alcohol-based version with wine, mango, strawberries, watermelon and a touch of brandy or go for a lighter beverage with a base of herbal tea.”


Yes, margaritas can be made healthier! Hefty splashes of tequila plus sugary juices and sour mix can stack up to a massive margarita, yielding more than 500 calories per serving. A properly portioned drink made with 100% fruit juice and some sparkling water can allow for blissful sipping.

Pina Coladas

A modest 12-fluid ounce pour of pina colada weighs in at more than 650 calories. The key to lower calorie frosty cocktails is frozen fruit! Lots of frozen pineapple blended with a sensible amount of rum and a splash of cream of coconut cream leads to guilt free, next level colada.


Wine coolers are making a comeback and you can easily make your own lower calorie cocktail with a mixture of bubbly flavored seltzer and a crispy fruity wine.

Recipe: Wine Spritzer

Session IPA

India Pale Ales (aka IPAs) are what craft beer lovers dreams are made of but many of these brewskies have a higher percent alcohol by volume (%ABV) than traditional beers, making them pretty hefty in the calorie department. Lighter “session” IPAs have a lower % ABV; they are refreshingly drinkable and a great way to keep the calories in check.


Registered dietitian, Malina Linkas Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN is the creator of the Wholitarian Lifestyle and a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her top cocktail pick is filled with minty goodness. "I can't think of a more refreshing summer combo than the lime and mint in a good mojito, but if you're trying to cut sugar, mojitos can be tricky. A great way to lose the sugar and add healthy nutrients without sacrificing flavor is to use watermelon as a base. Malkani suggests blending chunks of the pink melon with ice, mint, lime and a shot of rum.

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