Cheers Re­fresh­ing … and Guilt-free

Cut­ting the calo­ries in sum­mer cock­tails

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - Gina Birch is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor, a lover of good food and drink, and a well-known me­dia per­son­al­ity in South­west Florida.

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 your 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 highqual­ity 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.

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 glass.

PRETTY GIRL 1½ ounces Ron 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.

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