The patio is open and summer is here!
With the weather heating up along comes the invites for BBQs and happy hours so that’s why I want you to help you make the best choices for your health while still enjoying the flavours of summer.
I’m usually the go to amongst my friends for making a fun cocktail. Let’s just say that I had a lot of experience in my college days…
Give me a shaker and a bottle of vodka or rum and I’m your bartender.
My vice of choice now is wine during the seldom times I do drink. I always have my Swell water bottle with me, and love to start my day with a cup of coffee or matcha tea. I stay away from the sugary stuff – no soda or fruit juice for me. If I’m going to eat sugar I’d rather eat it – let’s say in the form of chocolate cake or blueberry crumble instead of in my glass.
I know that fruity sugary tropical drinks make people weak in the knees during the summer so that’s why I’m sooo excited to share my tips for creating these 3 healthy and refreshing summer cocktails! They don’t use fancy complicated ingredients are full of flavour and are quick to whip up!
The secret to fun beverages is using whole, fresh ingredients like fresh herbs, fruit and anti-inflammatory ingredients. The key to avoid packing on the pounds is to avoid calorie-dense drink mixes, fruit juices and simple syrups which are packed with sugar and unhealthy additives.
Through my blog I’ve shared recipes on how to eat healthy without sacrificing flavour so I wanted to do the same for you so you can drink while nourishing your body and spirit guilt free! Again alcohol does have its downsides so this is not a license to go nuts! With that said, please enjoy these delicious recipes but I urge you to drink responsibly.
Healthy Cocktail Mixers
Let’s kick things off with some of my favourite healthy cocktail bases. This is where most people go wrong. There are some drinks that actually have more calories than a slice of cake or a cheeseburger!
The worst offender?
Long Island Iced Tea. Don’t worry I got you covered later in the post. Second runner up calorie bomb? A Pina Colada which can contain close to 700 calories for a 6 oz serving!
Here are some healthier cocktail mixers to consider:
Club soda or sparkling water
This is my go to mixer for tequila or vodka with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
You can punch it up a bit with add ins like like citrus fruits [grapefruit, lime or lemon], berries or even fresh ginger. Most sparkling water brands have very few calories and little to no sugar. Just be sure to check the label.
Fresh cold pressed juices [like green juice]
Noticed I said fresh juices – NOT traditional frozen concentrate juices or carton juice. Cold pressed juices make a great healthy base for cocktails because they’re full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and most importantly – FLAVOUR! Try my energizing Beet Ginger Juice which you can whip up easily if you don’t have a juicer.
Bonus – beets offer lots of protection for your liver!
Coconut water is the ultimate hydrating drink due to electrolytes. One of my hubby’s favourite drink is coconut water with a splash of rum. Make sure to buy a brand that is pure coconut water without added sugar
Fermented foods like kombucha are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics are great for overall immune function, digestive and gut health. It also tends to be low in calories. Although the sugar helps with the fermentation process, some brands can be quite high in sugar. Learn more about the benefits of probiotics in my new course Feed A Healthy Brain! You can check it out right here!
Just make sure to check the label for the sugar content. Be sure to look at the serving size as well because sometimes they don’t show the full serving size on the nutrition label.
Kombucha is made by taking brewed tea and adding the sugar and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY eats the sugar, turning the tea into a fermented beverage. I was quite skeptical about it for a long time before I tried it but now i love it as well as the health benefits it provides. My favourite flavour is ginger.
Tea is also packed with health boosting antioxidants that can be great for your immune system as well as preventing disease. A lot of people think that a a Long Island Iced Tea is the healthier choice when reaching for an alcoholic beverage. WRONG!!
A typical 9 ounce Long Island Iced Tea can have more than 430 calories! The combination of vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec and sugar makes this cocktail a calorie bomb.
As a healthier alternative, drink unsweetened iced tea and add either vodka or rum with a few squeezes of lemon and lime.
I like to choose teas that offer health benefits like green tea, rooibos, black tea or hibiscus.
Now let’s get to the recipes!
Spiked Turmeric Chai Iced Tea
I love tea as a base for a cocktail because its packed with health-boosting antioxidants that help prevent chronic disease. For this iced tea cocktail simply brew tea and allow it to steep for at least 12 hours to fully get its flavors and nutrients.
If you can’t find this particular brand of tea you can use a regular chai tea bag and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. If you want a creamier cocktail simply add in some coconut milk.
STASH Turmeric Chai Tea (or chai tea + ¼ tsp turmeric)
1 oz simple syrup [one part coconut palm sugar, one part water]
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz. lemon juice
Splash of coconut milk [optional, if you like more of a latte]
Garnish with mint leaf
Brew tea, steep and chill for at least 12 hours.
Add remaining ingredients in order listed.
Chia Strawberry Lemonade Refresher
This star superfood ingredient in this drink are chia seeds. Chia seeds contains high levels of antioxidants. They’re also packed with soluble fiber which helps to move food along your digestive tract and also flushes toxins from your body and aides in the absorption of nutrients. Exactly what you need to help counteract the effects of alcohol.
Bonus – they also help to fight belly fat!
You’re also going to get a nice dose of vitamin C thanks to the strawberries and the lemons will also help to flush toxins from the liver. See told you I had your back!
2-3 ripe Strawberries, diced
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1-½ cup water
Juice from ½ lemon
1 oz vodka
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Lime wedge for garnish
Stir chia seeds into water and let sit in fridge for 1 hour or more, so seeds can expand. Stir well so seeds do not clump together.
Muddle strawberries with lemon juice using a muddler or a fork. Stir strawberry-lemon mixture into chia water mixture, and add vodka and maple syrup if desired.
Garnish with lime wedge and serve well chilled.
Mango Kombucha Rum Runner
My new favourite base for cocktails has to be kombucha which gives this drink a nice bubbly effervescent kick!
1 cup mango kombucha
Squeeze of lime juice
1 oz rum
Pineapple wedge for garnish
Add all ingredients and ice to glass in order listed.
Stir and enjoy!
Play around with these recipes and make them your own!
If you want to take a crack at making your own Summer Superfood Cocktails, give these superfoods a try:
Citrus fruits: Lime, lemon, grapefruit, and oranges
Fresh herbs: Basil, mint, lavender, sage and rosemary [try this rosemary spritzer!]
Let me be clear. I am in no way stating that alcohol is healthy but you can lessen some of it’s harmful effects on your body by pairing it with real whole food ingredients.
If you don’t want to drink alcohol no biggie – these drinks still taste ahhhhmazing without alcohol.
If you make any of these cocktails this summer I’d love to hear about it! Come on back and leave me a comment and post your pics on social! Don’t forget to tag me @eatliveandplay on Instagram or trudyestone on Facebook.