The summer heat has you craving something cold quench your thirst.  Before you dive into that frosty mug of pale ale or start sipping pina colada’s poolside find out exactly what your options are for great-tasting, low calorie drinks this season. Maybe you  worked hard all winter-long to get a rockin’ beach body … or maybe not.  Either way you don’t want to blow your daily caloric intake on one drink on the patio.  While low-calorie beers abound these days there are other icy cold options to try.

Alcoholic

Soju, a Korean distilled liquor, has half the calories of vodka and a smooth taste.  Mix things up by adding it to drinks with other diet beverages like soda, juice and tea (a natural diuretic) to create some truly tasty drinks. Have a happy fourth using Blue Curacao to create your own patriotic drink for only 140 calories.  It will satisfy our thirst and its fizz makes it perfect for any party.  Add one part Soju with one part diet ginger ale to a splash of Blue Curacao and serve on the rocks.

You go low carb when you drink whiskey.  A 1.5 ounce of whiskey or bourbon is all you need to create a sweet summer sipper that beats a mint julep any day.  Pour a shot of bourbon or whiskey into a tall glass and an equal part of simple syrup.  Mix it with a 6 ounces of black or earl grey iced tea and the juice from half of lemon.  Refreshing, full of antioxidants from the tea, this drink is great by the pitcher-full.

Non-Alcoholic

Lemonade or iced tea, which one do you choose?  Why not combine them for a simple drink that  tastes like summer itself?  Mix equal parts of both, served over ice and you have an Arnold Palmer.

Want something a bit more tropical? Skip the mixes and try a virgin pina colada made with enzyme-rich pineapple and coconut milk.  Pair one cup of unsweetened coconut milk with 2 cups of frozen banana puree (made in your own blender) and ¼ teaspoon of coconut extract. Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and one 13.5 ounce can of crushed pineapple or fresh pineapple. Blend together with a cup of ice. It is delicious and healthy with two of your daily servings of fruit.  At 260 calories and 14 grams of fat it is nearly half the 526 calories that a regular pina colada contains.

There are so many options available when you start testing and trying things out.  Using extracts and natural juices can reduce the calories just as much as diet or “skinny” versions of a drink.  Weigh the benefits of the ingredients against the calories and grams of fat and then go have fun.