Low Calorie Springtime Cocktails

After a harsh winter, a weekend of sunshine is all the excuse needed for entertaining during the spring and summer. With warmer weather, shifting entertaining outdoors can't come soon enough. Evenings on the patio, deck, balcony or dock are a lovely way to relax and enjoy the season.

Unfortunately, downing too many cocktails is a sure fire way to pack on a few unwanted pounds. But not to worry, there are still options available so that you can enjoy a cocktail or two without worrying about putting on your beach gear come the summer.

Below, I've listed a few low calorie alternatives to try. Not only do these refreshing cocktails taste great, they come in under 150 calories per glass! So sit back, relax and enjoy the sun ... you've deserved it!

Frozen Margaritas (120 calories)

  • 12 oz can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 2/3 cups tequila
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1/2 lime, medium size
  • coarse salt (for rimming glasses)

In a blender, combine the limeade and tequila. Mix until well blended. With the blender running, add ice cubes gradually through the opening in the lid until the mixture turns to slush.

Cut lime into thick slices. Run lime around edge of glasses and dip into coarse salt. Pour mixture into glasses and garnish with lime slices.

(Makes 10 servings)

Apple Martinis (135 calories)

  • 1 large granny smith apple, sliced into disks
  • 1 1/2 cups gin (you can also use vodka, but I prefer gin)
  • 1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tbsp dry vermouth
  • Ice cubes

In a small pitcher, combine the gin, vermouth and apple juice concentrate. Put ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and for each drink, add about 1/4 cup of the mixture and shake well.

Strain the mixture into a martini glass and float one of the apple disks in the drink.

(Makes 8 servings)

Sparkling Sangria (100 calories)

  • 750 ml bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 cup light orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy (or cognac)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 medium oranges, sliced
  • 2 cups club soda
  • Crushed ice

Combine wine, orange juice, brandy, orange liqueur and sugar in a large pitcher. Once mixed, add sliced oranges. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Add club soda prior to serving and pour into glasses over crushed ice.

(Makes 12 servings)

Pomegranate Martinis (146 calories)

  • 1/2 orange, medium size
  • Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate syrup
  • 3 tbsp dry vermouth
  • Ice cubes

Cut the orange into wedges and rub around the edges of glasses. Dip the glasses into the sugar and put aside.

Combine the vodka, pomegranate syrup and vermouth in a small pitcher. Add about a 1/4 cup of the mixture to a cocktail shaker with the ice cubes.

Shake well and strain into one of the prepared glasses.

(Makes 8 servings)

Mojitos (95 calories)

  • 2 large limes
  • 4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light rum
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Ice cubes

Cut the limes into pieces and combine with 2 cups of water and the sugar using a blender. Blend for about 30 seconds until the limes are chopped up, but do not puree.

Strain into a large pitcher and add the other 2 cups of water. Cover and chill for 1 to 12 hours. Prior to serving, mix the rum into the lime mixture.

Put mint leaves into a glass and press firmly into the bottom of the glass with a wooden spoon to release flavour. Fill the glass with ice cubes and pour the lime and rum mixture over the ice cubes. Garnish with further mint leaves and/or lime slices.

(Makes 8 servings)

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