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Low-Calorie Drink Recipes

Make your happy hour healthier with these refreshing, low-calorie alcoholic and nonalcoholic cocktails.

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Sun Teas
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Sangria Sparkler

Sharing a pitcher of sangria with friends is a great way to kick off summer. Sliced oranges are a traditional addition to this refreshing Spanish beverage. With their bright red flesh, blood oranges give extra impact.

Prep: 10 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Makes: 12 servings

750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
1 cup light orange juice
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
1/4 cup orange liqueur
2 tablespoons sugar
2 medium oranges, sliced
2 cups club soda, chilled
Crushed ice and/or orange peel curls (optional)

1. In a large pitcher, combine wine, orange juice, brandy, orange liqueur, sugar, and orange slices. Chill at least 2 hours. Add club soda before serving. Serve over crushed ice and/or with orange peel curls, if desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 100 calories, 0g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

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Mojito Fresco

The popular Cuban cocktail's combination of sweetness, citrus, and refreshing mint is the best way to fend off the summer heat wave.

Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Makes: 8 servings

2 large limes, cut into pieces (reserve one piece)
2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup light rum
Sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
Ice cubes
Quartered limes and/or mint leaves (optional)

1. In a blender combine lime pieces, 2 cups water, and 2/3 cup sugar. Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until limes are chopped; do not puree. Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher. Mix in 2 cups additional water. Cover and chill for 1 to 12 hours.

2. Stir rum into lime mixture. Moisten the rims of 8 glasses with the reserved lime piece; dip rims in sugar. Divide mint among glasses. Use a wooden spoon to press mint into the bottom of each glass; press firmly to release flavor. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour chilled lime mixture over ice and mint leaves. If desired, add extra quartered limes and/or mint leaves.

Nutrition Information per serving: 95 calories, 0g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 1g fiber

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Sun Teas

Iced tea offers as much antioxidant power as hot teas, so drink up! Use the power of the sun to brew a clear, flavorful tea. For even more flavor, try one of the variations with mint, ginger, or berry.

Prep: 10 minutes
Stand: 2 hours
Makes: 8 servings

4 to 6 tablespoons loose tea or 4 to 6 tea bags
1 1/2 quarts cold water
Ice
Lemon wedges (optional)

1. Place loose tea into a tea ball or 100-percent cotton cheesecloth, tying with a string. (Do not use decaffeinated, green, or herbal teas.) Put into a 2-quart clear glass container. Add cold water. Cover and let stand in sunlight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. (Keep the container away from combustible materials. Sunlight coming through glass and liquid can concentrate a beam of light that may start a fire.)

2. Remove tea ball or bags. Serve over ice or refrigerate immediately. If desired, serve with lemon wedges. Store in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours.

Nutrition Information per serving: 0 calories, 0g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

Hint of Mint Tea: Add 3/4 to 1 teaspoon snipped fresh mint to the loose tea or 4 to 6 crushed large mint leaves with the tea bags. Brew as directed. Remove mint before serving. If desired, garnish with fresh mint.

Ginger Tea: Add a 2- to 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced, with the loose tea or tea bags. Brew tea as directed. Strain before serving. If desired, garnish each serving with a ginger-flavored candy stick.

Very Berry Tea: Brew tea as directed. In a covered blender container blend 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries until smooth. If desired, strain raspberry puree to remove seeds. Stir berry mixture into brewed tea. If desired, garnish with fresh berries.

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Honeydew-Kiwifruit Smoothie

Smoothies aren't just breakfast substitutes and post-workout pick-me-ups anymore. Use fresh seasonal fruits for the tastiest mix.

Start to Finish: 15 minutes
Makes: 3 servings

2 cups cubed honeydew
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut up
1 kiwifruit, peeled and cut up
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup ice cubes
Honeydew and/or kiwifruit slices (optional)

1. In a blender container, combine honeydew, apple, kiwifruit, sugar, and lime juice. Cover and blend until smooth.

2. Add ice cubes; cover and blend until cubes are crushed and mixture is slushy. Garnish with additional honeydew and/or kiwifruit slices, if desired. Nutrition Information per serving: 110 calories, 2g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 3g fiber

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Frozen Lime Margaritas

Enhance a regular blended margarita recipe with a can of frozen limeade, which adds extra citrus flavor. Prefer something sweeter? Make a batch of strawberry margaritas with fresh summer strawberries.

Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Makes: 10 servings

12-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
2/3 cup tequila
1/2 cup light orange juice or orange liqueur
4 cups ice cubes
1/2 of a medium lime
Coarse salt
Orange slices (optional)

1. In a blender container combine limeade concentrate, tequila, and orange juice. Cover and blend until combined. With blender running, add ice cubes, one at a time, through opening in lid, blending until mixture becomes slushy.

2. Cut a thick lime slice; cut slice in half. Rub slices around rims of eight glasses. Dip rims into a dish of coarse salt to coat rims. Pour mixture into prepared glasses. Garnish glasses with orange slices, if desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 122 calories, 0g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

Strawberry Margaritas: Prepare as above, except blend half of the mixture at a time adding 1 cup frozen unsweetened whole strawberries along with 2 cups of the ice cubes. Repeat with remaining mixture, 1 cup additional frozen strawberries, and remaining 2 cups ice cubes. Continue as directed, substituting coarse sugar for the salt on the glasses. If desired, garnish each glass with a whole strawberry.

Make-ahead directions: Prepare as above through Step 1. Pour into a 1-1/2-quart freezer container. Cover and freeze overnight. To serve, use a large spoon to scrape across frozen surface and pile into salt-rimmed glasses.

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Tangy Citrus Lemonade

Nonalcoholic doesn't mean boring. Add some zing to lemonade -- the summer standby -- with fresh raspberries. If you insist on kicking it up an extra notch, spike the lemonade with vodka.

Prep: 25 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Makes: 10 servings

6 large lemons (1 1/2 cups juice)
3 medium limes (1/3 cup juice)
3/4 to 1 cup honey
6 cups water
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
Ice cubes
Lemon and/or lime slices (optional)

1. In a 2-1/2-quart pitcher, combine lemon juice, lime juice, and 3/4 to 1 cup honey. Add water and raspberries. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

2. Just before serving, gently stir to combine. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Add lemon and/or lime slices, if desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 101 calories, 1g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 2g fiber

Lemonade Tea: Add equal parts freshly brewed iced tea and Tangy Citrus Lemonade to ice-filled glasses. Sweeten to taste with additional honey, if desired.

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Fresh Mint Water

Pre-make a pitcher for an anytime beverage. Soak melon, mint, and cucumber in water for a cooling summertime drink.

Prep: 15 minutes
Chill: 4 hours
Makes: 8 servings

1 small cucumber, cleaned and sliced
1/4 of a medium honeydew melon, peeled, seeded, and sliced into wedges
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
7 cups water
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

1. Place cucumber, honeydew melon, and mint leaves in a large pitcher. Fill pitcher with water. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Strain mixture; discard solids. Pour water into tall glasses over ice. If desired, garnish with additional fresh mint.

Nutrition Information per serving: 16 calories, 0g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

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Pomegranate Martinis

Flavored martinis have gone the way of the pom'. Pomegranate syrup can be found in the coffee or baking aisle of well-stocked supermarkets. Prove you're the best hostess by offering all three flavor options -- pomegranate, orange, and apple -- to your guests.

Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

1/2 of a medium orange, cut into wedges
Sugar
1 1/2 cups vodka or gin
1/3 cup pomegranate syrup (grenadine)
3 tablespoons dry vermouth
Ice cubes
Small pomegranates (optional)

1. Rub orange wedges around rims of 8 martini glasses. Invert glasses into a dish of sugar to coat rims; set glasses aside. In a small pitcher, combine the vodka, pomegranate syrup, and vermouth. Place ice cubes in a martini shaker. For each drink, add 1/4 cup of the syrup mixture; shake. Strain into one of the prepared martini glasses. Garnish with a small pomegranate, if desired.

Nutrition Information per serving: 146 calories, 0g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

Orange Martinis: Prepare as above, except use 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed, in place of the syrup. Omit garnish.

Apple Martinis: Prepare as above except use 1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed, in place of the syrup. Garnish with fresh orange peel curls.

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Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, July 2007.
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