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Skinny summer cocktails


This skinny berry peach sangria is refreshing after a hot summer day.

This skinny berry peach sangria is refreshing after a hot summer day. Photo by: Leah Sullivan




Tis the season of umbrella drinks. Whether you're enjoying a piña colada at the beach, sangria at a backyard barbecue, a margarita poolside, or just an ice cold beer at the river this summer, you can still keep your bikini body in check and enjoy the occasional cocktail.  


While the standard red or white wine and light beer are all lower calorie choices, yummy "skinny" cocktails are all the rage these days, thanks in part to Skinnygirl Cocktails founded by Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives fame. 


Since the release of the original Skinnygirl Margarita several other companies have jumped on the low calorie cocktail bandwagon. On package store shelves (and online) you can find low calorie and even some zero calorie mixers for margaritas, piña coladas, mojitos, appletinis and cosmopolitans, just to name a few. All you have to do is chill, add the liquor of your choice and enjoy.  


If you want a real treat or need something with a little more fresh flavor for a special occasion, you can always make your own homemade cocktails. Making your own allows you to have control over everything that goes into your glass and is a great way to incorporate nutritious local ingredients. Here are two of my favorite go-to skinny summer cocktail recipes -- one sweet and one spicy. 




Sweet sangria 


Jump start your weekend with this yummy, skinny berry peach sangria. It's so refreshing after a long hot summer day. In a glass pitcher combine 1 cup peaches, 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup blueberries. I get my peaches and blueberries from the farmers' market and freeze them in ziplock bags. I like to use frozen fruit because it makes the sangria nice and cold without having to water it down with ice.  


Now add some torn mint from your herb garden. (You do have an herb garden, don't you?)  


Drizzle a little agave over your fruit and mint mixture for sweetness and top everything off with a big bottle of chilled clean, crisp white wine. I usually go for a Pinot Grigio. Now stir everything well, chill a little longer to let the flavors marry, and serve with a sprig of mint.  


Experiment with different fruit and herb combinations to make it your own. I also love to use pears, blackberries and basil, all straight out of my garden.  




Mary with a kick 


A good Bloody Mary is so classic for a summer weekend brunch. I like mine with a hearty dose of horseradish and hot sauce for a spicy kick. Start off with 2 quarts of fresh chilled tomato juice from Mayhew Tomato Farm -- the most important ingredient. Skip the grocery store stuff if at all possible. Add it to a large pitcher, along with 1.5 cups of chilled vodka, the juice of six limes, 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce to taste (I use Cholula brand), and fresh ground black pepper. Stir well. Let the flavors combine in the fridge and stir again before serving.  


Garnish your Bloody Mary with a cocktail shrimp and cherry tomato skewer for a little added protein.  


Keep in mind that no matter how light and even nutritious your mixers or add-ins, alcohol still has calories -- 7 per gram, as a matter of fact -- so be conscious of your portions. One serving of beer is 12 ounces, wine is 5 ounces, and liquor is 1.5 ounces. Never drink on an empty stomach as alcohol lowers our willpower towards unhealthy foods. Drink plenty of plain old H2O in between cocktails to stay hydrated. And remember to always drink responsibly.  


Leah Sullivan of Columbus has been on a productive journey to a healthier lifestyle and shares some of her experiences with Dispatch readers. Follow {Nourish} on Facebook.



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