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Diet-conscious summer cocktails are here

Try a healthier spin on your favorite.

A night on a barstool can mean the undoing of your diet, not to mention putting unhealthy sugar into your body (or too much alcohol, for that matter).

Pamela Wiznitzer, mixologist at NYC’s buzzy Dead Rabbit Cocktail Lounge, is also the resident expert mixologist for Weight Watchers. Wiznitzer creates lighter versions of tasty drinks for the brand’s point system.

“You don’t need a million things for a good drink,” she says. “You need two or three that are the most fresh and flavorsome.”

Many liquors, like vodka or gin, contain about 70 calories per fluid ounce. But extra add-ons like sugar and cream come with calories. Wiznitzer favors zero-calorie sweeteners like Truvia and Nectresse, coconut milk instead of cream in pina coladas and fresh fruit juices instead of mixes, which are often loaded with sugar.

Summer is also a great time to mix up a cocktail incorporating vibrant ingredients of the season, Wiznitzer says.

“You can get creative with fresh ingredients from the farmers market,” says Wiznitzer. “There’s so much fresh produce.”

To enjoy your cocktail without going overboard, slow down your pace, Wiznitzer says.

“In hot weather, there’s the tendency to suck it down, but take a minute to enjoy each sip,” she instructs. “Order a glass of water before you’ve finished the cocktail. … It slows you down and you might think, ‘Do I need another cocktail?’”

Try these at home

Wiznitzer created these cocktails for Weight Watchers PointsPlus system.

The Bubbly Plum – WW PointsPlus value: 4

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Japanese-inspired with green tea and sake topped with bubbly will give you a zen-like pick-me-up.

1 oz. sake
1/2 plum (and more for garnish)
1 oz. green tea
1 packet Nectresse zero-calorie sweetener
2 oz. Voga Moscato

Muddle the plum and Nectresse. Add in sake and green tea. Shake well and then fine strain (with a tea strainer to avoid pulp) into a flute. Top with Moscato and garnish with plum slices.

The Fresh Twist – WW PointsPlus value: 4

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A spin on the classic Peruvian drink, the Chicano. It keeps the locals cool during long hot days and will do the same for you at your next cookout.

8 fresh mint leaves (and more to garnish)
0.75 oz. lime juice
1 packet Nectresse zero-calorie sweetener (optional)
1.5 oz. brandy or pisco
Goslings Stormy Diet Ginger Beer

Tear the mint leaves in half and add to a shaker along with the limes, pisco and Nectresse (if you want it a bit sweeter). Shake vigorously and strain into a highball glass over ice. Top with diet ginger beer and garnish with more sprigs of mint.

Berry Bliss – WW PointsPlus value: 4

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This drink gives you the feeling of a traditional frozen drink, but uses frozen berries instead of ice as to not to water it down. Think of it as a very adult smoothie.

1 oz. Broken Shed vodka
1/2 oz. Sandeman port
1 oz. Trop50 orange juice
1/2 cup of Dole's frozen mixed berries

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a wine or martini glass. Garnish with a skewer of mixed berries.

Main Squeeze - WW PointsPlus value: 6

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A super refreshing and sophisticated alternative to a grapefruit margarita!

1 oz. Suerte tequila
0.75 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (and one wedge for garnish)
0.25 fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 packet Nectresse zero-calorie sweetener
3 oz. prosecco

With ice, shake all ingredients except for the prosecco and strain into a flute. Then top with prosecco and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Watermelon Cooler – WW PointsPlus value: 4

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You can’t have a barbeque without watermelon. With this refreshing cocktail you can eat — and drink — your favorite summer fruit.

1 oz. Broken Shed vodka
0.5 oz Pama Pomegranate Liquor
3 1-inch squares of watermelon (plus a large chunk for garnish)
0.75 oz. hibiscus tea
0.25 oz. lime juice
Soda water

Muddle the watermelon cubes in a shaker. Add in all ingredients except the soda. Shake vigorously and fine strain (with a tea strainer) into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda water.

Tropical Breeze – WW PointsPlus value: 3

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Like a dairy-free piña colada, this drink will satisfy your sweet tooth, without undoing your day.

1.5 oz. Malibu Island Spiced Rum
1 oz. orange-flavored Vita Coco coconut water
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 tsp. sugar-free orange marmalade

Shake all ingredients together in a shaker and strain over ice in a lowball glass. Garnish with a stick of pineapple and orange slice.

 
 
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