Low Carb Summer Libations by Dana Carpender

Low Carb Summer Libations by Dana Carpender
Cookout season is in full swing, and if you’re like me, it makes you want to throw a party! A sunny day, a bunch of friends, something sizzling on the grill, a killer salad or two, tunes on the boom box, a Frisbee to toss – what could be better?

But wait – I forgot something! For most of us, a party also includes festive libations. What are you going to drink at your summer bash?

Low-Carb Summer Alcoholic Beverages

Low-Carb Tequila Highballs are a Sugar-Free Summer Treat
Summer party beverages are different than winter party beverages. Eggnog and other heavy, creamy drinks seem cloying now. And when you’re playing in the sun, it’s best to have a drink of modest potency, with a high water content. In other words, you want your beverages to refresh as well as relax.

Cookouts and beer go together, and there are several low carb beers on the market. The lowest carb of the bunch is Michelob Ultra, but it’s too bland for my tastes. I prefer Miller Light, which at 3.2 grams of carb per 12 ounces has only about a half a gram more than Michelob Ultra. We also like Milwaukee’s Best Light, which I have long suspected is actually Miller Light in a cheaper can.

Low-Carb Smoked Turkey Legs
Photo by Joshua Bousel

Many summer parties feature coolers full of alcopops – hard lemonade, Bacardi Silver, Smirnoff Ice, and the like. These sweet beverages all have one thing in common, other than alcohol – they’re high carb. If sugar-free versions are on the market, they haven’t made it to my hometown yet, and I couldn’t find them online. Instead, researching this column I ran across the interesting fact that in the adult beverage industry, these sweet alcoholic beverages are known as “alco-carbs.” Need I say more?

So do yourself a favor, and mix your own drinks.

Here are a few Summer Libation ideas to get you started

  • All hard liquors – whisky, vodka, rum, gin, tequila – are carb-free. It’s the mixers that you have to worry about!
  • So let’s talk mixers. Of course you know that regular soda is sugary, but so is tonic water – buy diet tonic water. Club soda is fine, as is sparkling water, which comes in some flavors that are good for mixing – lemon, lime, orange, berry, and the like.
  • Avoid Rose’s Lime Juice; it’s sugary. Use fresh limes instead.
  • Put three ounces of dry wine in a tall glass full of ice. Top with sparkling water or diet lemon-lime soda, depending on how sweet a drink you want. Made in a really huge glass, this will make you merry, but not swacked – plus it helps to fight the dehydration that can come with drinking.
  • Add a shot of vodka to sugar-free lemonade to make your own “hard lemonade.” Want it fizzy? Put a quarter-teaspoon or so of the lemonade mix powder in your glass, add vodka and ice, then fill with club soda. Add a little more lemonade mix if you think it needs it, and decorate with a lemon wheel.
  • You can figure out rum and diet cola, and gin with diet tonic yourself, right? (Yes, regular tonic is sugary!) You might try a gin rickey for a change – put a tablespoon of lime juice and a shot of gin in the bottom of a tall glass, add ice, and fill with club soda. Very refreshing.
  • From sunny Cuba comes the Mojito. Put a shot of white rum, 1 tablespoon lime juice, a sprig of fresh mint, and 1 teaspoon Splenda in a tall glass. Use a spoon to bruise the mint, releasing its flavor. Add ice and fill with club soda. 2 grams of carb.
  • Don’t forget about Crystal Light. You can make a de-carbed Seabreeze with a shot of gin in a glass of pink grapefruit Crystal Light.
  • Ocean Spray makes a “light” cranberry juice cocktail, too. It’s not sugar-free, so I don’t drink a lot of it, but a shot or so adds a nice flavor. If you make that Seabreeze above with tequila instead of gin, and add a shot of light cranberry juice cocktail, you’ve got a Seabreeze Sunrise. 3 grams of carb.
  • Commercial margarita mix, pina colada mix, and the like have a lot of sugar – with one glowing exception. Baja Bob Sugar Free Drink Mixes, which I reviewed here recently, are nothing short of fabulous.

Or try these lighter, more thirst-quenching variant:

Low-Carb Margarita Fizz Sugar-Free Highball Recipe

Low-Carb Margarita Fizz Sugar-Free Highball Recipe

Low-Carb Pink Flamingo Fizz Sugar-Free Highball Recipe

Low-Carb Pink Flamingo Fizz Sugar-Free Highball Recipe

© 2010 by Dana Carpender. Used by kind permission of the libatious author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.

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