While many of us are using the start of a new year as a chance to get healthy, the “Dry January” challenge—completely eliminating booze—may be too severe for some. The happy medium? Low-cal cocktails from Trisha Antonsen, Chief Cocktail Officer of alcohol delivery service Drizly. “I love these three recipes because they’re easy, really good, and weigh in at around 120 calories,” says Antonsen. “Opt for fresh ingredients whenever possible and ditch the artificial sweeteners. Spoiler alert: They aren’t just better for you, they taste better too.” Try the recipes below!
“If you use a vodka such as Deep Eddy's Red Grapefruit, the ombre effect in the drink between the pink vodka and soda water before you stir is absolutely beautiful,” says Antonsen.
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz ruby red vodka ($18; budgetbottle.com) 3 oz Perrier L'Orange ($25/case of 24; jet.com) ½ oz rosemary simple syrup Fresh rosemary
Rosemary simple syrup ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup water 1 large rosemary sprig
1. To make the rosemary simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, and stir until sugar completely dissolves. Remove from the heat and add fresh rosemary sprig. Steep the sprig in the sugar mixture for 2 to 3 hours. Strain and store in the fridge.
2. To assemble the cocktail: In a Collins glass with ice, pour vodka down the bottom and top with Perrier L’Orange sparkling water. Add rosemary simple syrup and slide a tall sprig of rosemary down the side of the glass. Stir gently with rosemary before enjoying.
"This easy take on a margarita combines one of the most popular cleanse juices with tequila for a drink just under 120 calories,” Antonsen explains. “The spicy cayenne and tart lemon complement the bite in tequila for a balanced beverage you can enjoy almost guilt-free."
Ingredients: 1½ oz tequila 2 oz lemon juice 1 oz water 1 tsp agave syrup Cayenne pepper Salt Lemon
1. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, lemon, water, agave syrup, and a small pinch of cayenne pepper with ice. Shake vigorously until cold. Pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge dusted with salt and cayenne pepper.
Alternative preparation: Use a store-bought lemon cayenne agave juice such as the BluePrint cleanse option, pour 3 to 4 oz in a shaker with ice, combine with tequila, and shake until cold.
“This is a funky alternative to the brunch bloody,” says Antonsen. “The bright orange color and refreshing vodka flavors make for a drink that's a definite departure from your typical Sunday brunch order.”
Ingredients: 1½ oz spa-infused vodka 2 oz carrot ginger orange juice (made in a juicer, or store-bought) Carrot Cucumber
Spa-infused vodka 4 oz to 8 oz vodka Lemon peels Fresh mint Cucumber
1. To make the spa-infused vodka: In a clean glass jar, pile lemon peels, fresh mint leaves, and cucumber slices (cut in half and remove seeds from slides) about ⅓ of the way up. Add plain vodka. Seal with lid and let sit on the counter for 2 to 3 days. Lightly turn and shake the bottle a couple times a day, then strain vodka to remove pieces and store in the fridge
2. To assemble the cocktail: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with carrot and cucumber.