Diet-friendly drinks: Cocktails without all the calories and carbs

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MILWAUKEE -- Summer is around the corner, which means swimsuits and sipping on cocktails. But all those cocktails are packed with calories! That's why chef Alisa Malavenda is here to show us how to make a better beverage.

Sexier in the City Cosmo

A lighter version of a cosmopolitan

Makes 2

  •  3  oz Vodka
  • 8 ounces of brewed Rishi hibiscus berry tea
  • 1 slice orange peel
  • 2 hibiscus flower in natural syrup.
  • (Also can use rooibos berry for a little sweeter version )

Brew 1 T of Rishi Hibiscus Berry Tea and one orange peel in 8 oz water and let steep for 4-5 minute. Remove orange peel and  Chill tea.  Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka and tea mixture, Stir and with a strain into two cocktail glasses. Garnish with hibiscus flower

 “Not So Bloody Mary”

Tomato Water Bloody Mary

( Lightened up refreshing Bloody Mary)

Thick tomato juice and bloody Mary mix have some good benefits, but you can really start adding on calories with those and even more with the garnishes –(like a  whole fried chicken and burger slider)!

  •  1.5 pounds of tomatoes
  • ½ jalapeño
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  •  1.5 oz of vodka
  • 4 oz of tomato water
  • 1 basil leaf torn
  • cherry tomato with mozzarella ball garnish

Combine tomatoes, jalapeno, lemon zest and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Add mixture to cheesecloth lined strainer over a bowl and leave in the refrigerator overnight for the juices to collect on bottom of the bowl.

Reserve liquid for your cocktails and save left over pulp in freezer to replace tomato paste in a lightened up version of recipes calling for tomato paste.

Mix vodka, basil  and tomato water in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with mozzarella cheese and cherry tomato.

OR – “MAKE MINE A MOJITO”

  • ½ red tomato, diced
  • ½ green tomato , diced
  • ½ lime cut into wheels
  • 6-8 large basil leaves – torn
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of habanero sugar
  • one turn grind of pepper

Muddle in a large glass, add ice and 1.5 oz vodka or tequila Fill with seltzer and drop of balsamic glaze. Stir and serve

Do you pick a frozen strawberry daiquiri over a bloody mary. Then this one is for you!

Instead of a sugary and high calorie frozen strawberry daiquiri

 Strawberry Basil Mojito

  •  3 strawberry partially frozen with stem removed and quartered
  • 3 basil leaves torn
  • 1.5 oz rum ( light like a Bacardi)
  • teaspoon raw sugar
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz seltzer water

Muddle the basil, strawberries, and sugar at the bottom of a Collins glass. Add rum and lime juice, then fill with ice and top off with club soda and give it a swirl.

 Refreshing Skinny Margarita

On the rocks is less calories than frozen margarita, but go even further with a skinnier version of a margarita with less sugar and carbs. There are a lot of calories and sugar in the premixed margarita mix and sweet and sour mixes.

  • 1 ounce good tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or grand mariner ( not triple sec)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice from fresh lime
  • 1 pinch pink Himalayan salt- I even like a little vanilla infused Salt

Top with seltzer

Pour all the ingredients except seltzer in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well ( until some frost forms on outside of shaker) Pour into glass and top with seltzer. Add a wedge of lime for garnish.

Chai One on For Size- Chocolate Martini

Black Russian is better than a White Russian because of the cream and certainly less calories than a Chocolate Espresso Godiva martini. Here is a lighter healthier cocktail that will give you that sweet chocolate elixir.

  • 1.5 ounce chocolate vodka
  • 5 oz. chocolate chai rishi tea
  • 1 teaspoon of honey simple syrup (recipe to follow)
  • Rim glass with chocolate sugar for garnish

Brew 1 T of chocolate chai tea in 5 oz of water. Add 1 teaspoon of honey syrup and mix. Chill in refrigerator.

Coat rim of the glass with some sugar and chocolate shavings.

Mix Chocolate vodka and Rishi tea mixture  in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into prepared martini glass.

For a play on a White Russian – Add some almond milk and shake

 Gin and Ginger Turmeric Martini

Gin and tonic  (tonic high in calorie and although a small benefit from the quinine for leg cramps) soda water is better than tonic and also the carbonation fills you up, Using the ginger turmeric concentrate , you get healthier and delicious cocktail and that same thirst quencher as you would a gin and tonic.

Turmeric and Ginger have many health benefits including aiding in digestion, anti-inflammatory properties and more.

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 3oz ginger turmeric chai concentrate
  • 3 oz soda water

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add gin and turmeric ginger chai concentrate shake well into a rocks glass filled with ice. Tope with soda water and add a wheel of lime. The addition of fresh herbs like thyme or tarragon packs even more of a punch.