There is no better way to enjoy the last of the long summer days than with family, friends and a cool cocktail in hand. Whether you’re soaking in the sunshine in your own backyard or getting ready for one last family adventure before the kids head back to school, we’ve got the delicious drink inspiration you need. Get ready to sip your way around the world with these nine cool summer drinks!
Cocktails can pack on the calories, so we’ve included our top tips for keeping these signature drinks “skinny”—without sacrificing the regional taste and flavor in the process. Cheers!
1. Singapore: The Singapore Sling
photo via wade_c on Flickr
The history of the Singapore Sling is passionately debated, but most agree that it was first created for the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore sometime before 1915. The pretty pink drink consists of gin, Cointreau liqueur, Benedictine, grenadine, pineapple juice and bitters. It’s not an easy concoction to whip together, but luckily you don’t need to travel all the way to Singapore to enjoy it; you’ll likely find the Singapore Sling at your favorite end of summer destination anywhere in the world.
Make It Skinny: Always use fresh juice to avoid added sugar. Grenadine can pack in a lot of extra calories and sugar, so request only a dash for the color.
2. Italy: The Bellini
photo via Jeremy Brooks on Flickr
The Bellini is a simple, but glamorous Italian cocktail that originated at Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1948. Simply combine two parts prosecco with one part fresh white peach nectar for a drink that will have you dreaming of the Italian Mediterranean—if you’re not already there!
Make It Skinny: Always use fresh peach nectar for the healthiest—and most delicious—Bellini. Alternatively, substitute peach nectar for fresh grapefruit juice for a fun alternative on the traditional variation.
3. USA: The Manhattan
photo via My Aching Head on Flickr
The Manhattan is a timeless classic thought to date back to the Manhattan Club in the 1870s of New York City. And while a Manhattan is a fabulous cocktail to enjoy no matter what time of the year, there’s something extra delicious about sipping the light drink on a hot summer night. To enjoy this all-American drink, combine whisky, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters in a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry on top.
Make It Skinny: Depending on who makes it, most Manhattans come in at only 130 calories, making this an ideal cocktail to enjoy as-is!
4. Cuba: The Mojito
photo via Matthias Rhomberg on Flickr
The mojito is often considered to be one of the world’s first cocktails, and it certainly hasn’t declined in popularity over the centuries! To make this Cuban cocktail at home, combine quality white rum and club soda with muddled mint, lime, and sugar.
Make It Skinny: Mint and lime pack a mojito with flavor, so skip the sugar or ask for half the usual amount. You might not even notice a difference!
5. Spain: Sangria
photo via Divya Thakur on Flickr
Sangria is synonymous with summer in Spain and Portugal. And with so many variations of this refreshing beverage, it’s easy to enjoy a different version each day until summer’s end! For an authentic sangria, mix red wine, brandy, juice and chopped fruit.
Make It Skinny: Sub the juice for flavored vodka and club soda, or add an extra heaping of fresh fruit to the pitcher.
6. France: The Kir Royale
photo via Tiim Lucas on Flickr
The Kir Royale is an iconic French cocktail, typically enjoyed as a light aperitif. The elegant drink consists of champagne and creme de cassis, and it makes for a wonderful way to ring in the end of summer.
Make It Skinny: Most of the calories come from the creme de cassis; use only a drop for a fun and flirty drink without all the guilt. Garnish with fresh blackberries for extra pizazz.
7. Mexico: The Michelada
photo via Meg on Flickr
A Michelada is a traditional Mexican beer cocktail, perfect for a summer brunch—or if you’ve enjoyed a few too many cool summer drinks the night before! A Michelada is similar to a Bloody Mary but consists of Mexican beer (such as Corona), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, soy sauce and black pepper.
Make It Skinny: This beertail is an excellent way to enjoy a light beer without noticing any lack of flavor.
8. Brazil: The Caipirinha
photo via Mark Johnson on Flickr
Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, is light and refreshing—perfect to enjoy on the sandy shores of Rio de Janeiro or in the comfort of your own backyard. The beverage consists of cachaca (Brazilian rum made from sugar cane), lime, sugar and ice. If you can’t find cachaca, try substituting vodka for a caipiroska.
Make It Skinny: In Brazil, you’ll find street vendors serving caipirinhas with fresh fruit such as watermelon, pineapple or strawberries. Sub the sugar for the natural sweetness of muddled fruit of your choice.
9. Puerto Rico: The Pina Colada Mocktail
photo via Chris Goldberg on Flickr
For those who prefer to keep their summer beverages suitable for all ages, you can’t go wrong with a pina colada mocktail. The iconic summer cocktail originates from Puerto Rico, but now it is a classic for any tropical destination around the world. Pineapple, coconut cream, condensed milk and ice are all it takes to make this smooth, decadent drink. Enjoy it poolside with a slice of pineapple.
Make It Skinny: There’s nothing low-cal about condensed milk. For a healthier version, combine frozen pineapple chunks and coconut milk in a high-powered blender.
Whether it’s on your end of summer travels or from the comfort of your own home, these cool summer drinks will take you on a tasting journey around the world! For more summer drink inspiration, don’t miss our guide to great drinks to quench your thirst, no matter what time of day.
What’s your favorite summer cocktail?