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Many of us crave a cooling cocktail – whether it is by the beach or out with friends – during the hot summer months. But drinking these yummy cocktails adds up calories fast and we all want to make sure we still look great in our swimsuits. So how do you get the best of both worlds? SI's Lauren Van Pelt spoke with nutrition expert Jackie Klein about what she recommends for enjoying a cocktail without the high calorie count. Klein also shared with us some of her own refreshing and healthy drink recipes that are sure to be a hit this summer!


Swim Daily: What are some healthier ways to enjoy cocktails this summer?

Jackie Klein: The best thing to do to save calories is cut the juices and syrups. You’re best off if you can control what you can put in them. Try flavored vodka, such as citrus vodka with a lemon or lime. A lot of places carry gluten-free beers, which are better for you and always a great option for beer drinkers.

SD: How can one cut calories and sugar intake while still enjoying a great drink?

JK: If you’re home, you can control what you put in your drink the same way you can control your food. Don’t use juices, syrups or drink mixes. Instead, try making your own juice or sweeten your drink with agave or stevia, which are all-natural sweeteners and are better for your glycemic index.

SD: Which drinks are the worst culprits when it comes to sugar and calories?

JK: Frozen drinks are killer, such as margaritas and daiquiris because of the syrups.

SD: What other tips do you have about drinking healthier when out and about this summer?

JK: Drink sparingly. For people who work out, they think they can have a drink, but even if you have a drink that doesn’t have many calories, any alcohol that goes into the liver reduces your body’s fat burning capabilities.


Jackie's Healthy Summer Drink Recipes:

Southern Peach Tea


Recipe (makes 8 servings):

  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 7 peach flavored green tea bags
  • 4 tbsp. agave
  • 8 oz. Ciroc Peach vodka
  • Peach slices for garnish

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Approximately 100 calories
  • 8 grams of carbohydrates
  • 8 grams of sugar


  • Gluten free
  • Green tea is high in antioxidants and protects heart health

*To prepare tea, in a glass pitcher steep 7 bags for 10 minutes in hot water. Remove tea bags and add 4 tbsp. agave and stir. Let cool, then chill for one hour. Once chilled, add vodka to pitcher. Serve in an ice-filled glass and garnish with fresh peach slices.


Frozen Berry Tart


Recipe (makes 4 servings):

  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 2 oz. Raspberry vodka
  • 2 oz. Peach vodka
  • 2 oz. water
  • 3 Stevia packets

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Approximately 125 calories
  • 10 grams of carbohydrates

*To prepare, add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


Malibu Banana Berry


Recipe (makes 2 servings):

  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 oz. Malibu rum
  • 1 tsp. agave
  • 2 oz. water

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Approximately 150 calories
  • Approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates

*To prepare, add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Cucumber Lemonade


Recipe (makes 4 servings):

  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Skyy citrus vodka
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. agave
  • Round cucumber slices for garnish

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Approximately 120 calories
  • Approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates
  • Gluten free

*To prepare cucumber juice, peel and chop cucumbers. Place in a food processor and puree. Pour puree through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl or measuring cup. Press to extract juice. Add water, lemon and agave. Stir until agave is dissolved. Pour into 4 glasses filled with ice and garnish with cucumber slices.

Healthy Mojito


Recipe (makes 1 serving):

  • 1 muddled lime
  • 2 tbsp. mint leaves (apprx. 4 leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp. agave
  • 2 oz. Bacardi rum
  • 4 oz. club soda
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Nutrition Facts:

  • Approximately 150 calories

*To prepare, muddle the lime and mint. In a glass, combine agave, rum and club soda until agave is dissolved. Add mint mixture and pour over glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge and whole mint leaves.

To find out more about healthy substitutes and better nutrition, visit