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10 Low-Sugar Cocktails for a Light & Lovely Happy Hour

January 26, 2024 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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Low-sugar cocktails offer the perfect way to enjoy a little guilt-free indulgence without compromising on taste. These light-and-lovely clinkers provide several benefits, making them a smart choice for mindful drinkers.

Why are low-sugar cocktails so popular?

Top view of a group of friends clinking together festive Christmas cocktails over a table filled with holiday foods

Opting for low-sugar cocktails aligns with a healthier lifestyle, allowing fun-loving foodies to enjoy social moments responsibly. The reduced sugar intake also contributes to improved energy levels and helps avoid the sluggishness associated with high-sugar beverages. Embrace the delightful world of low-sugar cocktails for a deliciously satisfying and health-conscious drinking experience.  

1. Elderflower Spritz

One Elderflower Spritz cocktail on a table with a white tablecloth and a vase of elderflower blooms, daytime, sunny, summer

We love cocktails low in sugar that still come to the party with plenty of flavor and personality. To make this delightful Elderflower Spritz, combine 60ml elderflower liqueur, 90ml dry sparkling wine, and 60ml soda water in a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with cucumber for a refreshing finish.     

Blooming lovely: 13 Tasty Elderflower Cocktails You’ll Adore 

2. Limoncello Spritz

Limoncello Spritz

When the weather is balmy and the vibe is chilled, we like to pull out this Limoncello Spritz recipe to enjoy a taste of Italy at its most divine. Limoncello is an Italian after-dinner staple and typically enjoyed as a shot, but when you add some soda water to create a tall, cool drink it’s arguably one of the best low-sugar cocktails around.  

Keep it lean: 20 Delicious Low-Carb Keto Cocktail Recipes 

3. Dry Martini

Two Dry Gin Martinis with olives

Have you ever wondered how to get the recipe for a Dry Martini just right? Well, turns out you’re not alone. This classic low-sugar cocktail has been around for ages, and it is as popular as ever! While there are plenty of variations to this classic drink, we find that all you need to get the perfect result is to stick to our tried and tested recipe 

4. Ranch Water

Three Ranch Water cocktails with lime and fresh mint garnish

If you’ve ever spent time on a languid veranda in the US at the height of a simmering summer, you’ve likely experienced the joy of a Ranch Water cocktail recipe first-hand. This low-sugar cocktail recipe is a Texan staple and will cool you down like nothing else. Here’s our super simple recipe for the iconic Ranch Water cocktail to try at home.   

Learn more: What is an Aperitif and When is it Served? 

5. White Wine Spritzer

Two White Wine Spritzer cocktails on a window sill at a beach house overlooking the ocean on a sunny day

A super easy low-sugar cocktail to make when you’re in a rush and not too keen on using a whole bunch of ingredients, the White Wine Spritzer is a top choice among those who lunch for a reason. It’s light, lovely, and simple to pour. Simply add ice to a wine glass and pour in equal parts white wine and sparkling water. You can adapt the ratio to suit your preference. We like to use a dry white wine like Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc.   

6. Skinny Margarita

Two Skinny Margarita cocktails on a table in a sunny, traditional Greek courtyard with a grape vine trellis

A regular frozen Margarita comes in at around 700 calories (if you’re counting). Skinny Margaritas come in at about 140 calories each, so choose this low-sugar cocktail if you’re watching your weight. To make one, you will make a regular Lime Margarita, leave out the simple syrup, and add sparkling water. An exciting and guilt-free drink to have with a loaded salad over lunch.  

Read next: 12 Easy Dry January Mocktails for a Tasty Reset 

7. Watermelon Gin Fizz

Refreshing Watermelon Gin Cocktails

The Watermelon Gin Fizz is your perfect summer-ready watermelon cocktail; it’s light, sweet, and fizzy and is ideal for sipping poolside on a hot day. What’s more, it’s pitcher-friendly too, making this low-sugar alcoholic cocktail a good choice for effortless entertaining!  

To make one, mix 180ml fresh watermelon juice with 60ml Bulldog Gin, a squeeze of lime juice, and mint, before topping up with soda water for the final fizz. The pretty-in-pink drink makes it a popular choice for bridal showers or Valentine’s Day — just magical! 

8. Vodka Cranberry

Bright and refreshing vodka cranberry on ice with lime

If you’re planning a festive party and looking for the best cocktails with low sugar to fit the theme, then it’s time you meet the Vodka Cranberry cocktail recipe. It’s an easy blend of SKYY Vodka and cranberry with an optional dash of orange juice that thrives on any occasion. Serve it over lots of ice or mix it up in batches and serve it in pitchers. Simple, festive, and delicious.   

Easy on the pocket: 16 Cheap and Easy Cocktails to Make on Any Budget 

9. Paloma

Pink Paloma Cocktails with Grapefruit garnish

Cocktails with low sugar content do not have to be boring, and the popular Paloma is the perfect example of that. When the citrus season rolls around, it’s Paloma time!  The classic recipe calls for grapefruit soda, which can be a little on the sweet side for some. If you prefer a drink that’s more tart than sweet, we suggest swapping out the grapefruit soda for fresh grapefruit juice, a smidge of simple syrup (if you wish), and club soda. 

10. Bourbon Rickey

Bourbon Rickey

When it comes to refreshing low-sugar cocktails, you cannot go wrong with a time-honoured Bourbon Rickey. This super simple cocktail can be poured in two minutes flat, but the elements thereof come together so beautifully that it tastes like an elegant drink that took far longer to compose. Total winner for a beginner!   

Cheers to a vibrant and balanced lifestyle 🥂 Show us which low-sugar cocktail you end up making by tagging us in your pictures on Instagram. Loving the mindful cocktail vibe? There’s more where that came from – sign up for our newsletter to be the first to read the good stuff.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Low-sugar cocktails vary, but the Skinny Margarita stands out as one of the lowest in sugar. With around 140 calories, it omits simple syrup, replacing it with sparkling water. This refreshing choice allows you to indulge in a classic favourite while keeping sugar intake minimal, making it an excellent option for those conscious of their sugar consumption.

The Dry Martini claims the title of the drink with the least added sugar. This classic cocktail, known for its timeless appeal, relies on minimal ingredients, ensuring a pure and refined taste. With no sugary mixers or syrups, the Dry Martini stands as a sophisticated choice for those who enjoy a cocktail without added sugar, making it a timeless and elegant option for any occasion.

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