The Best Healthy Low-Proof Cocktails & Summer Mocktails

Watermelon Margarita

Something I’m *so* into lately? Low-proof cocktails— or even just a mocktail on a hot summer day.

It’s something I’ve been following and testing out intuitively. And with two young kids, running a business, and full, fast-paced days, a much much lower and more intentional place with any kind of drink, just feels right in the season of life I’m in right now.

Like, the thought of my energy, mood or capacity being taken down one *tiiiiiiiny* notch, just isn’t feeling worth it these days. At least for just normal daily life.

Which is kinda funny to say, because I’ve never been a big drinker (my body is way too sensitive, and anything after 1 glass I feel the next day), and have always preached about going for the good quality versions (natural, preservative-free wines and low to no sugar homemade cocktails). Which I do, when I decide the occasion feels right. Usually on vacation or a date night, or a girls night dinner out.

But I think as I continue learning about my own body— which is truly a lifelong journey that’s always evolving— I’ve realized that right now, I just feel better without it: I sleep WAY better, I have more energy, and my mental space is so much clearer and happier next day.

BUT– as with everything, I try to not be all-or-nothing about things (unless I have to be, which is true for a lot of people, so you you gotta do you).

So I’ve been playing around with more mocktails, and lighter proof cocktails for the nights when I want something fun and fancy feeling, but I don’t want to feel bad the next day. And it’s a great little happy medium for me. All the fun, but very little downsides 🙂

Low proof: for me, this means using a splash here and there of bitters, vermouths & digestifs, mixed with an alcohol free mixer. You get all the fun flavor and feeling of a special drink, but without feeling bad the next day. 

Some of my go-to healthy low-proof cocktails lately:

Aperol Spritz: sparkling water or lemon spindrift or bitters and club soda + a splash of aperol and tons of ice. Add ingredients to glass and stir. Optional to garnish with orange slices. 

The Pink Lady: spindrift raspberry or pink lemonade + splash of aperol + tons of ice. Add ingredients to glass and stir.

Other great options:

Sparkling rosé: I love the festiveness  and *feel* of this– and having just 1 = the perfect balance of it feeling special and celebratory, that I can slowly sip. You can also do half sparkling water and half sparkling rosé for a spritz to cut it even further, and add some ice. 

A hard kombucha (like JuneShine): it has a tiny bit of alcohol technically because of the fermentation process, but it can be a great day-time option that’s not heavy and feels like something different than sparking water. A great one for summer time boating, picnics, etc. 

My favorite summer mocktails:

Because whether it just feels better in your body, or you’re taking some time away from alcohol, that doesn’t mean life has to feel boring. Here are some delightful ways to savor & sip in a way that feels good. 

Rainier Cherry Shrub: 2 cups cherries + 1 cup apple cider vinegar + 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey. Add vinegar and fruit into a glass mason jar with a lid and place in the fridge for at least 2 days, and up to 3 months. When ready to serve, drain fruit out of vinegar mixture, pressing it with your hands to get all the flavor out, and then discard the fruit. Place all liquid in a saucepan with sweetener and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Let cool before pouring into a glass mason jar to store in the fridge. For mocktails, add ¼ cup shrub with ice and sparkling water, or kombucha.

Pineapple Coconut Mint Spritzer: 1 can coconut la croix + 2 mint sprigs + 1 big dash pineapple juice + lots of ice. Add 1 sprig of mint leaves on the bottom of a tall glass and cover with ice. Pour coconut sparkling water over the top. Add pineapple juice (to your liking), stir well, and top with 2nd sprig of mint.

Watermelon Mock Margarita: 1.5 cups watermelon (cubed, blended and strained) + juice from 2 limes + 2-3 slices jalapeno + splash of sparkling water + lots of ice. Add all ingredients to a glass, stir and garnish with an extra lime wedge and jalapeno.

I also shared 8 healthy summer cocktails and mocktails in this past blog post that are fun, easy & healthy options to give you even more ideas! Life’s too short to not have a fun drink in your hand, alcohol or not. I hope these keep you refreshed all summer long!


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