Summer is the perfect time for catching up with friends and family over sparkly drinks and bubbly refreshments. And if you’re looking to celebrate the season alcohol-free for health reasons or to simply watch your waistline, there are plenty of mocktail recipes out there that can still pack a delicious punch without ruining your diet.
To help determine if that mixer you’re using to prepare your favorite mocktail is really as healthy as you may think it is, we took a look at the best and worst options of mixers in one of our recent “Love it, Like It, Hate it” segments.
All-natural mixers with little or no sugar or calories:
- Sparkling Water and Flavored Sparkling Water: Many options are available with zero calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners including La Croix, Dasani Sparkling and Target’s Simply Balanced store brand.
- Crystal Light Pure: Sweetened with stevia and a bit of sugar, and colored with vegetable extracts, Crystal Light Pure mixes up into pure low-calorie perfection. Each packet has 30 calories and six grams of sugar, and you can often use just half a packet or less per mocktail.
- Agave Five Drink Mix Packets by Madhava (available at stores like Whole Foods Market): This mixer is only 5 calories per packet and sweetened with stevia and agave – nothing artificial.
- Herbal Tea: There are endless flavor options available, and most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, with zero calories, carbs or sugar.
- Virgin Bloody Mary mix like Louisiana Sisters Bloody Mary Mix makes a good alternative for your summer brunch.
- Kombucha: Rich in probiotics and low in sugar, its effervescence and ale-like fermented flavor makes kombucha a great mixer for mocktails. Big Easy Bucha, a local New Orleans kombucha brewery, has a variety of kombucha flavors that are perfect for DIY mocktails.
- Diet Soft Drinks (e.g. Coke Zero, Sprite Zero): Diet sodas artificially sweetened with aspartame and/or acesulfame potassium make good options.
- Crystal Light Packets: These powdered packets are artificially sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium and are artificially colored.
- Non-Alcoholic Beers: Typically 58-89 calories, non-alcoholic beers have 12-19 grams of carbs per 12-ounce container.
- Sugary Soft Drinks: These can contain as much as 30 or more grams of added sugar per 12-ounce can.
- Fruit Juice : Even 100% fruit juices, ounce-for-ounce, can contain as much or more sugar and calories as a soft drink.
- Frozen, blended slushy drink mixers can easily top 400 calories and 40 grams of sugar per drink!
Looking for a mocktail recipe for your next poolside get-together? Check out our Big Easy Bucha’s Berry Bucha Fauxjito recipe on Nola.com.
For more details on this topic, read Molly’s full “Love it, Like it, Hate it” article on WGNO New Orleans.