Even though vodka's versatility and relatively low-calorie count make it an ideal spirit to enjoy happy hour, it needs to be paired with the right mixers to create healthier, low-calorie cocktails that deliver all the flavour with half the calories. A good way to balance out the calories consumed in alcohol is to choose mixers that make vodka more nutritive. We'd tell you to give up the vodka, but we're not quitters. Hence, we've compiled a list of alternatives with great vodkas that swept all the awards at the Cosmo India SNAs. Try out these tips & tricks to enjoy your favourite spirit stress-free.
1. A Hot Sauce Bloody Mary (always use fresh juice): Avoid canned juices, blends, tonics, sugar syrups, coke, canned fruits drenched in syrup, and store-bought pre-made mixers often laced with unnecessary added sweeteners. Try an authentic Bloody Mary made from ingredients found at home. The hot sauce in Bloody Marry adds a bit of kick and helps increase metabolism.
60ml Absolut Elyx
120ml tomato juice
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch of ground black pepper
Garnish: lime wedge or celery stalk
1 tbsp lemon juice
Place the ice in a large jug. Measure the vodka, tomato juice, and lemon juice and pour it straight onto the ice.
Add Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco and a pinch of celery salt and pepper. Stir and then strain into a glass.
Top up with fresh ice, garnish with a celery stick or lemon wedge and enjoy.
2. A Classic Vodka Soda: Add sparkle with healthier mixers such as hard seltzer, sparkling water, soda water/club soda, or just ice; it takes up space and waters down your drink. For instance, try a classic Vodka Soda where the only calorie content comes from the vodka itself.
150ml soda water
15ml lime juice
Pour all ingredients over ice. To make it exciting, garnish with different fruits and herbs: the classic lemon wedge, grapefruit wedge, orange wedge, mint sprig, rosemary sprigs, or muddled strawberries and blueberries.
3. Infuse with Real Fruit: Keep your drinks simple. A delicious cocktail does not have to be packed with sugar. Try this Apple Infusion made with Tito's handmade vodka for a simple-yet-flavourful quencher.
Slice 1-2 apples and place them in a large glass jar.
Pour in Tito's handmade vodka and let it sit for 3-5 days in the refrigerator until the desired flavour is achieved.
Pour over ice and enjoy!
4. Piña Colada Vodka Soda: Adjust the ratio of ingredients. For example, add or ask for more ice, sparkling water, seltzer, and less soda and juice. Try a Piña Colada vodka soda that tastes great but has significantly fewer calories than a regular Piña Colada. Here's a recipe for a Piña Colada vodka soda:
30ml Smoke Lab
30ml fresh pineapple juice
Coconut sparkling water or coconut flavoured seltzer
Fill a small tumbler with ice. Pour in vodka and pineapple juice. Top with coconut flavoured sparkling water or seltzer. Stir and enjoy.
5. Lemon and Herb Vodka Spritzer: Enhance your drink with fresh herbs such as rosemary, ginger, mint, basil, and lavender. Add as a garnish or add to the glass for enriched flavours and aromas. Here's an excellent option for a herb-infused drink, A Lemon and Herb Vodka Spritzer.
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large lemon (sliced thin)
1 cup sparkling water
30ml Absolut Citron
2 tablespoons of mint
2 tablespoons of basil
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
Garnish: 2 thyme sprigs
Put all the fresh herbs into a glass pitcher, add your freshly squeezed lemon juice and toss in the lemon slices.
Pour in the vodka and stir together gently to combine.
Place pitcher in the refrigerator to chill.
Pour the sparkling water into the pitcher and mix.
Pour over ice, garnish with thyme sprigs and enjoy.
6. Watermelon Cocktail: Use fresh ingredients like fruits or freshly-squeezed citrus juice to add colour and flavour. For instance, watermelon and vodka are a great combination. Watermelon is low in calories and great for replenishing water in the body. Here's a simple recipe for a watermelon and vodka cocktail:
1 cup watermelon, rind and seeds discarded
30ml Grey Goose
1 tsp triple sec - can be skipped to save calories, but a controlled drizzle adds a nice complexity
Garnish: 1 lime wedge
Add the vodka, triple sec, and the watermelon into a blender and blend till a puree. Strain into a glass, add ice, garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy a refreshing, fruity cocktail with no artificial sugars.
7. Frozen Banana Vodka Cocktail: Another alternative is frozen fruits, such as muddled berries, grapes, and cubes of melon; all add a flavour burst, naturally, sweeten your drink without processed sugars and infuse it with beneficial nutrients and vitamins. A creative way to add fruit to your drink is to fill your ice trays with water and your choice of fruit; once frozen, add the fruit-infused ice cubes!
A simple recipe for a Banana vodka cocktail:
60ml Absolut Elyx
Half a banana
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and relish.
8. Iced Green Tea Cooler: Cocktails have the highest level of calories due to all the sugary goodness that makes them yummy. Opt for an ingredient switch! Ask your bartender whether it is 100% juice or a juice cocktail. For instance, iced green tea is an excellent healthier mixer. Iced green tea is known as a 'superfood' as its rich in antioxidants and contains unique compounds like polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it lower in calories, but it's also super healthy for your body. Here's a recipe for a vodka cocktail with iced green tea.
1 cup water
2 tea bags or tsp of loose leaf tea
About 4-5 mint leaves
3-4 lemon slices
30ml Tito's handmade vodka
Honey - very little is required to balance the bitterness but it can be substituted with stevia.
Sliced cucumbers and strawberries
Garnish: Mint sprigs
Add the tea bags or loose-leaf tea, lemon, and mint to just-boiled water and let brew.
Remove the tea bags, lemon, and mint, stir in honey or a substitute and let it cool.
Add the sliced strawberries and cucumber to a glass with ice cubes and pour over the vodka.
Add the green tea to the glass of vodka and garnish with mint sprigs.