Happy Sunday. Summer is on the way – hooray! And the perfect accompaniment to heat-filled days and steamy nights? An ice-cold cocktail of course.
A heavenly combination of delicious ingredients, served over ice, with an umbrella if you’re lucky. What’s not to like?
But with so many of us following natural, low-sugar and low-processed diets, how do we reconcile our cocktail cravings with our healthy-eating regimes this summer?
Your standard cocktail is a calorie bomb waiting to go off, with many containing sugary mixers and artificial flavours. For example, the average glass of Pina Colada contains more calories than a Big Mac and over 35 grams of sugar. And the average Long Island Iced Tea contains a whopping 463 calories – that’s the same as two doughnuts.
It’s a predicament many of us find ourselves in when the summer hits.
How do I stick to my healthy-eating plan yet not miss out on one of the highlights of the summer menu: the cocktail?
Clarks Natural Sweeteners has teamed up with development chef James Strawbridge to provide a solution to this cocktail conundrum. James has worked his magic, taking three of the nation’s most popular – and calorific – cocktails and transforming them into suave, slim line and naturally delicious versions of themselves.
For each, James has used natural ingredients such as 100% pure fruit and vegetable juices, root ginger and carob syrup.
Replacing sugar syrup in each recipe, carob syrup contains 50% less sugar than refined sugar and is also lower in calories and has a low GI. More info on carob syrup below. And see Clarks’s tips for making healthier cocktails, whatever your favourite tipple is. Cheers!
Long Island Iced Tea:
James Strawbridge says: “For this recipe, I put a healthy spin on a traditional American classic by adding cold brewed iced tea to the cocktail, instead of Cola. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s perfect for cooling down on a hot summer’s day.
“It’s so easy to create a non-alcoholic version too – just add fresh peach and orange juice for even more flavour!”
“Long Island Iced Tea’s are perfect for barbecues. Serve your cocktail with Carob glazed burgers – adding a little more sweetness to a British summertime tradition.”
SUGAR COMPARISON – PER 235G SERVING
Vs Traditional Long Island Ice Tea:
- 15ml Vodka
- 15ml gin
- 15ml white rum
- 15ml orange liqueur
- 15ml tequila
- 15ml lemon juice
- 1 tsp Clarks Carob Syrup
- Iced tea – top up
- Glass of ice
- 1 spring of rosemary
- 1 orange slice
- For a lower sugar Long Island Iced Tea prepare your own iced tea in advance by leaving 2-4 bags of classic black tea in an airtight container with 1 litre of cold water for 12 hours.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all the ingredients. Shake hard to mix and chill.
- Pour the whole drink including the ice into a highball glass and top with your traditional cold brewed iced tea.
- Garnish with a thin slice of orange and a sprig of rosemary.
James Strawbridge says: “This refreshing Cuban classic could not be a better addition to a summer’s afternoon. If you like your cocktails fiery, add some root ginger and sugar-free ginger beer to give it that extra kick.
“The mint and citrus make this cocktail extra zesty – it’s got half the sugar of a traditional mojito too!
SUGAR COMPARISON – PER 324G SERVING
Vs Traditional Mojito:
- 30ml white rum
- 2 tsp Clarks Carob Syrup
- 8-12 mint leaves
- 1/2 lime
- Soda water
- 2-3 batons of finely sliced root ginger [optional]
- A glass of crushed ice
- Slice your lime into four segments and place in the bottom of a highball glass. Add your Clarks Carob Syrup and then use a muddler, bar spoon or rolling pin to squash the ingredients together and release the lime juice.
- Clap the mint to bruise it and release the fresh aroma and rub around the rim of the glass then drop into the glass.
- Use a muddler again and mix together. Pour in your rum and add in some thinly sliced root ginger. Leave for a minute whilst you crush half of your ice.
- Halve fill the glass with crushed ice and top with soda water.
- Garnish with a spring of fresh mint and some elderflowers if in season.
Clark’s Tequila Sunrise:
James Strawbridge says: “Tequila is the spirit of 2017 – this summer’s hottest drink is the Tequila Sunrise. To give it that healthy kick, I’ve added kale into the mix – a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants.
“For a trendy twist, why not switch tequila for mezcal. This distilled alcoholic beverage, also native to Mexico, is made from the heart of the agave plant and has a divine smoky flavour – heaven!
“Serve your Tequila Sunrise with a Mexican feast – perfect for sharing with friends and family.”
- 60ml tequila
- 1 tsp Clarks Carob Syrup
- 50ml orange juice
- 100ml fresh kale juice – blend baby kale with a little water in a blender and strain
- 15ml grenadine
- Glass of ice cubes
- 1 red chilli
SUGAR COMPARISON – PER 230G SERVING
Vs Traditional Tequila Sunrise:
- Fill up the glass with ice and add tequila and Clarks Carob Syrup.
- Add the orange juice and stir thoroughly. Then top with kale juice.
- Pour the grenadine down the side of the glass so that it settles at the bottom and appears like a sunrise. Ideally, some clear colour layers blending from red, orange, yellow to green hues.
- Garnish with a kale leaf and red chilli ring on the rim.
5 quick tips from Clarks for healthier cocktails:
- Use only freshly squeezed or 100% fruit juice. Avoid using juice that contains added sugars.
- Use sparkling water rather than tonic, soda water or sweetened soft drinks, to reduce sugar content.
- Use a natural syrup, like Clarks Carob Syrup, instead of sugar syrup, for a lower sugar, lower calorie alternative to refined sugar.
- Replace flavoured syrups with whole fruits.
- Choose nutritious ingredients such as lemons and limes, ginger and vegetable juices.
Recipes & images courtesy of Clark’s.