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 white rum
15ml orange liqueur
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
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.”
1 tsp Clarks Carob Syrup
50ml orange juice
100ml fresh kale juice – blend baby kale with a little water in a blender and strain
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.
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