Let us lay some knowledge on you: Cocktails—yes, cocktails!—can actually be a part of a healthy eating plan. (You’re welcome.) Of course, this doesn’t mean you can go carte blanche on the margs by the pool. To help us figure out how to enjoy summer drinks without derailing our diets, we called up Karena and Katrina, the dynamic and incredibly fit ladies behind Tone It Up. Scroll through their Instagram and you’ll find them working out, eating healthy and enjoying the occasional cocktail, proving that you can indulge in a little #RoséAllDay and still have abs.
Karena and Katrina gave us their top three tips for drinking while maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Choose your beverages wisely, dine before you drink and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. They also helpfully elaborated on each point.
“When we do want a drink, we go for wine, champagne or clear alcohol,” says Katrina. “Wine contains antioxidants for some heart-healthy perks, and clear alcohol has fewer calories and congeners, a compound that can cause more severe hangovers, than dark liquors. If you’re making a mixed drink, choose high-quality ingredients and steer clear of sugary mixers. Instead, muddle fresh berries or mint in your drink. Yum! We also like to mix our wine with sparkling water for a refreshing spritzer.”
Eating beforehand is especially crucial. “Drinking on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to go right into your bloodstream, which makes you feel the effects more quickly and feel worse the next day,” Karena explains. “Having food in your stomach, especially healthy protein, fats and carbs, helps slow down the absorption.”
Last but not least, make sure to have water. “We can’t say this enough! We always have a glass of still or sparkling water between each drink. This keeps you hydrated and helps prevent hangovers, and you still have a glass in your hand,” says Karena.
Now that you have Karena and Katrina’s tips for incorporating alcohol into your healthy lifestyle, read on to see their favorite summer cocktail recipes.
"Frozen rosé! This healthy cocktail is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It takes some prep time, so start the process the day before your get-together," says Katrina.
Ingredients: 1 bottle rosé ½ cup water 4 frozen strawberries Juice from 1 lemon
Directions: 1. Pour bottle of rosé into two ice trays. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Set up your blender and add water, frozen strawberries and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add the frozen cubes of rosé and 1 cup regular ice, then blend on high for 5 seconds. Pour this mixture into a large container and freeze for another 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Blend one more time and you're ready to serve it up!
Summer Strawberry Sipper
"This summer sip makes a magnificent Friday night cocktail and, while not required, it definitely tastes better when enjoyed outdoors," says Karena. "Feel free to make it virgin, too—it's still so delicious!"
Ingredients: 1 cup fresh strawberries ½ cup soda water 1 tsp honey or agave 1 lemon, juiced (and more for garnish) 3 oz gin, vodka or champagne 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary for garnish
Directions: 1. Add ½ cup of soda water, de-stemmed strawberries, honey or agave, juice of 1 lemon and pinch of fresh rosemary to a blender and blend on low until smooth.
2. Add ice and 1½ oz. of gin or vodka to two glasses and pour strawberry mixture on top. Add sprig of rosemary and stir. Garnish with lemon slices.
3. Add a special touch with flower-infused ice cubes! Simply drop fresh flowers (tiny flowers or a few petals) into an ice tray before filling with water and freezing. We've seen edible flowers at the farmer's market, but any kind of fresh florals works beautifully.
Spiked Watermelon Fresca
"Sweet summer days are here to stay with this celebratory watermelon cocktail. Regardless of whether you like this sassy sip spiked, you'll enjoy the refreshing flavor all season long," says Katrina.
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients: 1 small watermelon, cubed 1 shot of gin per serving
Directions: 1. Slice half a watermelon, place in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Once blended, pour into an ice cube tray and place in freezer.
3. Once cubes are frozen, place in food processor.
4. Add 1 shot of gin per serving, and blend together for a deliciously refreshing cocktail. (If you feel like your mixture needs more liquid, add a splash of coconut water.)
Note: If you prefer a sweeter sparkling take on this summer cocktail, feel free to use champagne. This fun variation is just as wonderful.
"We used fruit-infused ice cubes for color," explains Karena.
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients: 1 bottle sparkling rosé Fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint to taste
Directions: 1. Pour a bottle of sparkling rosé into a pitcher filled with strawberries, blueberries and mint. That's it!