Diet Detective's summer drink recipes 2013 with calories and exercise equivalents

Here are several high- and low-calorie drinks to help quench your summer thirst and fill your belly. Seltzer, unsweetened iced tea and water are the real low-calorie alternatives, but in case you're looking for a few others, here you go.

Ginger Peach Margaritas

Healthy recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Fresh (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)

Makes 5 to 6 (6-ounce) servings

1 tablespoon coarse sugar
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, very finely chopped
1 lime
2 medium (6 to 8 ounces each) peaches, unpeeled, pitted and cut up
1 recipe Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 cup tequila
1/3 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/3 cup lime juice
2 1/2 cups ice cubes

In a shallow dish combine sugar and crystallized ginger; set aside. Cut a thick lime slice; cut slice in half. Rub halves around rims of 5 or 6 glasses. Dip rims into the sugar mixture to coat; set glasses aside. Slice remaining lime into 5 or 6 slices; set aside for garnish.

In a blender combine peaches, Ginger Syrup, tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Cover and blend until smooth. Gradually add ice cubes, blending until smooth (blender will be full). Pour into glasses. Garnish with the reserved lime slices. Freeze 3 to 4 hours.

Nutrition per serving: 188 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 49
Bike: 27
Run: 20
Swim: 23
Yoga: 64
Dance: 32

Ginger Syrup

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger

In a small saucepan combine sugar, water and ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil gently, uncovered, for 4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; let cool. Remove and discard the ginger.

Note: Peach season is fleeting but intense. Although you might be tempted by piles of the blushing fruit in the market in early summer, wait until late summer and then eat your fill. Other than eating it out of hand, there may be no better way to enjoy a perfectly ripe peach than in this lovely cocktail.

Blackberry Pineapple Sidecar

Healthy recipe created by Ryan Magarian, bartender and proprietor of Oven and Shaker in Portland, Ore., appearing in 101 Tropical Drinks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 ) by Kim Haasarud

Makes 1 drink

7 ripe blackberries
1 1/2 ounces fresh pineapple juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup*
1 1/2 ounces Hennessy VS cognac
1/2 ounce Cointreau
Pineapple leaf and/or lemon wedge, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries with the pineapple juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add the cognac and Cointreau. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple leaf and/or lemon wedge.

*To make simple syrup boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using.

Nutrition per serving: 204 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 53
Bike: 29
Run: 22
Swim: 25
Yoga: 70
Dance: 35

Rhythm and Beets

Healthy recipe by mixologist and Tequila Herradura brand ambassador Mark Drew

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces tequila (preferably Herradura Silver)
2 ounces carrot juice
1/2 ounce ginger juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces beet juice
1 ounce apple juice
Basil sprig and slice of golden beet, for garnish

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake hard and strain over ice into a tall glass. Garnish with the basil sprig and golden beet round.

Nutrition per serving: 185 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 48
Bike: 26
Run: 20
Swim: 23
Yoga: 63
Dance: 31

Note: Packed full of vitamins and minerals, this drink provides a vibrant alternative to a Bloody Mary.

S'mores Shake

Healthy recipe from Cooking Light Chill: Smoothies, Sloshes, Shakes, Juices, Drinks & Ices (Oxmoor House, 2013) by the Editors of Cooking Light magazine (

Makes 4 (2 3 cup) servings

8 stackable marshmallows
4 graham cracker sheets
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
3 cups fat-free vanilla light ice cream

Preheat broiler.

Place marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Broil 45 seconds or until puffed and toasted. Cool on pan 2 minutes.

Crush the graham cracker sheets into a blender. Add milk, 4 toasted marshmallows, chocolate and ice cream; process until smooth. Pour milk shake into 4 glasses. Top each shake with 1 marshmallow. Serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving: 288 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 75
Bike: 41
Run: 31
Swim: 35
Yoga: 99
Dance: 49

Hibiscus-Ginger Sparkler

Healthy recipe from Cooking Light Chill: Smoothies, Sloshes, Shakes, Juices, Drinks & Ices (Oxmoor House, 2013) by the Editors of Cooking Light magazine (

Makes 4 servings

2 cups water
1 4 cup loose hibiscus tea
1 4 cup sugar
1 2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons ginger syrup
Ice cubes
2 cups lime-flavored sparkling water, chilled
Lime slices (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in tea; cover and steep 5 minutes.

Place sugar in a pitcher. Pour warm tea through a sieve over sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Discard tea leaves. Cool completely.

Stir pomegranate juice and ginger syrup into tea mixture; cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Fill each of 4 glasses with ice. Pour 2 3 cup tea mixture over ice in each glass; add 1 2 cup sparkling water to each glass. Garnish with lime slices, if desired.

Nutrition per serving: 86 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 22
Bike: 12
Run: 9
Swim: 11
Yoga: 29
Dance: 15

Orange-Carrot Refresher

Healthy recipe from Cooking Light Chill: Smoothies, Slushes, Shakes, Juices, Drinks & Ices (Oxmoor House, 2013) by the Editors of Cooking Light magazine (

Makes 5 (1-cup) servings

2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 oranges)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon refrigerated ginger paste
1 teaspoon refrigerated mint paste
Dash of salt
2 cups 100% carrot juice, chilled
Ice cubes
Mint sprigs (optional)

Place first 6 ingredients in a large pitcher; stir with a whisk. Add carrot juice; stir until blended. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Nutrition per serving: 86 calories

Exercise equivalents in minutes:

Walk: 22
Bike: 12
Run: 9
Swim: 11
Yoga: 29
Dance: 15


CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., M.P.H., THE DIET DETECTIVE is one of the country's leading nutrition and public health advocates, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in more than 100 daily newspapers nationally. Dr. Platkin is also the founder of, which offers nutrition, food, and fitness information. Platkin is a health expert and blogger featured on, and Additionally, Platkin is a Distinguished Lecturer at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City.