‘It’s almost summer, which means it’s time to collectively unsheathe our arms and legs and trade in hoodies for T-shirts and shorts. Whether you’re worried about shedding pounds or simply want to make more room for those high-calorie burgers and hot dogs, there’s one manner in which you don’t have to trade calories for fun:  cocktails.

Alcohol, as it turns out, isn’t the big bad calorie culprit it’s often portrayed to be. A standard drink, as defined by the National Institutes of Health, is 1.5 ounces of liquor (80 proof), 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol), and 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol). Those drinks respectively have 98, 125, and 155 calories per serving (on average). Mixed drinks have the potential for the lowest calorie count of any style of hooch but only when sodas, syrups, and other forms of sugar are cut out. As these crafty bartenders and local distilleries have found, a well-crafted skinny cocktail can be flavorful without tasting watered down. Below are some ideas you can try at home.

BLK EYE Vodka Key Lime Pie


Start with a tall cocktail glass full of ice, add 1.5 ounces of BLK EYE vodka, a fourth of an ounce of key lime juice, then top off with Fresca or a similar diet citrus soft drink. 


Blackland Distilling Gin Gymnopédie 

Mix 1.5 ounces Blackland Gin, three-fourths of an ounce lemon juice, half an ounce of cucumber simple (see: below), a pinch of turmeric, a few drops of salt water, and shake hard. Pour over rocks and garnish with a healthy sprig or two of mint. 

To make cucumber simple, bring one cup of granulated sugar and half a cup of fresh cucumber juice to nearly a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Special thanks to Pamela Moncrief of POP UP BAR for this recipe. 

The Acre Distilling Vesper

Mix one ounce of Acre Distilling Black Halo vodka, one ounce Acre Distilling Two Minnies gin, a quarter of an ounce of Texas honey, a quarter of an ounce of fresh lemon juice, two dashes of orange bitters, and ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a coupe-style glass. 

Special thanks to local writer and Marketing for Mavericks owner Susie Geissler for the recipe. 

Trinity River Distillery Texas Palmer

In a tall glass, combine 1.5 ounces of Silver Star Texas Honey liqueur, three ounces of unsweet tea, three ounces water, and half an ounce of lemon juice. Serve with a lemon wedge garnish. 

Trinity River Distillery Texas Honey Mule

In a copper mug, add ice, then pour 1.5 ounces of Silver Star Texas Honey and 1.5 ounces of Silver Star Whiskey. Squeeze in two lime wedges and fill with diet ginger beer. 

Firestone & Robertson Whiskey Ranch Water

Drain 2.5 ounces from a bottle of Topo Chico or sparkling mineral water. Add two ounces of TX whiskey and half an ounce of lime juice to the bottle. Lightly swirl the bottle to mix ingredients.

Firestone & Robertson Watermelon + Jalapeno Martini

Muddle one sliver of jalapeño and half a lime (or simply use half an ounce of lime juice) and add to a shaker. Add two ounces of TX Whiskey with ice and shake before straining into a martini glass. Add two ounces of watermelon juice. Garnish with a slice of watermelon.

Firestone & Robertson Raspberry Honey Julep

Muddle half an ounce of honey, three to four raspberries, and three to four sprigs of mint. Add two ounces of TX Whiskey. Finish with crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves and raspberries.

Special thanks to F&R’s resident mixologist Jason Shelly for these recipes.