As a bartender, I know that sometimes you want a drink that’s refreshing and light, but not too heavy on the alcohol. Maybe you’re trying to cut back on your drinking, or maybe you just don’t want to feel weighed down by a heavy cocktail.
Whatever your reason, there are plenty of great light cocktail recipes out there that are perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or enjoying as a pre-dinner drink.
When it comes to light cocktails, the key is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients that pack a lot of flavor without adding too much sweetness or alcohol. Think fresh herbs, citrus fruits, and sparkling water instead of sugary mixers and heavy liquors.
With the right ingredients and a little creativity, you can create a delicious and satisfying drink that won’t leave you feeling weighed down or regretful.
Whether you’re a seasoned bartender or just looking to try something new, there are plenty of great light cocktail recipes out there to suit your taste and style. From classic spritzes and margaritas to creative concoctions featuring unexpected ingredients like cucumber and ginger, there’s something for everyone when it comes to light and refreshing cocktails.
So next time you’re in the mood for a drink that won’t weigh you down, try one of these delicious and easy-to-make recipes and enjoy a refreshing and satisfying sip.
1. White Wine Spritzer
The White Wine Spritzer is a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail made up of white wine, club soda, and a citrus segment. It's perfect for a sunny afternoon or a cocktail party and is lower in calories than most other cocktails.
The addition of club soda adds a nice fizz to the drink, making it even more enjoyable. It's cold, crisp, and 100% refreshing, making it the perfect drink to sip on for a long afternoon without any repercussions the next day.
2. Verdant Lady
The "Verdant Lady" is a refreshing and complex light cocktail that combines the flavors of mint, gin, and green chartreuse. This cocktail is perfect for any weather, hot or cold, and can be easily adapted to suit individual preferences.
The green chartreuse liqueur adds a unique and herbaceous flavor to the drink, while the mint and gin provide a refreshing and crisp finish. If you're looking for a light cocktail that is both strong and cool, the "Verdant Lady" is definitely worth a try.
3. Watermelon Mojito
The Watermelon Mojito is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for the summer season. Made with fresh mint, lime juice, and juicy watermelon, this cocktail is a healthier alternative to traditional mojitos as it contains no added sugar. The watermelon adds natural sweetness to the drink, making it a perfect choice for those who prefer a less sweet cocktail.
The addition of white rum gives it a slight kick, while sparkling water adds a bubbly finish. This cocktail can also be made into a mocktail by omitting the rum and adding extra sparkling water. If you're looking for a delicious and easy-to-make cocktail that's perfect for sipping on a hot day, the Watermelon Mojito is definitely worth a try.
4. Rosemary-Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer
The Rosemary-Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for those who are looking for a low-calorie drink. This cocktail is made with fresh rosemary, grapefruit juice, vodka, and lime juice, which are muddled together and shaken with ice before being strained into an ice-filled glass.
The cocktail is then topped with grapefruit-flavored sparkling water and garnished with a sprig of rosemary. The spritzer has a citrusy and savory kick, and the absence of simple syrup makes it a healthier option. The cocktail pairs well with seared scallops, and it is a great option for those who are looking for a refreshing and light drink.
5. Skinny Lemon Mojito
The Skinny Lemon Mojito is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for those who want to indulge in a delicious drink without the guilt. Made with rum or vodka, this cocktail is low in carbs, sugar-free, and keto-friendly.
The combination of lemon, mint, and sparkling water creates a deliciously tart and sweet flavor that is perfect for any occasion. You can easily switch up the recipe by adding berries or using a different sparkling water. This cocktail is perfect for those who want to enjoy a delicious drink without the extra calories.
6. Rosé Spritzers
Looking for a light and refreshing cocktail to serve at your next summer soirée? Look no further than the Rosé Spritzer. This delightful blend of dry rosé, elderflower liqueur, strawberries, lemon, cucumber, and club soda is the perfect elevated spritzer for any occasion.
With its floral freshness and not-too-sweet taste, it's sure to be a hit with your guests. Plus, it's easy to make and can be mixed up in batches for entertaining a crowd. So, if you're looking for a delicious and refreshing cocktail that's perfect for summer, give the Rosé Spritzer a try.
7. Lillet Spritzers
Lillet Spritzer is a light, refreshing cocktail made with Lillet, a classic French apéritif. It's perfect for sipping on a warm summer day or at a brunch celebration. Simply combine Lillet with tonic water or sparkling water and soda, and serve over ice.
You can also add in citrus, fruit, and flowers to create a stunningly colorful cocktail. It's easy to make and customize to your liking, and perfect for any occasion.
8. Lemonade Prosecco Punch
Looking for a refreshing and light cocktail to serve at your next party? Look no further than the Lemonade Prosecco Punch. This bubbly sangria recipe combines the crispness of La Marca Prosecco with the sweetness of lemonade and the freshness of blackberries and mint.
The result is a drink that tastes like juice but packs a punch with the addition of vodka. It's perfect for pool parties or any summer gathering. Plus, it only takes five minutes to make a pitcher, so you can spend more time enjoying the party and less time mixing drinks. Give this cocktail a try and impress your guests with your bartending skills.
9. Skinny Margaritas
Looking for a refreshing and light cocktail to enjoy this summer? Look no further than the Skinny Margarita! Made with fresh orange and lime juice, a touch of agave syrup, and tequila, this classic cocktail has been lightened up for guilt-free sipping. The iconic salt rim adds the perfect balance of flavor to this easy-to-make drink.
Whether you're hosting a summer soirée or just want to unwind after a long day, the Skinny Margarita is the perfect choice. So grab your cocktail shaker and get ready to impress your guests (or just yourself) with this delicious and refreshing drink.
10. Nantucket Seabreeze Cocktail
The Nantucket Seabreeze Cocktail is a refreshing and light drink that perfectly captures the essence of a lazy summer day on Nantucket Island. Made with a combination of cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, vodka, and club soda, this cocktail strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tart flavors.
The addition of club soda adds a delightful effervescence, making it the perfect drink to sip on a warm summer evening. The cocktail is garnished with a lime, which sits on the rim of the glass like a sail, adding a touch of whimsy to the drink. If you're looking for a light and refreshing cocktail that captures the essence of summer, the Nantucket Seabreeze Cocktail is definitely worth a try.
11. Boozy Basil Blueberry Cocktail
The Boozy Basil Blueberry Cocktail is a refreshing and light drink that is perfect for summer sipping. This cocktail is a fruity and fizzy delight that is sure to please. The recipe calls for fresh blueberries and basil, which give the drink a natural sweetness and a subtle herbal note.
The addition of club soda makes it bubbly and refreshing, while the pinch of sugar (optional) adds just the right amount of sweetness. What's more, this cocktail is low in calories, making it a guilt-free indulgence. Overall, the Boozy Basil Blueberry Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a light and delicious cocktail that is perfect for any occasion.
12. French 77
The French 77 is a light and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. This cocktail is a twist on the classic French 75, but with the addition of elderflower liqueur, it takes on a whole new level of flavor. The combination of gin, lemon juice, and sparkling wine creates a subtle sweetness that pairs well with many dishes.
What sets this cocktail apart is its fun and bubbly presentation, making it a perfect drink for celebrations or a night out with friends. The French 77 is easy to make in batches, making it a great option for hosting events. If you're looking for a light cocktail that's not too sweet, the French 77 is definitely worth trying.
13. Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. This Italian cocktail is made with only three ingredients, including Aperol, club soda, and Prosecco, making it easy to prepare. Aperol, a unique bitter Italian apéritif, gives this cocktail its distinct flavor and beautiful orange color.
The club soda and Prosecco add a bubbly and festive flair to the drink. The orange slice garnish adds a touch of elegance to the cocktail. Aperol Spritz is perfect for those who enjoy a light and refreshing drink with a slight bitter taste. Whether you are relaxing by the pool or hosting a party, Aperol Spritz is sure to impress your guests.
14. Campari & Elderflower Gin Sour
The Campari & Elderflower Gin Sour is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for those looking for a break from indulgent cocktails after the holiday season. This cocktail features the bitter notes of Campari, which is balanced out by the sweetness of elderflower syrup and the tartness of lemon juice.
Gin is used as the base spirit, and any type of gin can be used, although a gin with floral notes is recommended for the best flavor. For those participating in Dry January, this cocktail can still be enjoyed by swapping the gin and Campari for non-alcoholic alternatives. Overall, the Campari & Elderflower Gin Sour is a delicious and unique cocktail that is sure to impress.
15. Vanilla Bourbon Fizz
The Vanilla Bourbon Fizz is a light and bubbly cocktail that perfectly balances the deep caramel and vanilla notes of bourbon with the lightness and fizz of prosecco.
The addition of vanilla extract accentuates the natural vanilla flavor in bourbon, and you may even notice spice notes of cinnamon or nutmeg. It's a must-try cocktail for anyone who loves bourbon or wants to try something new.
16. Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash
The Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash is a refreshing and bright cocktail that is perfect for a hot summer evening. It is made with red grapefruit, fresh basil, and a fizzy grapefruit soda. The cocktail is a combination of fragrant basil and juicy grapefruit, with a subtle kick of vodka.
The bubbles from the soda add a playful element to the drink, making it a party in a glass. This cocktail is perfect for those who want a light and fruity drink that is not too sweet. The Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash is a must-try for anyone who loves a refreshing and flavorful cocktail.
17. Key Lime La Croix Cocktail
The Key Lime La Croix Cocktail is a refreshing and low-calorie drink made with key lime La Croix sparkling water, vodka, and fresh key lime juice.
It's perfect for those who want to enjoy a drink without the guilt and is a great choice for a hot summer day or a night out with friends. It's one of the best light cocktail recipes out there and definitely worth a try if you're looking for a refreshing and low-calorie cocktail.
18. Strawberry Gin Mojito
Looking for a refreshing and light cocktail to enjoy on a warm summer day? Look no further than the Strawberry Gin Mojito. This cocktail, also known as a Southside Cocktail, is a twist on the classic mojito, made with peppery gin and topped off with champagne for a bit of bubbly goodness. The addition of fresh strawberries adds a touch of sweetness and seasonal flair.
While traditionally made with champagne, you can easily swap it out for soda water for a non-alcoholic version. This cocktail is perfect for sipping on a lazy afternoon, and is sure to impress your guests with its unique flavor profile. Give it a try and see for yourself why the Strawberry Gin Mojito is one of the best light cocktail recipes out there.
19. Vodka Lemonade Spritzer
The Vodka Lemonade Spritzer is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for a warm spring or summer day. Made with just three ingredients – lemon vodka, lemonade, and prosecco – this drink is easy to make and delicious to sip on.
The sweetness of the lemonade is balanced by the dryness of the prosecco, and the lemon vodka adds a nice kick to the drink. This cocktail is a great option for those who want a drink that is not too sweet or heavy. If you're looking for a tasty and refreshing cocktail to enjoy on a sunny day, the Vodka Lemonade Spritzer is definitely worth a try.
20. Prosecco and Elderflower Spritzer
The Prosecco and Elderflower Spritzer is a delightful and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with Italian sparkling wine, a splash of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, and bubbly mineral water, this barely boozy spritzer is a celebratory simplicity in a tall ice-filled glass. The bright and fragrant flavors of honeyed pear, white peaches, and grapefruit from the St-Germain liqueur make this cocktail truly magical.
Prosecco's gentle effervescence and sparkling water's thirst-quenching properties make this drink perfect for brunch, a late afternoon uplift, or as an apéritif opener before dinner. This cocktail is a must-try for anyone who loves light and refreshing drinks that are easy to make and perfect for any occasion.
21. Lillet Spritz
The Lillet Spritz is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with Lillet Blanc, a floral fortified wine, gin, soda water, and lemon, this cocktail is easy to make and has a subtle herbal flavor. It's a great alternative to the classic Aperol Spritz and is perfect for summer sipping.
What sets this cocktail apart is the use of clear ice, which takes it to the next level in terms of presentation. If you're looking for a bubbly and refreshing cocktail that's easy to make, the Lillet Spritz is definitely worth a try.
22. Light Citrus Paloma
The Light Citrus Paloma is a refreshing and healthy-ish cocktail that is perfect for holiday brunch or parties. Made with fresh orange, lemon, and grapefruit sparkling water or light natural soda, this cocktail is naturally sweetened without any refined sugar. It's a twist on the traditional tequila paloma cocktail recipe that's both tasty and good for you.
This cocktail is a great alternative to mimosas or bloody marys at your holiday brunch. The combination of tequila and citrus can have health benefits, making it a guilt-free indulgence. If you're looking for a light and delicious cocktail that won't derail your health goals, the Light Citrus Paloma is definitely worth trying.
23. Aperol Sour
The Aperol Sour is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for a summer day. This Italian-inspired drink is made with Aperol, a bitter amaro with notes of rhubarb and bitter orange, and a few other simple ingredients. The egg white adds a frothy texture to the cocktail and makes it feel like a classic Italian drink.
This cocktail is perfect for serving as an aperitif before a meal or enjoying with some Italian snacks and appetizers. If you're looking for a light and refreshing cocktail to enjoy on a warm day, the Aperol Sour is definitely worth trying.
24. Watermelon Vodka Tonic
The Watermelon Vodka Tonic is a refreshing and light cocktail perfect for summer gatherings. Made with juicy and ripe watermelon, tangy lemon vodka, and refreshing tonic water, this cocktail is a crowd-pleaser.
The sweet and fruity taste of watermelon pairs perfectly with the tangy vodka and the fizzy tonic water, creating a refreshing and delicious drink. This cocktail is easy to make and can be doubled or quadrupled to serve a larger crowd. If you're looking for a fun and fruity cocktail to enjoy this summer, the Watermelon Vodka Tonic is definitely worth a try.
25. Strawberry-Basil Vodka Cocktail
The Strawberry-Basil Vodka Cocktail is a refreshing and fruity drink that is perfect for those who prefer lighter cocktails. Made with fresh muddled strawberries, basil leaves, and a hint of lemon juice, this cocktail has a herbaceous and delicious taste that is perfect for summer days.
The use of Ketel One Cucumber Mint Vodka adds a unique twist to the classic cocktail, making it dangerously good. The cocktail is easy to make and can be shaken or stirred, depending on your preference. The garnish of fresh strawberry and basil leaf adds a beautiful touch to the drink. If you're looking for a sweet and light cocktail, this Strawberry-Basil Vodka Cocktail is definitely worth trying.
26. Lychee Lime Fizz
The Lychee Lime Fizz is a light and refreshing cocktail that's perfect for summer nights. With subtle flavors of lychee and lime, this cocktail is reminiscent of a meringue – light and airy.
The addition of sparkling water gives it a slight effervescence, making it a great drink to cool off with. If you're looking for a cocktail that's not too heavy, this is definitely one to try.