Let's raise a toast to summertime! Before you hoist that frosty piña colada, (The calories! The sugar!) consider mixing your own drinks. Boozy drinks can have several shots' worth of alcohol, and even non-alcoholic "mocktails" can be so high in sugar that you should take a pass. Instead, try these ideas—with or without alcohol—to help you keep your cool.

A Word About Alcohol

Alcohol affects your blood sugar, says Adee Rasabi, RD, CDN, CDE, CSG, of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "Alcohol initially lowers the blood sugar and then raises it," she explains. "It's important not to drink more than the recommended amount." That means no more than one serving of an alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men—a serving is 1 ounce of hard liquor, 12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine.

If you're having a mixed drink, avoid using sugary colas and tonic waters as a mixer. Instead, choose sugar-free sodas, sparkling water, or seltzer water as mixers, Rasabi says.

"If you are making a mixed drink, steer clear of Piña coladas and daiquiris. A mojito, on the other hand, made with rum, fresh mint, and lemons, is a better choice if you're careful not to add too much sugar, says Rasabi. "Use about 1 teaspoon, or use a sugar substitute."

8 Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Quench Your Thirst

Want a thirst quencher that you can enjoy at any time of day? "There are a lot of summer drinks that are low in calories and carbohydrates," says Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "One of the simplest is just sparkling water with a wedge of lime."

Massey recommends making full use of fresh herbs, citrus, and ripe fruits when making summery drinks. Mint is cooling and aromatic, and pairs well with citrus. Here, she shares more ideas:

  1. Add a splash of pineapple or pomegranate juice to sparkling water.
  2. Spice up unsweetened brewed iced green tea with thin slices of orange.
  3. Cool unsweetened brewed iced tea with fresh mint.
  4. Jazz up plain water with thin slices of cucumber and lemon.
  5. Muddle some fresh mint and a teaspoon of agave nectar in the bottom of a glass. Fill with seltzer water, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
  6. Float a couple of raspberries or strawberries on raspberry-flavored seltzer water.
  7. Brew green tea and serve over ice with a couple of snipped fresh basil leaves.
  8. Prepare sugar-free lemonade and add some sliced fresh strawberries to the pitcher. Garnish each glassful with a strawberry and some thyme sprigs.

Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, reviewed this article.