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When it comes to happy hour, health is rarely top of mind. But could it be? As alcohol sales are spiking across the country this year, it's important to remember that there are healthier options out there — and to not overdo it with the booze. If you plan on an enjoying a cocktail from time to time, why not choose one that's a tad healthier for you?
With so many new canned drinks being sold these days, it's hard to know which one to choose. As a registered dietitian, I did my research to track down the healthiest canned cocktails to enjoy this summer. These premade drinks aren’t just effortlessly delicious, they’re also easy to take on-the-go (as in to a socially distanced barbecue or beach outing). While these drinks boast many nutritious ingredients, keep in mind the amounts of fruit or botanicals are pretty small so don't go skipping your morning green juice.
1. Pineapple Orange Hard Kombucha
Kombucha is a favorite bev of the wellness world, and for good reason. The fizzy, fermented tea contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria (finally, some good germs!) that promote gut health and aid in digestion. And now that it can be enjoyed in cocktail form, kombucha just got a lot more fun.
Juneshine’s 100 Pineapple Orange Hard Kombucha is our top choice. The 100-calorie drink is gluten-free, organic and non-GMO. This drink is made from jun, a cousin of traditional kombucha. Made with honey instead of cane sugar, Juneshine is smoother, lighter and absent of any soury bite. Perhaps the coolest part, Junshine features a graph on their site with a breakdown of what’s inside their cans (probiotics and antioxidants) versus what will never be (corn syrup and preservatives).
Ingredients: Pineapple, orange, green tea, honey, cane sugar, jun kombucha, alcohol by volume (ABV): 6%
2. Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritzer
Drinking under the hot summer sun can lead to dehydration. You’ll still want to drink plenty of water, but this Ramona Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritzer may help avoid this from happening. The drink’s key ingredient, grapefruit, will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed. Along with this zesty fruit, the 90-calorie can also contains organic Sicilian grapes and grape juice, all simple ingredients you can trust. A gluten-free, vegan and BPA-free choice? There’s no reason you shouldn’t be searching the store shelves for this blend.
Ingredients: Organic grapes, grape juice (in sparkling wine), natural ruby grapefruit, ABV: 7.5%
3. Hibiscus Hard Tea
This Loverboy Hibiscus Pom Hard Tea brings a whole new meaning to tea time. Crack open a 90-calorie can for the ultimate burst of flavor. It’s free of sugar, gluten and artificial flavors, unlike the sickly sweet teas you’re used to sipping on. To make the yummy drink, organic hibiscus is steeped and brewed like a tea, paired with tangy pomegranate, and topped off with a hint of lime juice. Both hibiscus and pomegranate are full of antioxidants, which can help to fight inflammation.
Ingredients: Organic brewed tea (water, organic hibiscus), natural flavors, monk fruit juice from concentrate, citric acid, lime juice concentrate, ABV: 4.2%
4. Brazilian Sparkling Caipirinha
In need of something super unique? Enter Novo Fogo’s Sparkling Caipirinha, a canned and carbonated twist on Brazil’s national cocktail. Made with only Cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice, sugar and natural lime flavor — you’ll know exactly what you’re consuming with every sip. Novo Fogo recently refined their 100% natural recipe to include less sugar along with fewer calories (129 to be exact) and carbohydrates. This drink offers something new while using safe, familiar ingredients you already know and love.
Ingredients: Novo Fogo’s Silver Cachaça, natural lime flavor, sugar, carbonation, ABV: 11.1%
5. Dry Rosé Wine Spritz
This Tiamo Organic Dry Rosé Wine Spritz is organic, low-alcohol and low-calorie (just 90 calories per can). It’s also gluten-free and absent of artificial flavors and sweetener. It’s a can full of bubbly fun, with a refreshingly short list of ingredients you can actually pronounce — like organic grapes and sparkling water. The relief you deserve, so you can focus on having pure fun!
Ingredients: Organic grapes (in wine), sparkling water, organic cane sugar, ABV: 5%
6. Hard-Pressed Juice
Take your morning drink into the night with Pulp Culture’s 99-Calorie Hustle Hard-Pressed Juice. Made from 100% raw juice that naturally ferments over three months, the unique refreshment has zero additives and zero added sugar. What it does have is naturally-occurring probiotics and B vitamins, nutrient dense super fruits like passionfruit, and adaptogens (herbs that are used to boost energy and reduce stress). Fun fact: It contains only the ingredients seen on the front label of the can. Because flavor is good, but transparency is even better.
Ingredients: Apple, passionfruit, strawberry, ginger, turmeric, Lion's mane, ABV: 4.9%
7. Mango Spiked Seltzer
It’s no surprise that so many people reach for vodka sodas in the summer. Thanks to added water, the drink cools and combats dehydration better than most alcoholic beverages. But sometimes, we need something a bit sweeter to satisfy us.
This Mango White Claw Sparkling Seltzer pumps the traditional drink with tropical flavor, making it a heavenly match for a summer celebration. Mango is rich in vitamins A and C, both of which may help support the immune system and improve skin and hair health. With only 2 grams of sugar per serving, it puts most mixed drinks to shame.
Ingredients: Purified carbonated water, natural flavors, natural cane sugar, citric acid, natural mango juice concentrate, sodium citrate, ABV: 5%
8. Watermelon Mint Spiked Spritzer
We can guarantee you’ll be foraging the cooler for this Mighty Swell Watermelon Mint Spiked Spritzer. The mix of crisp mint and fruity melon is a downright delectable combination, with a little nutrition to boot. Made with clean ingredients, the 110-calorie can is completely free of artificial flavors, added sugars, and harmful additives like red dye #3 and high-fructose corn syrup. Plus, the main ingredient is water so staying hydrated will be that much easier.
Ingredients: Filtered carbonated water, white grape juice from concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, fruit and vegetable juice (color), ABV: 5%
With these drinks, it's easy to wind up having more than you intend, but the dietary guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day for men. So while these drinks are definitely on the healthier side of the booze spectrum, it's important not to overindulge.
For more advice on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri Glassman on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial.