Seltzer gets a bad rap for serving up boring happy hour drinks, but these budget-friendly bubbles can actually make some of the most delicious and refreshing libations. For those who want to cut back on sugar, it’s no surprise that seltzer water brings zero calories, sugar or carbs to the party. That means you’ll be saving yourself from the sneaky sugary mixers that find their way into many mixed drinks and specialty cocktails.
Feeling fancy? You can also consider flavored sparkling water, a healthier alternative to getting the same fruity, floral notes you’d find in a full-bodied wine or boozy IPA. Plus, you can get a whole lot more creative when you factor in a variety of spirits, fresh fruits, herbs and other Instagram-worthy garnishes. Ready to get the party started? Check out these flavorful and festive seltzer-based cocktail recipes.
12 Low-Calorie Cocktail Recipes with Seltzer Water
We’ve got a serious blue crush on this fizzy drink, which features blueberries, mint, blueberry-flavored vodka and Saint Germaine liqueur. Saint Germaine liqueur is made from elderflower, which has a sweet and aromatic taste, so you don’t need to add simple syrup or another sweetener. Photo and recipe: Mandy Kellog Rye / Waiting on Martha
The bright days of spring are up ahead once you’ve got a sip of this sunny drink in your hand. Honey adds a touch of sweetness, while dried lavender gives this sparkling cocktail a fragrant aroma and a hint of floral. Garnish with lemon slices for a zesty kick! Photo and recipe: Amy / The Foodie’s Diet Blog
A splash of LaCroix’s Cúrate Pomme Bayá (apple berry) seltzer adds boldness to the sweetness of the strawberries in this low-sugar libation. Some berry-flavored vodka is all you need to further enhance this robust drink, no liqueurs necessary. Photo and recipe: Krystal / Sunny Sweet Days
You’ll feel like you just spent a day at the spa as you sip on this cucumber gin drink. Muddling cucumbers helps infuse their refreshing taste into the cocktail. Fresh dill and lime heightens the juniper and coriander in gin, making this drink super flavorful. Photo and recipe: Lauren Herbert / Chat N Chow
Topo Chico is a specialty sparkling mineral water made in Mexico that dates back to the time of Moctezuma. This wildly popular mixer is a good source of sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese, but mixologists also like it for its unique complementary flavor. It may be difficult to get your hands on it if you don’t live in the Southwest, so you can substitute it with any seltzer of your choice. Photo and recipe: Katherine Hysmith / Young Austinian
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Diced peaches are muddled with mint, white rum, simple syrup and lemon-flavored seltzer. You can make this cocktail even healthier by forgoing the simple syrup for honey, agave, maple syrup or even coconut sugar. Photo and recipe: Philia Kelnhofer / Sweet Phi
Citrus fruits, like grapefruit, are in season during the winter, but this refreshing drink will make you want to book a hot-weather getaway. In this recipe, we use Ruby Grapefruit White Claw Hard Seltzer and some chilled Prosecco, but you can opt to use one or the other, if you want to cut back on the alcohol volume. Garnish each glass with a slice of grapefruit and a rosemary twig for a festive presentation with extra flavor. Photo and recipe: Gerry Speirs / Foodness Gracious
Muddling raspberries and mint with fresh lemon juice brings out their sweetness and enhances the taste of hard sparkling water. Rosé raspberry ice cubes are a great way to chill the cocktails, while adding more fruity goodness and some “blush” to each glass. The best part is that this refreshing spritzer is only 100 calories! Photo and recipe: Erin Fairchild / Her Heartland Soul
Your Taco Tuesday just got an upgrade with this deliciously zesty margarita-inspired drink. This low-sugar cocktail is made with tequila, limeade, mint and seltzer. (No sugar bombs here.) If you want to make your own limemade, simply mix freshly squeezed lime juice, agave and water or lime-flavored seltzer water together. Photo and recipe: Dan / Mantitlement
You’re serving sunshine in a cup with this gorgeous winter spritzer, which includes blood oranges, limes and tangerines. Seltzer offsets the alcohol content and boosts the hydration factor, so you don’t wake up the next day wishing you didn’t have another glass. Photo and recipe: Claire Thomas / The Kitchy Kitchen
Perfect for all the malbec lovers out there, the frozen blueberries and raspberries in this recipe turn red wine into a frosty treat. If you like to pair your dinner with a glass of vino, this recipe is a creative way to think outside of the bottle and complement the spices and herbs in your dish. (Generally speaking, red wine is best with beef, pork and chicken.) Even better: Blueberries and raspberries are lower in sugar compared to other fruit, so their subtle sweetness won’t be off-putting to your meal. Photo and recipe: Aggie / Aggie’s Kitchen
Strawberries and rhubarb are not only a great pair for pie, but in this delicious sangria, too. We cut down on the sugar by swapping simple syrup with a natural sweetener and freshly squeezed orange juice. For the alcohol, we like chilled Prosecco or a dry sparkling white wine. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn