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Published April 24, 2012, 11:30 PM

Cinco de Mayo cocktails with a twist of nutrition

It’s easy to love a great cocktail. Until you look at the numbers. Some margaritas, for example, can pack upward of 1,000 calories. That’s an awful lot of empty calories for something that truly is just a minute on the lips. So with Cinco de Mayo coming up, we decided to give healthy makeovers to some suitable refreshments.

By: Alison Ladman, For The Associated Press, INFORUM

It’s easy to love a great cocktail. Until you look at the numbers.

Some margaritas, for example, can pack upward of 1,000 calories. That’s an awful lot of empty calories for something that truly is just a minute on the lips. So with Cinco de Mayo coming up, we decided to give healthy makeovers to some suitable refreshments.

The key to preventing cocktails from becoming calorie bombs is to take care when selecting the base for the drink. Juices (even unsweetened ones), sodas, anything with a syrup in it, and most liqueurs all pack tons of sugar.

The best option for a satisfying light drink is to start with seltzer water or still water. Be aware that club soda is not the same thing. While club soda doesn’t have calories, it does have sodium. Once you have a clean water base, you can start adding flavorings to it.

We’ve created two cocktails worthy of your Cinco de Mayo celebration that won’t necessitate a half-marathon to burn off the calories.

We use real fruit, distilled spirits and a touch of agave nectar to keep things fresh and light. If you like, add a touch of salt around the rim of your glass for a classic margarita feel. Do this by running a lime wedge around the rim, then overturning the glass and dipping it in a plate of coarse salt.

Sparkling Raspberry Margarita

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

1/2 orange, cut into pieces

1 lime, cut into pieces

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1 ounce silver or white tequila

Seltzer water

Fill a cocktail glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the orange, lime, raspberries and agave nectar with the tequila until the fruit is very pulpy and juicy. This should take about 5 minutes. Strain into the ice and top with seltzer water.

Nutrition information per serving values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 130 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium.

Cucumber Cooler

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber

1 ounce silver or white tequila

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon agave syrup

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup ice

In a blender, combine the cucumber, tequila, lime juice, agave and mint leaves. Blend until completely pureed. Add the ice and blend until the ice is finely chopped. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with mint and a lime wedge.

Nutrition information per serving(values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 110 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 5 mg sodium.

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