I get the strangest feeling writing this article. Low-cal cocktails. I started working on this stuff during the times when I needed guinea pigs for my crazy concoctions. My Dad used to feel a bit left out as he was diabetic and could not handle all the sugar in the recipes. Thus began my interest in creating cocktails which used flavours without an overdose of sugar. Not to say they were like Diet cola. There’s no escaping the calories in alcohol. And it’s definitely not healthy if consumed irresponsibly. But sure you can save the extra sugar boost caused by sweet juices, syrups and aerated waters.

Vodka and to an extent white rum are your best bets for mixing. Very little or no added sugar. Gin is sweetened and whisky and rum too contribute some extra calories. Your best bets are to mix with sugar–free juices, fresh or in tetra packs (Real, Tropicana), diet cola or lo-cal drinks. Replace sugar in a drink by Equal, Sugarfree, Sweetex…

Wine spritzers (wine and soda) on their own are boring but a drop or two of liquid sweetener perks them up dramatically. A slice of lime, some fresh mint and you’ve got something. Make a shandy by adding soda, lime juice and sweetener to the beer. Works perfectly. Make frozen daiquiris and margaritas by blending tequila with fresh fruit, lime, sweetener and ice. Caipirojkas and Mojitos too are cool with sweetener in place of sugar.

Cut the alcohol and you still have some great lo-cal mocktails. Try fruit smoothies by blending different or a combination of f
resh fruit with ice, yoghurt and sweetener. A hint of honey can sometimes replace sugar-free.

And so you see, life is not all bad and boring without sugar! Here are some of my favourite recipes. Enjoy.



Glass: Martini/large champagne saucer
45ml tequila                                                                                                                                                         
15ml lime juice
5 fresh strawberries/half kiwi/peach
1 or 2 sachets or 3-4 drops of sweetener
crushed ice (8-10 ice cubes) 

Garnish: fresh mint leaves

1. Rim the glass with salt.
2. Put everything, crushed ice and all, into a blender or into a deep jug and hand blend (Braun 300 watts).
3. Blend for 10-15 seconds till ice is slushy.
4. Pour into rimmed and garnished glass.* use white rum instead of tequila for a daiquiri or vodka for a moskowski

MOJITO (Mo-hee-toe)

Glass: Tall – Collins/Zombie/Pilsner

45 ml white rum
1 or 2 sachets or 3-4 drops of sweetener
6 wedges of lime
15 mint leaves
soda to top

Garnish: 2 cherries, mint leaves

1. Squeeze lime wedges and drop the peel into glass.

2. Add sugar-free, tear mint leaves and muddle together with back of spoon.
3. Fill glass with crushed ice.
4. Pour in the white rum, top with soda and stir.
5. Garnish with two cherries and fresh mint.



Glass: Old Fashioned/Whisky Tumbler

45/60 ml vodka
15 mint leaves (torn to bits)
4/5 wedges lime
1 or 2 sachets or 3-4 drops of sweetener
Garnish: slice of sweet lime/orange
  1. Squeeze lime wedges and drop in glass along with sugar-free and mint leaves
  2. Gentle muddle with back of Tabasco bottle to release flavours & melt sugar
  3. Fill glass with crushed ice.
  4. Pour in vodka and stir to mix evenly. Taste. Should be nicely sweet with a lime bite.
  5. Top with more crushed ice and garnish .

Flavour with fresh fruit puree or muddled fruit for some excitement!



Glass: Zombie/Chimney/Collins


15ml tequila
15ml white rum
15ml vodka
15ml gin
15ml Cointreau/triple sec
15ml lime juice
Diet Cola to top

Garnish: mint leaves, slice of lime/sweet lime

1. Fill glass with ice cubes.
2. Add the poison, lime juice and stir.
3. Top with Cola.
4. Make it look fancy – leaves, fruit, stirrer, straw.

Glass: old fashioned


60ml scotch

1 or 2 sachets or 3-4 drops of sweetener

1 slice of orange

1 slice of pineapple (thin)

3-4 mint leaves

Garnish: sprig of mint

  1. Place fruit slices in glass with sugar-free. Tear the mint leaves and add to fruit.
  2. Muddle fruit and mint gently with back of Tabasco bottle
  3. Fill glass with crushed ice.
  4. Pour scotch over ice and stir.
  5. Place mint sprig in centre of drink