Tag Archives: cocktail

Cooking Light Recipe Makeover: Lower Fat Piña Colada

Written by Liz –

Cooking Light's Piña Coladas

The June issue of Cooking Light features a recipe makeover for that refreshing summertime treat: Piña Coladas, shown above (photos by Randy Mayor, recipe and content by Cooking Light). They use Carnation evaporated milk to help lower fat but keep the creamy flavor:

“You’ll like our way of losing almost all the sat fat while keeping the delicious coconutty goodness. Freezing the pineapple adds a velvety texture and keeps the cocktail frozen longer. The riper the pineapple, the more concentrated the flavor will be.”

Sounds good to us! Excerpt below is from June 2012 issue of Cooking Light.

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

Lighter Piña Coladas

Nothing says “escape” like a creamy, ice-cold piña colada: cocktail in hand, feet in the sand, music in the background (hopefully not that dreadful piña colada song, the last #1 hit of the 1970s, unless it’s a guilty pleasure). Unfortunately, nothing says “better head to the gym” like a piña colada, too: 425 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, most of which comes from the mysterious goo known as cream of coconut. We’ll show you how we kept the vacation-worthy flavor while slashing fat and calories. At just 158 calories, it’s all pleasure, no guilt.

Tip #1: Homemade Coconut Milk

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

We make our own infused coconut milk to replace heavy, sugary cream of coconut. This cuts 176 calories and 8 grams of sat fat per drink. Save day-of prep time by doing this step (step 1) the night before.

Tip #2: Fresh Pineapple

Pineapple peaks in summer; it’s sweet, slightly tart, and juicy. Sub fresh fruit for some of the canned juice and save 44 calories per drink. A splash of juice adds more acidity.

Tip #3: Gold Rum

We opted for the darker variety, with its hints of caramel and molasses, which better complement the creamy coconut and tart pineapple.

Piña Colada Recipe for Success

Lighter Piña Coladas recipe by Cooking Light

Freezing the pineapple adds a velvety texture and keeps the cocktail frozen longer. The riper the pineapple, the more concentrated the flavor will be. Get the recipe here.


Related better-for-you frozen cocktail recipes:

Green Jalapeño Margarita recipe
Green Jalapeño Margarita
strawberry margarita recipe
Frosty Strawberry Margaritas

Go Green on Cinco de Mayo: Green Jalapeño Margarita

Written by Liz –

Green Jalapeño Margarita recipe

Here’s a trend I’ve been seeing lately: adding spinach to smoothies, grating zucchini into brownies and stirring pumpkin into soup and pastas. This may sound crazy, but these are all good ways to get more nutrients into our diets, which most of us need! And, they really do taste delicious…or, rather, I should say they don’t taste at all. I can’t even detect the extra veggies added to these particular dishes, so I get to eat my favorite foods with one extra, effortless serving of vegetables.

So, I soon became a spinach-smoothie convert, throwing a handful of spinach into any combination of frozen fruit, yogurt and instant breakfast mix I was blending. As May rolled around, I realized I could easily incorporate this trick into one of my favorite cocktails: the frozen margarita! Plus, I love jalapeños and drinks with a bit of spice. Adding a few fresh slices of this hot pepper + spinach gives your frozen margarita some heat, as well as a gorgeous green color. And it still tastes like that awesome beach trip to Mexico.

Green Jalapeño Margarita

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup Tequila blanco
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 to 4 slices fresh jalapeño chile
  • 10 to 12 cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • Coarse salt


PLACE spinach, Tequila, liqueur, Juicy Juice, lime juice, jalapeño slices, cilantro and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

DIP rims of glasses into water; dip into salt and shake off excess. Pour margarita mixture into glasses. Garnish each with a jalapeño slice, if desired.

Cook’s Tip: Increase amounts of jalapeño, cilantro and spinach leaves according to taste.

Whole Fruit Margarita

Another option for frozen margaritas is adding whole fruits to the mix, as shown by Better Recipes above.


Related recipes:

strawberry margarita recipe
Strawberry Margarita
Limoncello Basil Cooler recipe
Limoncello Basil Cooler

Top 10 New Year Cocktail & Coffee Recipes

Written by Liz –

Coffee Abuelatini recipe

1. Coffee Abuelatini

With iced coffee, chocolate and cinnamon flavors, this Coffee Abuelatini above is a classy choice for entertaining.

Puerto Rican Rum Punch (Coquito) recipe

2. Puerto Rican Rum Punch (Coquito)

Try this Latin-inspired cocktail to add some spice to your New Year.

After Midnight Javatini recipe

3. After Midnight Javatini

After Midnight Javatini above is terrific for holiday late-night celebrations. A chocolate-rimmed glass and a hint of coffee liqueur add a flavorful twist and a festive flair to this one-of-a-kind beverage.

Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

4. Spiced Apple Cider

Cloves, cinnamon sticks and anise pods give this Spiced Apple Cider a festive and tasty flair that you will completely love. For an adult party, add an optional splash of vanilla vodka or rum.

Hot Peppermint Mocha Shots recipe

5. Hot Peppermint Mocha Shots

For some non-alcoholic drink, these Hot Peppermint Mocha Shots add a peppermint kick and hint of coffee to your cocoa for a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. This tasty winter warmer is a rich and decadent party pleaser.

Vanilla Cappuccino recipe

6. Vanilla Cappuccino

And for a morning-after rouser, try this simple Vanilla Cappuccino above, with a hint of cinnamon.

Caramel Macchiato Cappuccino Recipe

7. Caramel Macchiato Cappuccino

Craving the coffeehouse taste at home? Try the smooth, rich flavor of Coffee-mate Caramel Macchiato, a shot of espresso and steamed milk in this easy Cappuccino recipe. It doesn’t get more delicious.

Heavenly Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Liqueur recipe

8. Heavenly Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Liqueur

Hot chocolate with coffee and hazelnut liqueurs shown above will warm your soul on a cold night.

Rich 'N Creamy Mint Cocoa recipe

9. Rich ‘N Creamy Mint Cocoa

This elegant Creamy Mint Cocoa is perfect for chilly nights. Add a little Irish crème liqueur to add extra dimension! Top with whipped cream and dusting of cocoa.

Hot Buttered White Chocolate Caramel Espresso recipe

10. Hot Buttered White Chocolate Caramel Espresso

Hot Buttered White Chocolate Caramel Espresso is rich and flavorful and ready in 5 minutes. This one is perfect for entertaining.

Pitcher Drinks: Cool Summer Sips & Cocktails

Written by Liz –

Limoncello Basil Cooler recipe

You may remember from previous posts that I love a little herb in my desserts – well, I also love a little herb in my drinks. Especially basil. And cilantro. And rosemary…ok I love them all. Give me a fennel-infused bloody mary with a touch of cilantro plus all the fixin’s and I’m a happy girl.

I was an equally happy girl when I found these easy summer drink recipes: one uses limoncello and basil and the other uses wine and sparkling orange mineral water. Both can be made by the pitcher for groups and parties, and you can always infuse your own personality into the drink – as I found out at a recent wine cocktail aperitivi party on California’s central coast.

For the Limoncello Basil Cooler pictured at top, you can easily follow the recipe; it’s oh so refreshing after a long day. Or, to create a South of the Border version, use 1 part margarita mix and 1 part dry white wine instead of limoncello, add fresh lime and lemon juice, and replace the basil with cilantro. You can even add a dash of Tequila!

Limoncello Basil Cooler

Ingredients for 6 small servings:

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil sprigs
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) limoncello liqueur, chilled, divided
  • 1 bottle (16.9 fluid ounces) PERRIER Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
  • Crushed ice cubes
  • 6 basil sprigs for serving


MUDDLE or smash 1/2 cup basil with 1/4 cup limoncello with a wooden spoon in a large pitcher. Add remaining limoncello and sparkling water.

FILL glasses half full with ice. Top with limoncello mixture, holding back bruised basil; garnish with basil sprig.

Fruity White Wine Spritzers recipe

Another super easy crowd pleaser is this recipe for Fruity White Wine Spritzers. These take no time to put together if you just follow the recipe (a little bit hard for me!) OR you can really go crazy substituting your favorite fruit, juices and herbs to get something totally unique. Get some ideas here.

Have fun mixing it up!


Related drink recipes:

Sparkling Sangria recipe
Sparkling Sangria
Strawberry Bliss Aguas Frescas recipe
Strawberry Aguas Frescas

Happy New Year with Spiced Apple Cider (Cocktail)

Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

When I saw Ani‘s recipe for Spiced Apple Cider, it reminded me of the Vin Chaud (mulled wine) I’d had and loved in Europe during the holidays. I could often smell it wafting from doorways of small restaurants and upon entering friends’ homes or churches. Even places like train stations and gas stations served it, which cheerily sustained me through the cold winter months.

I remember when Ani got the inspiration for this cider, and I thought it would make a perfect cocktail recipe for a New Year’s celebration in wine country. I could please everyone: plain cider for the mocktail drinkers, spiced wine for the wine country fanatics and cider with vanilla vodka or rum for the most festive of friends.

I tested it out in preparation; following the recipe was easy…so much easier than the homemade eggnog I’d recently tried out. You just need spices and apple juice for the base, and it only takes 15 minutes of cooking time. I also decided to chill some of the plain cider after cooking to satisfy those that might want their cocktail on the rocks.

Here are some cocktail variations you might try:

  • Add vanilla vodka or rum (or your favorite spirit) to the hot cider.
  • Add your favorite spirit to chilled cider along with a splash of carbonated water over ice.
  • For mulled wine, substitute 1 bottle of medium to full-bodied red wine for the apple juice, add 1/4 cup sugar, cover immediately and cook on low (so it never reaches a boil) for 20 minutes.
  • For white wine cider, substitute 1/2 bottle of medium to full-bodied white wine for 1/2 of the apple juice, add 1/8 cup sugar, cover immediately and cook on low (so it never reaches a boil) for 20 minutes.

For me, this will make the cheeriest, easiest and most versatile of winter celebrations. Happy New Year!

Old-Fashioned Eggnog

If you’re looking for something creamier, fancier or more holiday-themed, check out this old-fashioned eggnog adventure (pictured above) and the coffee-creamy-martini or latin-inspired eggnog below.


More holiday celebration drink recipes:

After Midnight Javatini Recipe
After Midnight Javatini
Costa Rican-Style Eggnog Recipe
Costa Rican-Style Eggnog

After Midnight Javatini: a Martini Recipe with a Kick

After Midnight Javatini martini recipe

Coffee-mate isn’t just for coffee! I used Coffee-Mate in this Javatini in addition to Nescafe, to add creaminess and flavor. There are so many Coffee-Mate many flavors to pick from; any flavor can be used in all kinds of beverages and desserts. Get playful in the kitchen and see what you can come up with.  We’d love to hear about it!

This is one of my favorite drink recipes – get the recipe here – but we came up with a bunch more in our kitchens. I’m not sure I would even consider some of these a beverage; they’re more like a dessert you can drink!


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