This is another awesome guest post from the B of the BFFs, Mary Jo Johnson!

I’m a beer girl.

I like to think that is has something to do with my super casual, low maintenance, kinda country girl like persona, but the truth is that I just really like how it tastes.

As I’m, ahem, maturing though, I’m finding that beer is liking me back less and less. It’s got a ton of calories and has the tendency to leave me feeling gross and overfull, which I have to say IS A FREAKING SHAME and while I will never totally give up my Blue Moon or Leinenkugel Orange Shandy, I’ve had to adapt.

It’s either adapt or stay stone cold sober for the rest of my life, and given the state of the world, I don’t see how I could possibly be expected to stay sober, do you? So… in my quest to occasionally imbibe without guilt, I started out with some of the trendy low-calorie, low sugar, “healthy” alcohols and wines. And girls, hold on to your skirts here because I’m about to drop a really disappointing truth bomb. The way they make it low calorie (ie “healthy”) also lowers the alcohol content. So, would you rather drink seven tasteless drinks to get a happy buzz on? Or would you find a better solution?

I found a better solution.

And here’s what I found. Most clear alcohols – vodka, gin, light rum and silver tequilas all have around 100 calories per serving, and a serving is usually around one to one and a half ounces. As much as I hate to admit it, any more than one and a half ounces of tequila will generally make me dance on tables and sing Loretta Lynn songs at the top of my lungs, so that seems like plenty for a mixed drink. But I’m a sipper, not a shooter, so I really needed some options for mixers.

My friend Natalie (You know, The ZEST! Juice lady?) makes the most delicious juices, and those are the BEST mixers around. Hula Hooch and rum? Sunshine and vodka? YES, PLEASE. But unfortunately for me she lives far, far away, and I often have to find other alternatives.

In a nutshell, I was looking for things that a) taste good and b) wouldn’t break the calorie and sugar bank, so to speak.

After much trial and error, I realized a couple things. If you want a cocktail to taste good, you really should start with a decent quality alcohol, and when it comes to mixers, it does not need to be a complicated process. All you really need are some sort of sparkling water, 100% pure fruit or vegetable juice, your fruit(s) of choice, and agave nectar for a little sweetness. Coconut water and coconut milk also make excellent mixers for tropical-ish drinks, and if you’re feeling really crazy, you can also toss in some spices or condiments, depending on the drink you’re making.

The combinations are virtually endless, but I tried about 4,823 different drinks so you wouldn’t have to (Hey, it was RESEARCH!), and I’ve made some handy recipes of my favorites so you can give them a try, too.

Save ‘em. Share ‘em. Print ‘em. Pin ‘em. But most importantly, drink ‘em.

Cheers!