WASHINGTON, D.C. – As summertime enthusiasts enjoy the outdoor entertaining season and many home gardens are overflowing with herbs and produce, the Distilled Spirits Council has partnered with registered dietitian, Joy Dubost, and spirits author, Amy Zavatto, on tips to create slimmed down cocktails using fresh, locally grown ingredients.

“Enjoying a cocktail at a barbeque or summer garden party is one of the season’s simple pleasures,” said Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian and food scientist.  “For those adults who are counting calories, there are several ways to create a slimmed down cocktail and it can be as easy as using fresh ingredients from your local farmers market or backyard garden.”

Amy Zavatto, spirits writer and author of Forager’s Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients, suggests using homegrown or locally grown ingredients as an alternative to bottled mixers.

“The beauty of this time of the year is that there are a wide variety of from-the-garden ingredients that are fresh and vibrant — a combination that will help you craft delicious, one-of-a-kind cocktails,” said Zavatto.

Zavatto continued, “By picking and preserving the in-season, super fresh berries, herbs, and vegetables, you can enjoy delicious cocktails using nature’s bounty not only during the summer months but year-round.”

Dubost added that it’s important to keep in mind the different calorie counts for beer, wine and spirits and standard drink sizes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.  A drink-equivalent is defined by the Guidelines as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (40 percent alcohol), 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol) and 12 ounces of regular beer (5 percent alcohol). Each of these drink-equivalents contains14 grams (0.6 fluid ounces) of pure alcohol.

“While a drink-equivalent of beer, wine and spirits all have the same amount of alcohol, they do not have the same number of calories,” said Dubost.  According to the Guidelines: a 1.5 ounce of 80-proof spirits (40 percent alcohol) is 98 calories; 12 ounces of regular beer (5 percent alcohol) is about 150 calories; and 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol) is about 120 calories.

“For calorie-conscious consumers in search of flavorful summer libations, spirits are a great option,” said Dubost. “Just be mindful of your mixers.”

Below are garden-fresh tips and a recipe:

Wild Blueberry Daiquiri

Recipe by Amy Zavatto

1 1/2 oz white rum

3/4 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, any stems picked off

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

2 sprigs of mint

Place blueberries in a shaker and muddle thoroughly. Add in the rum and fresh lime juice, and fill halfway with ice. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a few fresh blueberries and 2 sprigs of mint.