Thirst-Quenching, Low-Cal & Low-Alcohol Drinks

Trying to figure out how to drink more water? Me too! These two drinks have become my favorite ways to drink more liquid.

Weight Watchers, can you say "zero points"? With these drinks, yes, you can!

Beer & Ginger Ale
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Brad Gilbert, the well-known tennis player, tennis coach, ESPN tennis announcer and author of Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master, says this about hydration for athletes, “By the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late.” It’s true for champion athletes, it’s true for couch potatoes – and all of us in between.

A few years back, many nights I found myself gulping down a glass of wine while cooking supper, even with good wines worth a slow-sipping savor.

What I came to realize is that at six o’clock, my brain is ready for relaxation but my body is thirsting for – literally – a big, long swallow of liquid.

What a revelation! Perhaps I’m not alone? In January, I asked readers to share a “healthy habit” for the new year. (See the comments in Quick 'n' Easy Raw Salad.) So many wrote, “I want to figure out how to drink more water.”

Here’s how I do it.

BITTERS & SODA Especially during the winter, the pour of choice while cooking dinner is now a Bitters & Soda: quick and easy to fix; lots of liquid; hardly any alcohol; and somehow it appeals, at that hour, in a way plain old tap water doesn’t. Many thanks to Karen Tedesco from FamilyStyle Food for introducing me to Bitters & Soda!

BEER & GINGER ALE My new summer drink obsession happened by accident. One warm Friday night, friends were coming for dinner. While cooking, I mixed a splash of beer with ginger ale and ice – and it quenched my thirst so quickly! So when everyone arrived, I offered the same drink to the women. Talk about lightweights (and cheap dates!), three of us drank a single bottle of beer all night long yet never had an empty glass!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy drink recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 1 minute
Time to throat: 1 minute
Serves 1
  • Splash of beer (about 4 tablespoons or 2 ounces)
  • Ice
  • Diet ginger ale

Combine in a big glass, drink up!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 4 tablespoons light beer: 17 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 0g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 0, PointsPlus 0

ALANNA’s TIPS While I never measure, the proportion I drink is 1:3 or 1:4 beer:ginger ale. You want to “taste” the beer but not “drink a beer”. Sealed with a wine cork, an open bottle of beer lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge, drunk just a splash at a time. I’ve become partial to Corona Light but other beers would likely work too. I’ve tried this with everything from Diet 7-Up to Diet Coke (whatever’s hanging around after family parties), but diet ginger ale really does the trick. I “like” this drink with other sodas but “love it!” with ginger ale. This is now my standard low-alcohol “party drink” too. Even people who don’t drink beer (or like beer) like this concoction.


Hands-on time: 1 minute
Time to throat: 1 minute
Serves 1
  • Splash of bitters (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Ice
  • Club soda

Combine in a big glass, drink up!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Teaspoon of Bitters: 8 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 65mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 0g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 0, PointsPlus 0

WHAT ARE BITTERS? Bitters are an old-time concoction, first marketed as a medicinal tonic. There are dozens of different flavors but all are “bitter” – a good thing! – but the only one I find easily is Angostura Bitters. Bitters have a high alcohol content (45% compared to 10-16% for wine) and come in small bottles the size and shape of Tabasco. Look for bitters in the liquor department, a tiny bottle is expensive but you consume it, literally, a teaspoon at a time.

What's Your Trick for Drinking More Water?

Share your favorite tip in the comments! The simpler the better! The more creative, the better! The wackier, the ... ... well, if it works, go for it!

This Week, Years Past

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Strawberry Shortcake Iowa-Style Buttered Pecan Ice Cream Pecan Meringue Cookies Finnish Summer Soup Grilled Vegetables in Foil My Perfect (Unsweet, Unboozy) Sangria Canadian Flag Cake

This Week, Elsewhere

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Chicken & Dumplings from Mama Josephine's

A Veggie Venture
Mom's Potato Salad

More Summer Drinks

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cold-Brewed Coffee My Perfect Sangria Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade
~ more drink recipes ~

More Drink Recipes from A Veggie Venture

© Copyright 2011 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Catherine6/28/2011

    I like to drink lime cordial mixed with water, either still or sparkling. Just put a slug at the bottom of a tall glass, add water and mix. Add ice if liked. I also like to add lime cordial to lager beer - in England it is called a lager and lime. I am also partial to ginger beer(which is non-alcoholic) mixed with fresh lime juice or lime cordial. Add ice. I guess you could also use ginger ale, but I haven't tried that. Some brands of ginger beer available in the UK can be extremely hot, as in sharp, with ginger.

    Or, English lemonade, which is like 7 Up, is added to either a lager or a bitter beer, kind of like what you mentioned above. Those drinks are called a shandy, or in the case of using a bitter beer, a bitter shandy.

  2. Aiiii, Catherine, great tips. I have a bottle of Rose's Lime Juice in the fridge, this is lime cordial, yes? Thanks for your insights!

  3. Yup, Rose's is a lime cordial. Nice post. I love soda/seltzer with bitters also. But I like bitters in anything! Interesting take on the Shandy (classic Shandy is half beer,half soda; usually the British "lemonade" - 7-up - but sometimes ginger beer or ginger ale). Your version looks really refreshing. Reminds me of someone I knew years ago, a long-distance runner, who after a run would pour half a beer (preferably light) and fill the rest of the glass with ice cubes! Sounds disgusting, but I tried it once on a really hot day and it wasn't half bad.

  4. So good to find these comments!
    I like water or seltzer or sparkling mineral water with 2 tsps.
    of flavoring; bitters or lemon or juice or diet soda. I can drink
    this all day. Plain water gags me.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna