Guilt-Free Raspberry Margaritas

I have a friend who recently told me that they refuse to drink calories – no juice, no smoothies, no lattes, no milkshakes… It’s their new way to cut calories and shed pounds. In my opinion, this is can be pretty good idea. Beverages can add tons of calories to your day without much nutritional benefit and certainly without making you feel full. But when the aforementioned friend said that they were cutting out alcohol, too, I was a bit surprised.

“No wine?!” I asked incredulously.

“No wine,” the friend said solemnly.

“No martinis?!” I inquired, still in shock.

“No martinis,” she said with a head shake.

“But please tell me…you must still allow room for the occasional margarita!” I tried one last time.

“No margaritas,” she replied, with a note of finality in her voice.

On the one hand, she has a point: Alcohol is very calorically dense, and there’s no way around that. 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, compared to 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein which contains only 4 calories. (Fat takes the cake though…1 gram has 9 calories.)

Alcohol can also stifle otherwise excellent weight loss or weight maintenance efforts – just think about all those college students drinking copious amounts of beer every weekend. Switching to say, iced tea, would no doubt prevent weight gain.

But on the other hand…who doesn’t like to kick back and chill out while treating yourself to a tasty frozen margarita or other cocktail from time to time? I know there are some weekends when I feel that I certainly enjoy a classic lime margarita.

My friend derailed the conversation about her giving up alcohol by putting my education on trial, saying,

“You’re a nutritionist. Shouldn’t you be telling people to steer clear of sugar-filled, calorically dense beverages and alcohol?”

She had a point, and it gave me an idea. While experts do say that wine has some cardioprotective benefits and beer may have some antibacterial properties related to the fermentation process, they have very little else to say about the benefits of other types of alcohol. But I know that if I told friends, family, clients, and patients that they had to cut out alcohol, most would look at me like I was crazy and then wouldn’t listen to any other good advice I had for them.

Alcohol is a luxury that people indulge in to relax, kick back, and enjoy themselves – and I am not going to be the one to take that away.

So I came up with a solution: Obviously you have to drink in moderation (translation: 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 drinks or less per day for men) (further translation: 1 drink is about one 12-oz beer, 4 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz hard liquor). But if you enjoy mixed drinks, here’s the healthier way to indulge in libations:

 Cut the calories from the mixer.

How to do that is really simple – switch regular sodas and juices to diet switch from tonic water to seltzer (tonic has 124 calories in 12 oz but seltzer has 0 calories).

But what about things like margaritas? The answer is the same – cut calories from the mix. Some companies do sell diet margarita mix, but I prefer to make my own. My boyfriend and I experimented with making simple syrup on the stove by boiling sugar in water, then blending that with freshly squeezed lime juice and pureed fruit of our choice. But then one night he surprised me and made the simple syrup with Stevia instead of sugar, and I didn’t even notice the difference until he told me (as I was pouring my second glass).

I love stevia for two reasons: it’s a zero-calorie sweetener and it comes from a plant. Unfortunately, I don’t usually like the way it tastes in my coffee or other beverages, but the flavor of the tequila was so strong that it masked the unique Stevia flavor, allowing the Stevia to add only sweetness without at after-taste.

The product is so delicious that we’ve made it several times over the summer, each time with different fruit. It turned out beautifully each time, and I don’t think I will ever go back to store-bought mixes.

In terms of nutrition, I think these delicious margaritas are a fantastic Friday evening option. They have fresh fruit (bonus: if you leave the seeds in the raspberry puree, it adds fiber) and they are very low calorie: only 100 calories for a 7 ounce glass.

When compared to the standard “generic” margarita on My Fitness Pal, my recipe was less than one-third of the calories, saving a total 225 calories for a 7 ounce glass. Compared to the Skinny Girl margarita, my recipe again had less calories: again, only 100 calories for mine compared to 164 for Skinny Girl. As an added bonus, everything is fresh – no preservatives or artificial dyes to worry about. What more could you possibly want??

Without further ado:

Raspberry Margarita 2

Photo by Nicci Brown

Guilt Free Raspberry Margaritas

A Nicci Brown Original Recipe

 Yield:  6 margaritas                  Portion size: 7 oz


  • ¾ c. Tequila
  • ½ c. Triple Sec
  • Fresh Raspberries, washed and pureed
  • 1 ¼ c. Homemade Mix
  • 20 oz. Ice

Homemade Mix

  • 2 c. Stevia
  • 4 c. Water
  • 2 c. Lime juice, squeezed from fresh limes
  1. Put the water and stevia in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until stevia is dissolved and water is clear.
  2. Add lime juice and stir. Take off heat.
  3. Puree fresh raspberries in a food processor until smooth. If desired, strain out seeds.
  4. In a blender, combine 1 ¼ c homemade margarita mix, ice**, tequila, triple sec, and raspberry puree. Blend until smooth. (I prefer my Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, but any blender will do.)
  5. Pour into a fancy glass and enjoy – it’s 5:00 somewhere!

**After I made a pitcher, I determined that I had used about 20 oz of ice based on the total volume of margarita. In reality, add enough ice until your product is smooth and frosty.

**The mix is good for multiple pitchers of margaritas. If you have extra left over, will be fine stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days.


47 calories for a standard 3.3 oz portion

100 calories for a nice 7 oz portion

2 Responses to “Guilt-Free Raspberry Margaritas”
  1. M.W. says:

    Tasted these over the summer and they were awesome! The no-sugar mix works perfect for daiquiris as well. Thank you for posting the healthier versions of some old-time favorites.

  2. Jessica says:

    These were delicious!! Made them last night and they were so easy to make and tasted wonderful!! Thanks for the awesome recipe Nicci!

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