By Jessica, Pure Matters

I like to have people over in the summertime, and I like to attend backyard barbecues hosted by my friends and family. What I don’t always like, though, is all of the drinking that tends to come with outdoor entertaining. Don’t get me wrong -- I enjoy my cocktails, but I’ve discovered it’s really easy to rack up the calories -- not to mention the energy-zapping combo of hot weather and alcoholic drinks -- when you’re celebrating the season of fun in the sun.

My solution? Mocktails. I am on a huge mocktail kick this summer for three reasons: 1) That 2012 weight loss resolution is looming large; 2) I’m also on a health kick and 3) Water is so boring when everybody else is drinking cold beer, chilled wine and fruity cocktails. Summer is a great time for interesting non-alcoholic drinks, because fresh fruit and milder vegetables like cucumbers are readily available. And herbs! Oh, the herbs! Shake up one of these the next time you host a backyard bash, or just want a refreshing, low-sugar sip for chillin’ on the porch.

Cucumber Mint Chiller
Cucumber, mint and lime combine for a refreshing, easy-to-make frozen drink.
Serves 2

Blend together 1 cup diced and peeled cucumber, 5 medium-sized mint leaves, the juice of 2 limes, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 cup filtered water and 3 large ice cubes on high until smooth. Pour into a tumbler, garnish with a cucumber slice and serve immediately.

Raspberry Peach Spritzer
Hosting an afternoon bash? This fruity cocktail is a great stand-in for a mimosa or Bellini. You might want to start with half of the sugar and taste, though -- if your peaches are ripe and sweet, you might not need all of it.
Serves 2

Puree 1 pitted, peeled fresh peach with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Divide puree between 2 champagne glasses and top with seltzer. Garnish each with 4 fresh raspberries. Serve immediately.

Ginger Grapefruit Mocktini
This sweet and spicy mocktini is for heat lovers only! If you can’t handle the spice, cut the jalapeno in half, or use the full amount and remove the ribs and seeds.
Serves 2

In a cocktail shaker, mix 1 cup grapefruit juice, 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, 5 torn basil leaves, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 sliced jalapeno and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a thin slice of jalapeno.