Friday, March 11, 2011

Lean Libation: Giada's Italian Lemonade

It's Friday, friends! Therefore, it is the perfect time to share with you a light and refreshing cocktail to add to your Happy Hour menu; the Italian Lemonade. The inspiration for this "Lean Libation" comes from Giada De Laurentiis. The changes made here save some calories, as well as some hard labor. Instead of juicing 12-15 lemons, let's just use a little Crystal Light. See what else you need to do in order to whip up an Italian Lemonade of your own!


  • 1 packet Crystal Light PURE FITNESS in lemon lime or lemonade; mixed with 2 cups water
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Basil Simple Syrup; recipe follows
  • 2 cups sparkling water (Perrier or Pellegrino)
  • Ice
  • Lemon twists; for garnish
  • 8 ounces Vodka (optional)

Mix Crystal Light PURE FITNESS lemon-lime or lemonade, Basil Simple Syrup, and sparkling water together in a pitcher. Squeeze in the juice of two lemons and stir. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour over ice filled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.

  • 1 bunch fresh basil; washed & stemmed
  • 1 cup SPLENDA or similar low-calorie sweetener
  • 1 cup water
In a saucepan combine basil, SPLENDA, and water and simmer, about 5 minutes. Cool, strain the simple syrup, and store in the refrigerator.


This cocktail is going to be great during those warm summer months. It's one of those "easy to sip on, so be careful 'cause you might drink the entire pitcher on your own" kinda drinks. So in that case, invite some friends over to share it with you. The simple syrup had me a little nervous only because I had never made it before. But trust me, the name doesn't lie. It really is simple to make. So next time you are searching for a light and refreshing cocktail to keep you happy on a hot summer day, stop back in and test out this version of Giada's Italian Lemonade.


Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving, based on 6 servings w/vodka): 78.5 calories; 0g fat; 5.9g carbohydrate; 0g protein; 0g fiber

*Original recipe for Giada's Italian Lemonade can be found HERE.


  1. I guess the calories are from the vodka and it would be a lot lower if it was just a lemonade. Are you worried about using the artificial sweeteners at all?

  2. Hey Donnie! Yes, the calories are mostly from the vodka. In my opinion, artificial sweeteners are like anything else; fine in moderation. I try to avoid them as much as possible in my day to day cooking and eating, but every now and then, I think it is fine. The more I read, the more it seems like anything can harm you. If you are worried and want to use real sugar, just use one cup sugar and two cups water for the simple syrup. It is 1/2 the sugar the recipe calls for.

    Thanks for your comment! You bring up a common concern for many people.



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