By Silvia Carli
Labor Day is Monday, September 7th. It’s time for a relaxing three-day weekend! Why do we celebrate Labor Day anyway? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday honors “the social and economic achievements of American workers.” So if you’re employed (or ever have been), Labor Day is a celebration of you! On a less official basis, Labor Day weekend heralds the end of summer and a return to school and fall sports. And there’s no better way to relax on your day off than with family and friends, food, and fruity alcoholic drinks.
If you make smart choices, you can enjoy yourself at a Labor Day cookout without ruining your diet. Outdoor grilling lends itself well to healthy entrees and sides. If you’re hosting (or bringing a prepared dish to a party), check out these delicious and good-for-you barbecue recipes. Flavorful grilled chicken and colorful fresh veggies are part of a balanced diet and easy to prepare for a crowd.
When you’re thirsty, skip anything heavy on sugary soda or cream, and reach for water or lower calorie beverages. If you plan to serve alcoholic drinks, use recipes that feature fresh fruit, no-calorie seltzer, and just a splash of liquor. Do you need some healthy mixed drink ideas for your Labor Day get-together? Keep reading—I’ve got you covered.
If you’re looking for a mixed drink that’s sweet and refreshing, try this awesome watermelon sangria recipe from Delish. It’s fruity, flavorful, and much easier on your waistline than a traditional blended tropical drink. (A pina colada made with coconut cream can pack more than five hundred calories in a glass—ouch!)
You can even serve your sangria to guests in the hollowed-out watermelon “bowl” if you’re careful when you’re cutting it up. Feel free to get creative with the cut-up fruit you add, as it’s hard to go wrong here.
You may want to check out the helpful how-to video included on the site before you get started. It’s not a difficult process, but it’s useful to see how the experts score and scoop the watermelon.
Slice off the top third of the watermelon; put it aside for later. Use a knife to score the fruit. Scoop the watermelon out with a large spoon or ice cream scoop; transfer it to your blender. Blend watermelon until smooth. Stir in the white wine, rum, seltzer, and lime juice. Add lime slices and fresh or frozen fruit. Refrigerate until chilled (about two hours).
Are you burned out on beers and White Claws? Offer your party guests something new and memorable: Le Citron Grand Fizz Cocktail by Grey Goose. This drink pairs lemony Grey Goose Le Citron vodka with sweet, floral elderflower liqueur and seltzer for bubbles. Seltzer is a key ingredient in many healthy cocktails, as it adds the fizzy appeal of soda without the sugar. Add lemon juice and wedges for extra tartness.
Fill a cabernet glass with lots of ice. Add vodka and elderflower liqueur. Squeeze fresh lemon; add seltzer. Stir and garnish with lemon wedges.
Does the end of the summer have you feeling a little extra? Do you want to go all-out with a delicious, fabulously luxe cocktail for your Labor Day cookout? Check out Forty Love, a drink recipe from the Aquatic Club at The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas. It blends rosé champagne with sweet passion fruit liqueur, OJ, and juicy fresh berries. This just may be one of the best mixed drinks you’ve ever tried.
Muddle berries in a cocktail glass. Add remaining ingredients and ice; stir and garnish with orchid. (Let your friends know that the orchids are edible!)
Armed with these delicious recipes, you’re sure to show your guests a great time. Enjoy your end-of-summer cookout and delicious Labor Day drinks, and above all, stay safe and healthy. After all, no one wants to head back to work with a terrible hangover after a wonderful long weekend. Here are a few tips for taking good care of yourself and your attendees:
Check out these foods to eat before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol. See if you can work some of them—like grilled salmon or cut-up grapefruit—into your party menu. (Or just eat a banana with Greek yogurt for a snack before the event begins.)
Stay hydrated by alternating your cocktails with water, decaffeinated iced tea, or plain seltzer water. This will also help prevent you from drinking too much alcohol. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, but do it in moderation. Binge-drinking can lead to impaired judgment, poor decision-making, injuries, and accidents, as well as long-term health problems.
Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let any of your friends get behind the wheel while intoxicated—that much is obvious. You should also avoid activities like operating a boat or setting off fireworks if you’ve been consuming alcohol. Furthermore, it’s safest to stay sober if you’re using the grill or fire pit. You want to avoid burns, of course, but you also want to make sure you cook everything properly to avoid foodborne illness. If you’re planning to imbibe, you may want to recruit a loved one to supervise the food preparation. And if you’re a guest at someone else’s party, ask a friend to drive you home. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Be smart, and you’ll have a great Labor Day party for family and friends to cap off a memorable summer. Happy fall! Have a great long weekend, and enjoy your healthy, fruity drinks!