Healthier Cocktail Recipes from Emerson Resort & Spa

Wellness seekers who like to raise a glass will toast Emerson Resort & Spa (Mount Tremper, NY). There, Greg Gagne, general manager of Woodnotes Grill, has created an assortment of low-calorie “skinny” drinks that appeal to those who are looking for healthier imbibing options. “A great cocktail doesn’t mean piling on empty calories,” he says. “When we approach healthy cocktails, we look at simplicity of ingredients and allow the actual produce to shine.” Here, see how to tweak three previously high-calorie cocktails by incorporating your own tinctures. “We steep different ingredients, such as orange peel, pine boughs, cardamom, vanilla beans, cinnamon, lavender, or anything else we can come up with, in vodka or grain alcohol,” says Gagne. “We then use just drops to produce giant flavors.”—Julie keller Callaghan

The Melon Patch

Usual Recipe:


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  • 3/4 ounce of Vino Cappelletti (80 calories)
  • 3/4 ounce of aperol (103 calories)
  • 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed watermelon juice (10 calories)
  • 2 ounces of prosecco (20 calories)

Skinny Version:

Build in a Collins glass, and top with prosecco.

Substitute your own infused orange vodka (65 calories) for the
Vino Cappelletti and aperol for a cocktail
that clocks in at less than 100 calories.


White  Negroni

Usual Recipe:

  • 3/4 ounce of Salers Aperitif (100 calories)
  • 1½ ounces of Tanqueray No. TEN (100 calories) 
  • 1 cup of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal (50 calories)

Skinny Version:

  1. Skip the Salers, and add tonic water instead (10 calories) for a 160-calorie cocktail.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, and stir.
  3. Garnish with a lemon peel.


Pinky and the Brain

Usual Recipe:

  • 1½ ounces of Greenall’s Gin (100 calories)
  • 1 ounce of Gran Classico aperitif (65 calories)
  • ½ ounce of Yellow Chartreuse (122 calories)

Skinny Version:

  1. Drop the Chartreuse, and add Lillet Blanc (20 calories) for a 185 calorie cocktail.
  2. Muddle two strawberries (16 calories) with a lime (5 calories).
  3. Add all ingredients with ice, and shake.
  4. Pour into highball, and top with club soda.