Okay. It’s five o’clock somewhere, at least according to Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet. But even if it isn’t quite yet the mixing hour in your neighborhood, there’s no crime in giving some thought to that perfect potable that’s easy on the palate and the waistline. (Sorry, Carrie Bradshaw—no 250-plus calorie Cosmopolitans around my size 2 Dolce and Gabbana).
Because a gram of alcohol has 7 (“empty”) calories, vs. 4 calories for a gram of protein or carbs, it’s easy to let a coveted cocktail that slides right down to begin with turn into two—along with half a bowl of chips or a basket of pretzels and nuts a finger-length away.
Actually, the alcohol’s proof (a 1.5 ounce serving of 80 proof already has 96 calories) determines its calories, so add in the mixer (soda; syrup; simple syrup) and this really impacts what you end up imbibing, as does the size of the drink. Handy tricks include substituting sugary sodas and syrups with water, club soda, diet tonic water, low calorie juices or sugar-free syrups.
Reducing the glass or mug size—kind of like a dieter using a small plate to make a portion look big—is also a good idea. Chain restaurants are known to supersize their drinks, like margaritas, which can result in a whopping 500-calorie-plus cocktail-a-rama, so to speak. An oversized mudslide can ring in at an astonishing 1,000 calories or more. So yes, size matters.
Low Calorie Cocktails Recipes
Cliche and temptation withstanding, mixologists say a little due diligence goes a long way in limiting calories but making sure your selection isn’t short on taste. Tired of the usual wine spritzer or low-cal rum and diet coke? These palate-piquing low calorie cocktails give a nod to your size 2 bod and leave boring at the border:
- Vanilla Vodka and Diet Gingerale. This confection concoction reportedly tastes like a piece of cake, or the icing on the cake. At under 100 calories (using a single shot of alcohol), it’s a sugar-free bon-bon of a beverage. (Yes, you can cake your cake and drink it too.)
- In place of a standard margarita, try a Tequila and Soda. Also under 100 calories, a giant squeeze of lime makes it hard to tell the difference.
- Sour Apple Martini. That’s right: Add ¾ ounce each of vodka and sour apple liqueur to 2.5 ounces of sour mix. At 160 calories, it only tastes over the top.
- Vodka and Diet Lime-flavored Soda. If you love the taste of Rose’s lime juice but want some effervescence, adding Sprite Zero or diet Sierra Mist to an ounce of vodka will keep your lips puckered and your cheeks bubbled for under 100 calories.
- Mojito – minus the simple syrup. As simple syrup is made by boiling sugar and water, just skip it and make this ubiquitous crowd pleaser using white rum, crushed mint, a dash of brown sugar, lime juice and club soda. This one clocks in at around 100 calories.