Summer is finally here (well, not officially but you get the point) and with the long days and warm weather come lots of opportunities for socializing…and drinking. In my circle, even a day at the beach isn’t complete without a bottle of vodka and a 12-pack of beer!
So, what’s a cocktail groupie to do when she wants to indulge in a tippling or three, without going overboard on the calories? You could workout while you drink, but that might be a little dangerous.
I know that when you are out having a good time, and the drinks start flowing the last thing I want to do is count calories (or points), but at the same time a MGD 64 just isn’t going to cut it!
I like to eat and I LOVE to drink. so I’ve found that applying the same principle to cocktails as food generally works- the fresher, and more natural the ingredients the better the flavors. Makes sense right? (Why do you think Puckers tastes like $h!t?). So, that being said once you have the basic alcohol base down you actually have a ton of great options for mixers that don’t over do it on the calories.
1. Pick Your Base
A light beer or glass of wine is always a good option for watching calories because of the built in portion control, but if you want a real drink there is a little more math involved. Most cocktails call for 1-2 servings of booze (a standard pour is about 1 1/2 ounces). Below are the calories for some common alcohols, based on the standard pour, you can be looking at 100 calories a shot (Is that going to stop me? Hell No!):
Vodka- 1oz 73 calories
Tequila- 1oz 65 calories
Rum- 1oz 65 calories
Gin- 1oz 70 calories
Whiskey- 1oz 65 calories
Bourbon- 1oz 69 calories
I believe in respecting a drink, and in my mind that respect is lost when you cover up the taste of the alcohol with crap! So, once you know what type of alcohol you want to drink (and assuming you aren’t just taking a shot or drinking it straight up/on the rocks) pick a mixer that compliments the alcohol.
2. Pick a Mixer
Some of my recommendations:
Fresh Grapefruit Juice- 76 calories for the juice of a medium sized fruit
Lime- 10 calories for the juice of a medium sized lime
Lemon- 13 calories for the juice of a medium sized lemon
Coconut Water- 8 oz. 46 calories
Watermelon (my current fav)- 1 cup about 46 calories
Green Tea (fresh brewed, unsweetened)- 8 oz 2 calories (yes, 2!)
Seltzer is a great option too- 8oz 1 cal
I don’t drink soda so I haven’t included it in my list, but diet soda is cool if that’s your thing.
Okay, now you have your base and options for mixers…time to get your (low-cal) drink on! How easy was that?
3. Make a Drink
Watermelon-Cucumber Aqua Fresca (<175 Cal)
1 1/2 oz Tequila, White Rum, Vodka OR Gin
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
Splash of honey/agave/simple syrup
Puree Cucumber, Mint and Watermelon in food processor or blender until liquefied and strain to remove seeds/pulp. Combine liquor, sweetener, and 3 oz juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a few sprigs of mint.
This recipe is great with just about any pureed fruit! Try strawberries, apple (really good with dark rum), cantaloupe, etc. Experiment with whatever you have on hand.
Paloma (<135 Cal)
1 1/2 oz Tequila Blanco
Juice from 1/2 Pink (or white) grapfruit
Pour tequila, and grapefruit juice over glass filled with ice. Stir. Top with seltzer and a splash of lime juice. You may need a splash of sweetener depending on the grapefruit used and your sweet tooth).
Gin and Tea (<125 Cal)
1 1/2 oz Gin
3 oz. Strong brewed Green Tea (unsweetened)
Slice of Lemon
Add gin, green tea, and honey to a cocktail shaker to combine. Shake well to dissolve honey, pour over iced filled glass and garnish with lemon.
Now you can go drink your skinny ass off. Cheers!