How to Cut the Calories in Cocktails

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A cocktail need not spell the death knell of a healthy eating plan. Some cocktails are worse than others. Some cocktails will contain several types of liquors and additives. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you’ll not only do you have to watch out for calorie content, but also the carb content. Some cocktails will score much higher on that point.

  • Your best bet is to limit full-blown cocktails. A great alternative to cocktails is any type of liquor on the rocks. Cutting out the sweet and fattening syrups dramatically lowers calories and carbohydrate content. For example, Corazon Blanco on the rocks or vodka with a splash of juice, on the rocks or with soda water are lower calorie options.
  • Mix cocktails with water, club soda, low calorie juices, sugar-free syrups or artificial sweeteners for easy and big savings in calories.
  • Ask the bartender or waitress to help you make a selection.
  • Go for cocktails made from fresh-squeezed juices and natural products such as honey. Most cocktails contain refined sugar, which obviously is high in calories. Fewer additives also mean that the drinks taste stronger, but still scrumptious. Fruit and vegetable juices are also better choices as not only lower in calories than some other mixers, but also contain disease-preventing antioxidants. Still, fruit juices are lower calorie – not no-calorie. Therefore, remain frugal in adding fruit juice to your cocktail.
  • Swap high calorie cocktails for their lower calorie counterparts.
  • Stick to one type of alcohol, as it is taxing on the body to process and eliminate several alcohols at once.
  • Avoid calorie rich ingredients or toppings such as chocolate syrup, cream and sugar on the rim.
  • Add something with a bit of fizz, as it is a great way to add texture without adding calories.
  • Stay far, far away from super-sized cocktails which contain double shots and extra mixers, which easily add up to more than a 1,000 calories.

Go here for more low-calorie cocktails and a full listing of the calories in cocktails.

LOWERING CALORIES IN POPULAR COCKTAILS

1. LONG ISLAND ICE TEA

Calories: 780
Carbohydrates: 44 g

Ingredients: 1 oz. vodka, rum, gin, tequila and triple sec; 2 oz. sweet and sour mix, splash of Coke

Drinks containing more than one liquor combined with a cordial are high in calories. Furthermore, Coke is full of sugar, which adds even more calories. Drinking Long Island Ice Tea is tantamount to drinking a full meal. In other words, five different alcohols in one glass with sugary cola is a no-no.

Low calorie option: rum mixed with Diet Coke and garnished with a slice of lime.
Calories saved: at least 600 calories.


2. MARGARITA

Calories: 740
Carbohydrates: 56 g

Ingredients: 4 oz. limeade, 4 oz. tequila, 1/3 oz. triple sec.

Stay particularly away from frozen margaritas. Although they tend to popular, they are even more calorie rich than you average margarita.

Low calorie option: Corazon Blanco tequila on the rocks with a splash of lime.


3. PINA COLADA

Calories: 644
Carbohydrates: 90 g

Ingredients: 3 oz. light rum, 3 tbsp. coconut milk/cream, 3 tbsp. crushed pineapple/ juice (if premix, which is essentially mostly sugar, is used, as is done often, the cocktail becomes even more calorie-laden and unhealthy)

Low calorie option: Vanilla-flavored vodka and Diet Coke.
Calories saved: at least 500 calories.


4. WHITE RUSSIAN

Calories: 425
Carbohydrates: 26 g

Ingredients: 2 oz. vodka, 1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur, 1 1/2 oz. heavy cream

Cream = Calories. May be pure bliss in a glass and hits the right spot post dinner, the combination of sugar and fat makes is diet suicide.

Low calorie option: there is none. Except of course you swap it for dessert, as they are essentially the same. Pick whichever is most gratifying.


5. MAI TAI

Calories: 350
Carbohydrates: 30 g

Ingredients: 1 oz. dark rum, 1/2 oz. light rum, 1/2 oz. crème de almond, 1/2 oz. triple sec, sweet and sour mix, pineapple juice.

Delicious may be an understatement, but indulge in several of these and you won’t be drinking one on the beach anytime soon. Kiss your hopes for a beach body goodbye.

Low calorie option: Flavored vodka and Diet Coke, garnish with a maraschino cherry.


6. CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL (French 75)

Calories: 250
Carbohydrates: 13 g

Ingredients: 6 oz. champagne, 1 1/2 oz. cognac, 1 oz. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sugar

Named after a WW1 artillery gun and said to have such a kick that it was akin to being hit by it. Plus, Hemingway used to knock these back at the Paris Ritz. So, incredibly popular, great history and serious kick. All in all a pretty cool drink. Still, though it is it hits with remarkable precision, champagne is purely sugar and each ingredient just increases the total tally.

Low calorie option: Bellini using real peaches and no extra sugar.


7. JACK DANIELS AND COKE

Calories: 251 calories
Carbohydrates: 32.5 g

Ingredients: 2 oz Jack Daniel’s, 10 oz Coca-Cola.

A classic, but any alcohol with regular coke is going to pack in the calories and the pounds. That goes for any alcohol with with Coka and other types of non-det sodas.

Low calorie option: Liquor on the rocks or with diet soda.
Calories saved: at least 100 calories.


8. FOG CUTTER COCKTAIL

Calories: 225
Carbohydrates: 13 g

Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz. light rum, 1/2 oz. brandy, 1/2 oz. gin, 1 tsp. sherry, 1 oz. orange juice, 1 1/2 tsp. orgeat syrup, 3 tbsp. lemon juice.

The combination of several liquors in this cocktail is unforgiving on your body. Moreover, as it is a very strong drink it requires a lot of juices and syrup to make it sweet.

Low calorie option: liquor on the rocks with a splash of orange juice.

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