Quick Fix: Low Calorie Cocktails

- by Selena Ricks

This January, I took an extended break from drinking since it's a slow month for events - not to mention the season to recharge one's mental and physical batteries. Temperance is a dirty word for most cocktail enthusiasts, but for me, the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol for a few weeks were obvious. After just a week off the sauce, I had a slimmer waist and clearer skin, and that was without making any other drastic changes to my diet or exercise routine.

Well, events have since picked up again - a rye whiskey tasting here, a new vodka launch there - and I can already feel my waistline expanding again. The problem with most cocktails is that they are loaded with sugar - Pina Coladas, as delicious as they are, have about 500 calories, or the equivalent of a cheeseburger. Will I stop drinking them completely? Highly unlikely, given the current tiki craze, but this got me wondering which cocktails are low in calories. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a number of drinks I already enjoy are on the skinny side, and they don't call for sugar substitutes or diet soda:

Gin and tonic: 103 calories
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 3 oz. tonic

Mix with ice in a rocks glass.

St. Germain Cocktail: Less than 200 calories
  • 2 oz. sparkling wine or Champagne
  • 1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 2 oz. soda water

Stir ingredients in an ice filled glass, pour into a champagne flute and garnish with a lemon twist.

Mojito: 160 calories
  • 1.5 oz. light rum
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • Fresh mint
  • 3 oz. club soda

In a cocktail shaker gently muddle mint with sugar; add lime juice, rum and ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, top with soda and garnish with additional mint.

Bloody Mary: 130 calories
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 3-6 oz tomato juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: horseradish, lemon wedge, celery stalk

Mix vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, sauces and seasonings; stir or shake well to combine. Add a small amount of horseradish if desired. Pour over ice into a serving glass, and garnish your drink with a lemon wedge or a stalk of celery.

Margarita: 165 calories
  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • .75 oz. agave nectar

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Gin Martini: 130 calories
  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce dry vermouth Ice Garnish: two olives, twist of lemon peel or a cocktail onion

In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, vermouth and plenty of ice. Shake well to chill the alcohol until you notice condensation on the shaker. Strain the drink into a martini glass, and add your choice of garnish.