If you are looking to trim your waistline, or at least maintain its current circumference, removing cocktails from your diet can seem like an easy place to cut back. It becomes hard when you are out with your friends, someone orders a round of drinks for the table, and you are relegated to squeaking out a quiet, “Just water for me, please.” Not that water is bad. We all need hydration, but there are plenty of low calorie cocktails to order at a bar, without blowing your diet. The best low calorie alcoholic drinks keep plenty of the good stuff (booze) while reducing or eliminating the bad stuff (sugary mixers). While ultra-light beers are easy to find, there are far more flavorful options when you opt for low calorie mixed drinks. We’ve created a list of the 10 best low calorie cocktails you can order anywhere.
Any type of wine can be turned into a spritzer to create a healthy alcoholic drink available at any bar or restaurant. At approximately 25 calories per ounce, an average glass of wine is about 150 calories. Not all that bad to begin with. A wine spritzer, however, typically contains only three ounces of wine, coming in at only 75 calories. A spritzer is topped off with calorie free club soda, giving you bubbles and more to drink. White wines tend to be lower in calories, but most of it depends on alcohol content. The best bet is to just go with whatever wine you like best.
Total calories: 75
Malibu Rum & Diet Cola
Rum is definitely not a low calorie alcohol. However, Malibu brand coconut rum has 51 calories per ounce, which is less than most. Twelve ounces of cola come with a hearty 120 calories, and that’s where a rum and Coke gets us into trouble. Diet cola, however, has no calories. Add in a standard shot of Malibu rum, about 1.5 ounces, and you’ve got one of the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks you can find.
Flavored Vodka on the Rocks with a Twist
Typically, 80 proof vodka has 64 calories per ounce, or 96 calories per shot. Flavored vodkas are everywhere, and splashed over the rocks in old-fashioned whisky style glasses are great for sipping. Most flavored vodkas use natural and artificial flavors which add no calories. Have them add any available fruit garnish for even more flavor. If you just can’t handle straight vodka, ask the bartender to top it up with a little club soda.
Total: 96 calories
Low calorie vodka drinks are tricky, since many of them contain juices that are loaded with sugar. A Seabreeze cocktail is made with vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice, and standard fare in almost any bar or restaurant. When you order, it’s important to tell the bartender that you want mostly grapefruit juice with just a little cranberry. One ounce of grapefruit juice is only 11 calories, while one ounce of cranberry juice is almost 20. Including a shot of 80 proof vodka, you’ve got a tasty low calorie cocktail that looks just like the regular version.
Total: 113 calories
Tequila & Soda with Lime
Frozen margaritas are popular and incredibly tasty, but run in the 250 calorie range. Some restaurant margaritas are even worse, with enough sugar to exceed 350 calories. As with many things, taking it back to the basics is the way to go. The classic margarita is made with just tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, which leaves out the sugary rim and flavored mixers, getting the calorie count down to 150 calories. To take it even further, order tequila and soda with orange and lime garnish. Squeeze the orange and lime garnish into the drink, and muddle them in with your straw.
Total: 95 calories
Anything Mixed with Tea
Most popular spirits come in under 100 calories for a full jigger, and they all taste great mixed with iced tea. A staple found in almost any restaurant, iced tea has zero calories, and a relatively neutral flavor. The waiter might give you a weird look, but pick your favorite spirit, and ask for it mixed into a glass of iced tea. Make sure to avoid sweet tea, though, since prepared sweet tea can have nearly 5 tablespoons of sugar per serving.
Total: under 100 calories
A prime candidate for the manliest low calorie mixed drink, a Rob Roy is made with scotch, vermouth, and bitters. Simple, classic, and can be ordered with confidence and authority.
Total: 145 calories
Cranberry Gin Martini
In case you haven’t noticed, many of these cocktails contain only one shot of alcohol. If you want a mixed drink that packs a punch, try our Cranberry Gin martini. It’s not a restaurant menu standard, but any well stocked bar will have the ingredients to make it. Your bartender will probably have fun trying something new. Other than taste, the best part is your friends will just think you are a sophisticated drinker with discerning taste, and never know you’re on a diet.
Total: 205 calories
If you prefer to keep things simple, try a glass of rosé. Although it’s less common than other sparkling wines, popularity is increasing, keeping you on the cutting edge of drinking trends. If your friends give you any crap at the brunch table, just smile and nod as they throw back mimosas at nearly 220 calories per glass.
Total: 85 calories
If other low calorie cocktails are making you lose your buzz, try sake. This dry rice wine has higher levels of alcohol per ounce than grape-based wines. Even though this adds calories, sake is lower in other sugars. Traditionally served at room temperature, sake is easier to sip slowly, meaning a four ounce glass can be enjoyed for much longer than a chilled cocktail.
Total: 150 calories