Getting together with friends and having a few (sometimes more) drinks is a great way to relax and have some fun. It’s also a great way to take in thousands of extra calories.
It’s possible, however, to have a guilt free night of drinking by making some healthy drink choices and even making your own low calorie mixed drinks & cocktails.
First of all, merely choosing one drink over another can literally save you hundreds, if not thousands of calories depending on how much you drink. For example, a Long Island Iced Tea can have upwards of 700 calories, but if you were to replace that with a Cosmopolitan, which only has 150 calories, you could easily cut out 550 calories with one just one drink.
Replace your Pina Colada (625 calories) and your Margarita (500 calories) with a Mojito (160 calories) or a Bloody Mary (150 calories). If you typically have two or more drinks in a night it’s easy to see how many calories you could potentially cut out just by making a simple switch.
The best way to control the amount of calories in your mixed drinks is to prepare them yourself. This way you know exactly what’s going in the drink. I would recommend checking out Hungry Girl Happy Hour: 75 Recipes for Amazingly Fantastic Guilt-Free Cocktails and Party Foods for some delicious, low calorie recipes. You and you’re friends won’t even realize the drinks are low in calories and they will immediately be impressed by your newly found drink making skills!
Low Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
Servings: 4 servings
Calories per serving: 182
3 cups boiling water
1/3-1/2 cup sugar (or no calorie sweetener)
1 1/4 cups lime juice
1. Combine boiling water and sugar to taste. Stir until the sugar dissolves; chill. Add the lime juice to make limeade. Fill 4 tall glasses with ice and pour desired amount of rum in the glasses. Top with the limeade. Use no calorie sweetener for an even lighter drink.
Servings: 6 servings, 1 cup each
Calories per serving: 198
1 1/2 cups mixed colorful bite-size melon pieces, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, Ogen or Charentais
1/3 cup sugar
1 750-ml bottle white wine
1/4 cup brandy
2 tbsp orange-flavored liquor
3/4 cup sparkling water
1. Stir melon and sugar together in a large pitcher. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Just before serving, stir wine, brandy, orange liquor and sparkling water into the pitcher. Add ice cubes to 6 glasses. Fill the glasses with the sangria, spooning some of the fruit into each glass. Garnish each drink with a slice of lime.
Calories per serving: 95
2 limes, sliced
2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar (or no calorie sweetener)
1/4 to 1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1. In a blender combine lime pieces, water, and sugar (or no calorie sweetener). Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until limes are chopped; do not puree. Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher. Mix in 2 cups additional water. Cover and chill for an hour.
2. Stir rum into lime mixture. Moisten the rims of 8 glasses with the reserved lime piece; dip rims in sugar. Divide mint among glasses. Use a wooden spoon to press mint into the bottom of each glass; press firmly to release flavor. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour chilled lime mixture over ice and mint leaves. Add mint leaves.
Servings: 20 – .5 cup servings
Calories per serving: 68
12 thin lemon wedges
3 cups orange juice, chilled
3 cups apricot nectar, chilled
2 cups ice cubes
1 750-milliliter bottle champagne or sparkling white wine
1. Place a thin wedge of lemon in each compartment of an ice cube tray, with one end of the wedge extending above the tray. Fill tray with water and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.
2. Pour orange juice and apricot nectar over ice in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Add champagne or sparkling water, stirring gently. Place the premade ice cubes in each champagne glass or punch cup. Pour over ice.
Hot Pomegranate Toddy
Servings: 12 – 6oz servings
Calories per serving: 123
6 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 1-inch-long lemon peels
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 inches stick cinnamon
1 tspn whole cloves
Brandy or rum
1. In a saucepan combine pomegranate juice, water, sugar, and lemon juice.
2. Create the spice bag cutting a 6-inch square of 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Place lemon peel, cinnamon, and cloves in center of cheesecloth square. Tie the cloth closed. Add spice bag to saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Discard spice bag. Stir desired amount of brandy or rum into pomegranate juice mixture. Transfer to a heatproof serving pot
And don’t forget to pick up your very own copy of Hungry Girl Happy Hour: 75 Recipes for Amazingly Fantastic Guilt-Free Cocktails and Party Foods for even more recipes! Have fun and drink responsibly!