(Champagne, the low-calorie holiday drink. Image courtesy Glamour Magazine.)
Normally, if you’re consuming with moderation, alcoholic drinks shouldn’t really affect whether or not you gain weight. But with all the parties this time of year, alcohol can sneak up on you simply because you’re drinking more often. Also, holiday cocktails are terribly fattening. Eggnog, which I will soon be trying, has 340 calories. Hot Buttered Rum has 292 calories. A Chocolate Martini can have around 440 calories. Drink two of those and you’ve ingested almost 900 calories… yikes!
Anyway, I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the low-calorie cocktails. Generally speaking, anything with cream or Kahlua or other thick mixers is going to be the most fattening. That’s your Piña Coladas, your White Russians, your chocolate drinks, and so on. I treat these drinks like desserts and only have them once in awhile.
Secondly, anything with juices, sugar, sodas, or liqueurs have a lot of calories. These are any of the tropical drinks–Mojitos, Tequila Sunrises, Mai Tais, and so on–but also most club drinks, like Long Island Ice Tea. If it is refreshing and tastes like a tropical sunset, it is loaded with sugar and is fattening.
So that is what I consume with caution. Here are some low-calorie alcoholic drinks that I do drink. (The calculations are according to My Fitness Pal, which looks pretty reliable.):
Champagne--a 4 oz serving has 96 calories.
Wine–White or red, a typical 5 oz glass has between 116-125 calories.
Diet Cubre Libre–This is diet soda, 2 oz. rum, and a squeeze of lime. It has around 120 calories.
Gin and Tonic–Gin, tonic, and ice equals 105 calories.
Hot Toddy–According to Drink of the Week, it is 1 oz. brandy, honey, lemon, boiling water, and a tea bag, equaling about 130 calories.
Irish Coffee–1 oz. whiskey, coffee, a little bit of sugar, and whip cream to top is about 185. Skip the whip cream, you’re talking 85 calories.
Straight Liquor–I sometimes just have a shot of good bourbon, about 90 calories.
You’ll notice that most of these drinks are pretty strong. That’s because sugar is what disguises the taste of alcohol, and sugar is high in calories. However, if these are too strong for you, Glamour Magazine has a rundown of low-calorie cocktails as well as a list of lower-calorie substitutions.
In any case, abstaining is always the best way to lose weight.
What are your low-calorie cocktails?