How to Make Healthy Cocktails

By Leah Kaminsky

You’re having a little get together, and want to make the crowd a fun, fruity cocktail. But you’ve been eating so well lately, and the last thing you want is a sugar or calorie overload. What to do? The first step is knowing where those cocktail calories are coming from.

Do you know where the calories in your cocktail are coming from?

As you probably know, different kinds of alcohol vary widely in their sugar and calorie counts. For example, gin, rum, 80-proof vodka, whisky and tequila have about 64 calories per ounce, while champagne has 84. Up the proof, and you also up the calories, meaning 86-proof vodka will have about 70 calories per ounce, and so forth up to 100-proof at 82 calories.

But where the calories and sugar can really add up is in the mixers, syrups and sodas. That pushes a margarita up to 168 calories, and a Manhattan to 164.

Don’t despair just yet: there’s a whole lot you can do about it, and it doesn’t mean pouring vodka into a Diet Coke and calling it a night. Try these ideas:

  1. Mix your alcohol with freshly squeezed or no-sugar added juice to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other unneeded sugars and additives.
  2. Choose seltzer water, not regular or diet soda, when you can.
  3. Rely on the sugar in fresh fruit for maximum flavor.
  4. Set a limit on your drink size (8 oz. max) and number of shots per drink (just one).

From a good Bloody Mary to a Vodka Lemonade, there are all sorts of cocktails that fit this description. One simple solution I’ve found is simply blending frozen fruit, yogurt and vodka into a smoothie for a vitamin-packed treat. The best part of all: the more nutrients you consume, the better you’ll be able to process the alcohol, the less you’ll regret tonight tomorrow morning.

For a wealth of fantastic recipes, I highly recommend this guide over at Greatist.com. Happy blending, mixologists!

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