With Memorial Day behind us, it’s safe to say that summer is about to be in full swing. That means long, lazy, boozy weekend brunches, rooftop happy hours and delicious dinners under the stars. But, as we all know, summer is one big contradiction. Though you’re wearing less clothing than at any other point of the year, it’s nearly impossible to keep a strict handle on your calorie intake. There are just too many impromptu occasions to bust out the rosé and enjoy good weather, good people, and good drinks. So if you’re like us and unwilling to completely remove cocktails from your summertime rotation, allow MadameNoire to point you toward some healthier, lower-calorie options.
Gin and Tonic
Not the most exotic of boozy concoctions you can order at your next summer soiree, but trust us when it comes to a lower-calorie option, the gin and tonic is a solid way to go. With just over 100 calories per drink, this drink is a smart choice for those who are looking for the sophistication of an old-school cocktail, but not an abundance of sugar and syrup.
If you’re in the mood for something with a little extra flavor but not looking to pile on the calories, the mojito is a fantastic way to go. This traditional Cuban cocktail is a summertime favorite with just five simple ingredients: rum, lime juice, mint, sugar (just a couple of teaspoons!) and soda water. The muddling used to bring out the flavors of these ingredients allows the mojito have its cool, refreshing taste and be a perfect addition to your next backyard party. And with around 150 calories you can sip on this cocktail (relatively) guilt-free.
OK, so not exactly a cocktail, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t throw champagne into the low-calorie option mix. While not all of us have the ability to pop those high-priced bottles, for those of us who do or those of us who know someone who can, you can drink that Dom or enjoy that Cristal knowing that your calorie-intake is being kept to a minimum. With about 90 calories per glass and given that champagne is more of a sipping drink than one you’ll be chugging all night, this fizzy drink is exactly what your waist-line is calling for.
If the spice and strength of tequila is what is calling your name this summer, then might we suggest skipping that frozen margarita and trying out a paloma instead. We know, we know margaritas are to summer, what eggnog is to Christmas, but there is no denying that these sugary drinks can really pack on those calories. The paloma still packs that punch but sans the hits to your weight. This careful blend of tequila, grapefruit juice, soda and lime is delicious but will only ding you about 160 calories per drink.
New Orleans staple the sazerac makes our list for clocking in at under 150 calories. Using whiskey, absinth (just a wash of it, we promise), sugar and water, the sazerac is a well-balanced cocktail that is perfect for those who appreciate the taste of a good whiskey, but want a little of the bite taken out of it.
If gin is your jam and the gin and tonic just isn’t doing the trick for you, then might we suggest giving the gimlet a try. Made with either pre-made lime juice or a healthier mix of simple syrup and fresh lime juice, the gimlet is a classic cocktail with a light taste and low calories, perfect for those looking to cool down this summer without sacrificing that beach bod.
We’ve given you palomas and gimlets and sazeracs to choose from if you’re down for a flavorful cocktail that won’t pack on the calories. But for those of us who might not be as adventurous or just those who want to keep things simple, then look no further than a vodka soda. Yes, it’s legitimately the least exciting and most basic of cocktail orders, but there is no denying that it is a smart choice for those who are trying to be waist-line conscious at the bar. This drink has less 100 calories (score!) and is refreshing enough to be a perfect way to cool down during a post-work happy hour with coworkers (double score!).
This timeless drink is for the bourbon lovers out there. The Old Fashioned is comprised of only three ingredients — your brown spirit of choice, a few dashes of Angostura bitters and a bit of sugar — making it a great choice for those looking to dodge the added calories of fruitier and sweeter drinks. While this cocktail is definitely for those who really like to taste their spirits, it’s a great option if you’re looking for some sophisticated sipping.
Now we’ll be honest here, martinis can go either way. We have all seen those incredible dessert martinis with a Hostess cupcake precariously balanced on the edge. Or that delectable chocolate martini with more calories than a full meal should probably have. But if you keep things simple and streamlined, then the classic martini (with a little fruity flavor) can be a great choice when looking to be healthy at happy hour.
Another drink that can go either way when it comes to calories is brunch-time favorite the bloody mary. While we’ve all seen iterations of this drink with bacon, shrimp and all manners of greasy, high calorie accoutrements, a basic bloody is actually not a full out assault on your calorie intake and has some decent health benefits too.